ELITE ADVISOR BY
JOHN J. BOWEN JR.
Making Introductions Happen
Use this 9-step process to request (and receive)
referrals from your existing clients.
Pop quiz: What’s the single best source of new business in your practice? If you answered “my existing clients,” you’re in good company. In fact, 95% of RIAs say that introductions from their current clients are very important in sourcing new
clients, according to the latest research by my company, CEG Worldwide. No other source of new business ranked as high.
Even better, the majority of RIAs surveyed told us that such introductions resulted in their five best new clients during the previous
And yet there’s a problem: Too many financial advisors do not regularly reach out to their clients to ask for these crucial introductions.
In fact, nearly 40% of all financial advisors surveyed ask regularly.
RIAs did manage to outperform their
peers — 67.5% ask regularly, versus just
48.4% of independent broker-dealer
representatives, for example. But the
data show that far too many of you are
ignoring a huge growth driver.
It’s time to stop waiting for clients
to take the first step. A highly satisfied
client may, once in a while, provide
you with an introduction without being prompted. But you can’t count on
that for any kind of steady stream of introductions. Instead, you need
to generate success deliberately. Here’s a process for systematically getting more high-quality introductions from your current client base.
the actual value of this, not just in financial
terms (such as tax savings, enhanced returns
or risk reduction), but also in emotional terms:
creating real peace of mind for your clients.
The difference between what you charge and
the actual value you deliver is essentially your gift
to clients. When you ask your clients for introductions the right way, you are offering to extend this
gift to the people they care about. You are offering
a service that has not just a very high perceived
value, but a very high actual value. The upshot:
You should feel absolutely comfortable and confident in seeking out introductions.
A highly satisfied
LEARNING TO ASK
client may, once in
a while, provide you
with an introduction
The obvious question is: If introductions to new prospects from existing clients are so important to financial advisors’ businesses, why
don’t advisors ask for them all the time? The biggest reason we hear is
because they think they’re asking their clients to do something that is
of benefit only to the advisor, not to the clients themselves.
But this isn’t actually the case. Think about what you charge your
clients, then think about what you deliver: vital help in addressing a
wide range of financial concerns — both investments and advanced
planning issues — that affect them and their families. Now consider
To further build confidence in asking
for introductions, I recommend the following step-by-step process:
1. Offer a second-opinion service.
Start by confirming that your relationship with the client remains strong. Next,
bring up the problems that many investors face: With all the uncertainty in the
markets, they are unhappy with their financial
advisors and are looking for better advice. Many
more investors, in fact, are unsure whether they
should stick with their current advisors.
Explain that you would like to offer a second-opinion service to people they care about
who are dealing with those challenges, so that
they can have the same type of advisor-client
experience that you and your clients enjoy. Tell
the client that you would review those people’s
portfolios (at no charge), using the same type
of process you use with your most valued clients, so you can determine where they are now,
where they want to go, and whether there are
December 2012 Financial Planning 29