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Two simple powerful ways to boost your referrals

As published in No More Practice’s Reality Check on 17 July 2014.

Do you hate asking for referrals? Even though you know need them, you want them, and you do your best work with them. However, the process of getting them has your skin crawling.

Here are two proven ways to turn your advocates into spruiking referrers.

1. The real motivator for referring is not about you

Traditionally, most referrals are positioned to help you grow your business. While some people will genuinely want to assist, it’s not the primary motivator. A more powerful driver is the satisfaction the referrer gets from helping their ‘peeps’ (their friends, family, colleagues etc.).

Advisor Impact conducted a survey of more than 1200 financial planning clients, “The Rules of Engagement” 2014 and they found that 58% of clients said their motivation for referring was to help a friend, while 38% said it was to help build the advisers business.

To encourage your supporters to ‘spread your disease’ (so to speak), make sure to position the benefits from their perspective, not yours.

2. Ask not for the referral, ask for feedback

Another underutilised, yet incredible way to improve your referral rate is to ask for feedback. Ask existing clients, prospective clients, people of influence and business partners. It is about getting inside the minds of these different groups and finding out exactly what they think and what makes them tick. There are many ways to get this feedback, a survey (formal or informal) is one of them.

This is why:

1. People love being asked their opinion. And they love it even more when you do something with what they said. It shows your commitment to the relationship and that you care (as long as you follow-up on the results).

2. It provides an invaluable opportunity to remind clients (or others) about what you do and how you help. When you ask for someone’s opinion about your range of services, it’s also a direct reminder of what those services are.

3. One of the reasons that prevents people who would refer from actually referring is they don’t know what to say or how to say it. You can word your survey to provide prompts, suggestions or specific words to ‘plant the seed’ and make it easier for potential referrers to do so.

4. You get to understand your relationships from a different perspective. This is pole position for long-term sustainable growth.

5. You can test, validate or be challenged on new initiatives or changes to what you do or how you do it.

6. Finally, it is an effective catalyst to position any upcoming change as a result of the feedback. This is a far more compelling reason for change than a shift in government legislation.

The ‘Rules of Engagement’ survey found that 72% of clients who provided a referral in the past 12 months said they were asked for their feedback.

Two sure fire ways to strengthen your relationships and catch and keep more dream clients is to ask for feedback and position the benefits of referring from the referrers perspective.


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