Unsolicited Referrals – How to Get LOTS More – Part 1

hint: it is not luck or just delivering good service. 

The number one new business driver for financial professionals is referrals. And the number one way to generate referrals is not through asking, but as a result of UNSOLICITED referrals. 

In a research series conducted by Red Zone Marketing of over 2,000 financial advisors we found that a majority acquire new business through unsolicited referrals. And for top advisors (over 1 million in gross), it is the number one strategy for boosting their exponential growth in new business year over year.  

So we dug deep and continued our research into what successful advisors were doing differently, and uncovered the secrets to unsolicited referral success. 

PART 1: Create an Experience

Motivate your clients to talk about you because of the unique experience you provide.

We talk a lot in the financial sphere about differentiators—what makes you unique? Why should a client choose you over another advisor? Taking this one step further, why would a current client recommend you to their friends and family?

The answer is your CX (client experience.)

But are advisors even thinking of their CX in this way? As being a referral- powering revenue-generator? The commitment to the client experience includes:

• Communications: timely, interesting and valuable

• Ease of doing business: virtual access and/or ease of transactions

• An emotionally engaged client base: through proactive attention, strategies and solutions, personal connections including video calls, in- person meetings, phone calls or emails, and availability when they need you the most

Bottom Line: Your biggest differentiator is your client experience (CX).

In order to maximize referrals, you’ve got to understand what comprises a great client experience and be able to reproduce that consistently over time.

Here are some elements of a great client experience:

1. Impeccable Onboarding

You need to have an onboarding process that “wows” every client who decides you are “the one.” This is a unique window of opportunity as new clients often give referrals in the first 6 months of the client relationship. This is also when clients are the most impressionable. They don’t want to feel forgotten once they’ve transferred their accounts over.

2. Ease of Business

Ask yourself with an objective eye, is it easy to do business with you? Is your website set up for online scheduling? Can clients easily access their accounts online and do they know who to get a hold of (in multiple ways) for their major and minor questions? Do they have regularly scheduled meetings with you that they look forward to attending?

These processes, procedures, and expectations are all part of the ease of doing business with you and are a cornerstone of the customer experience.

 3. A Team Trained in Client Service

Is your team trained in client service? If you are not delivering exceptional service, it is either your process or your people. 

How do you know that a client is being handled the right way if you don’t teach your team how you’d like things done? Develop and implement best practices and standards for delivering client service for your firm. Then incorporate these into both the new hire onboarding training as well as ongoing professional development to ensure your clients are receiving the highest level of customer care.

4. A “Wow” Factor

We’ve all heard the saying that people don’t remember what you say, they remember how you make them feel. That’s the embodiment of the “wow” factor. What do you do for your clients that leaves a lasting impression on them? Perhaps you send flowers to a widow on the anniversary of her husband’s death or congratulate another on the birth of a first grandchild.

Of course, the way you handle this will largely depend on your personality and your relationship style with your clients; but make sure you are going above and beyond to personally and individually make your clients feel valued all year round, whatever that may look like.

5. Celebrate and Reward Client Service Success

One of the best ways to ensure your team is continuing to put client service at the forefront of their daily activities is by rewarding and celebrating their successes. When a client sends a compliment or a special thanks in response to great customer care, be sure to recognize the team or individual team member for their performance. Perhaps even offer them some type of reward to encourage that same service level in the future.

Join us next week for another secret to unsolicited referral success. 

Maribeth Kuzmeski, PhD, President of Red Zone Marketing, is a marketing strategist, advisor to financial services companies, bestselling author of nine books, and a professional speaker rated as a Top 25 C-Suite Speaker as seen in Meetings & Conventions Magazine. She speaks on topics including marketing, branding, sales, and customer service.

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