Benchmark Business Group

Do You Ask For Referrals?

April 18, 2023

Most financial professionals know that it’s important to ask for referrals, and yet many don’t. Why? Because they dread it. They don’t want to be known as a pushy or aggressive salesperson, so they simply don’t ask.

It's this type of flawed thinking that stands in the way of getting referrals. It’s true most clients don’t want to feel pressured into giving contact information for their family and friends. However, most people do want to help their loved ones. And when they have a “go-to” spot or valued professional relationship they tend to be willing to share their recommendation. This is why sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and even Google reviews are so popular.

We’re challenging you and your team to examine your mindset around referrals, because how you think about referrals will impact how – and if – you ask for them. Open a discussion with your team about times they’ve given referrals, what businesses they’ve recommended to others, and how their own discomfort may influence if they ask clients for referrals. In order to get better results, we often need to change the way we think about a topic, like referrals, before we change the actions.

Once you’ve started to talk to your team about referrals start to discuss how your business can make asking for referrals more comfortable for your team, which will make it more comfortable for your clients. Our suggestions include:

Put referrals on the meeting agenda. Don’t try to be sneaky when asking for referrals. Instead, set the expectation with clients that you will ask for them. This way it’s up front and there are no surprises.

Be careful with the language you use. It’s not about just asking for referrals; it’s giving the clients the “why” of referrals. For instance, when you introduce referrals on your agenda you might use language such as, “You’ll notice at the bottom of the agenda I have referrals. I want to take a moment and let you know why. There’s never any pressure to give us names or numbers, we just want to help as many people as we can make the best decisions around protecting and growing their assts. So, I’d just like to ask if there’s someone you know that could use our help?” 

Have active and passive methods for getting referrals. There are some people who won’t ever give you a name or number for a referral, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t refer you. In addition to asking for referrals, make it easy to be “referable” by building it into your client service process. This may include giving clients three business cards as they leave, sending clients an email with links to leave reviews, asking them to post a message on their social media sites, or even asking for a testimonial. Be creative as there are many ways clients can help spread your name.

Ultimately, the business has to ask for referrals to get referrals, so the more natural it is for all involved the more success you will have.

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