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3 Steps to Create Walking Billboards (Referrals) for your Business

Posted by Mark Triplett, CEO of Triplett-Westendorf Financial Group on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 @ 05:18 PM

Almost any business would benefit from their clients singing their praises in a public place. Imagine if you could create walking billboards for your company, spreading your message when you are not around to do it yourself. They could infiltrate social groups that you may have been cut out from entering. For example, they can walk through their employer’s door, and expose all of their coworkers to your message. Their social club is easily penetrated with songs of your company’s praises. There are many other examples of gatherings where you have not been granted access, and they’ll be welcomed with open arms.


Why is it that some financial professionals are successful at creating ravings that consistently lead new prospects to their doorstep, while others struggle? The struggling advisors don’t ask? Maybe. However, asking alone doesn’t create raving-fan billboards. It will be up to you to create an experience worth talking about. You will also need to start your clients on the right path by educating them on why, how, and when to introduce your firm.

Step One: We Accept Introductions

Do your clients know that you accept introductions to new prospects? If you're not receiving a lot of introductions, then most of your clients were probably introduced to you through another method of prospecting and marketing. Perhaps you do workshops, and they met you at one. Maybe you had a television or radio appearance, and they heard you on air. Whether you leverage direct mail, or preset appointments, these prospects-turned-clients were not referred to you and think you get introduced to new people in the same way that they met you. It was not a personal introduction from one of your clients.

They may not know that you accept introductions. I know this sounds crazy. You may be thinking, “How can they not know this? Everybody should assume that I gladly accept new introductions.” Have you made it clear to your prospects and clients that you do? If not, don’t be upset with them. When they don’t refer you to others, it’s your fault.

Step Two: Be specific, Be Clear

Many of the financial professionals that we interview who ask for referrals try some variation of the "who do you know" approach. This strategy is often met with "I'll have to think about it," or "may I get back to you on that?" The reason: you were not clear and narrow in your description of who is a good fit to be introduced to your firm. Asking your client to provide the names of a specific person, or persons, who might be a good fit for your services without giving guidance to narrow their search is unfair and often unproductive.

It's like me asking you, “What’s your favorite player?" What does that mean? Do I mean athlete, or a specific player on a professional sports team? Do I mean an audio device, or a someone who plays in a rock band? It's not specific, and doesn’t guide you to zero in on an appropriate answer. You freeze, and provide no feedback or make an excuse why you need to “think about it.”

Now that your clients know you except referrals, you must narrow the search field. Clarity is the key. Being descriptive and explaining who is a good fit for your organization, and who is not a good fit for your organization is paramount. Occupation, marital status, geographical, and psychographic information may be shared with your client to help them understand specifically who would be a good person to introduce you to. Often times the characteristics are going to mirror that of your client. It's often people like your client who you would like to meet, right? Don't take that for granted. Express to your client in specific detail what that person might look like, where they might work, and where they might live.

Step Three: The Proper Introduction

It seems kind of silly to think that your clients are willing to hand over a portion of their life savings to you, but then are reluctant to introduce you to somebody else who they respect and whose relationship they value. Can you imagine? They value the relationship with their coworkers, their relatives, and their close friends more than they do their retirement resources. It may be hard to believe, but it's true.

Rather than asking for referrals for your business, is there a better way? The strings that come attached with asking for referrals are often too much for your client to bear. If you’re asking for personal contact information such as emails, phone numbers, and addresses, this may be met with resistance.

I’ll be frank with you. I personally find it awkward to have a referral conversation with my clients or prospects. I feel like a beggar with his hand out. I’m a proud hard-working farm kid from Iowa. Begging doesn’t feel good. It’s awkward for me. If it's awkward for me, it's probably feeling awkward for my clients and prospects too.

Educate Your Clients

Instead of begging for referrals, try this method instead: Educate your clients on the appropriate way to introduce you to somebody. The appropriate way to introduce you to somebody else is through your introduction kit.

Your introduction kit is a professionally designed marketing kit that communicates effectively your company’s purpose, cause, and belief. It's nonthreatening, it's not offensive, and your clients will be less reluctant to introduce you to people close to them. If your client knows that it will be completely up to the referred person to contact you, there’s less threat of violating personal space. Your clients will have comfort knowing that their friends, coworkers, neighbors, and relatives will not receive phone call after phone call, or an inbox full of unwanted solicitation messages from your appointment setters.

Do You Deserve Them?

Even if you begin to practice the art of educating your clients that you do except referrals, clearly define who is a good fit for your organization, and the appropriate way to introduce you to others, you may not get the introductions you desire. So if you follow all of the instructions I just shared with you, why wouldn't you get the best introductions? The answer is simple: You have to earn them first. You must be remarkable. You must be referable. Your process must be remarkable. Your process must be referable. The experience that you and your team create for your clients must be remarkable, and it must be referable.

You must earn your walking billboards. They manifest when your organization treats them like part of the team, communicates transparently, and interacts as if they are human beings rather than revenue numbers. Raving fans feel like they are a part of the company. They feel like they are on the team. They feel like they carry the torch for the purpose, cause, and belief that drew them to your organization. They experienced something created by the leader, you! Are you qualified to lead?

You can make it easy for clients to introduce your business with others online when they share your social media posts. Learn how to effectively use social media to grow your financial services business with our free ebook. Request your copy by filling out the form below!




Tags: prospecting, practice management, marketing for independent agents


This content is for informational and educational purposes only and is not designed, or intended, to be applicable to any person's individual circumstances. It should not be considered as investment advice, nor does it constitute a recommendation that anyone engage in (or refrain from) a particular course of action.