Are you missing out on opportunities to double your business? If every single client you had, right now, gave you a referral, that’s exactly what would happen. But you don’t need to solely rely on your current database to grow your business as we head into the new year.
With Thanksgiving quickly approaching for our American clients and friends, Christmas will be here before we know it. The pandemic restrictions have eased, and many can finally gather around the table with friends and family to celebrate the season.
As a financial advisor, you’re going to overhear many conversations that could easily lead to a new client if you’re listening. Here is how to subtly ask for referrals from friends while you’re home for the holidays.
Look for Referral Opportunities
The first step in being genuine when approaching friends and family for referrals is actively listening. When they tell stories about their colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances, keep in mind how you could relate your business to helping them during a further follow-up later.
After all, you don’t want to interrupt a baby announcement with, “That’s great to hear! Have you thought about your child’s financial future yet?” That may be a little inappropriate.
Instead, take a mental note of important events mentioned over dinner. But, you could also have storytelling opportunities to subtly open the door for the referral process to take place.
For example, let’s pretend your sibling mentioned a neighbor’s divorce and how hard it’ll be on the young children. This is your opportunity to use storytelling to create awareness of your business’ benefits to others that went through the same ordeal.
“My colleague and I were just discussing a tragic event that happened with a divorced couple. The mother was relying on child support payments to take care of the children. Unfortunately, the father passed away during a sudden work incident, leaving her to take care of 3 children on her own financially and emotionally.
During the divorce process, both of the parents came to an advisor to enroll in life insurance so the other parent could be financially supported to raise the child alone. Now, even with one parent tragically taken, they won’t have to miss out on anything due to financial hardship.
This includes being a part of sports teams, going to college, etc. I’m sorry to hear your neighbor is going through something similar. If you think they’d benefit from setting up something similar, you can let them know that for less than a latte a day, they can buy a whole lot of life insurance.”
Having a few stories at the ready about the benefits your business provides can help paint the picture to family and friends. They’ll feel they’re able to help, just by connecting people they know to you.
Remember, if there are no opportunities for storytelling, active listening to start a conversation later is your best strategy for subtly asking for a referral.
After you’ve gathered all of your notes from actively listening to friends and family over the holidays, make a point of getting in touch with them soon after you’ve met up in person. The goal is to invite them to your office to discuss your business in-depth. The more personal, the better, whether it’s a phone call or text message, but an email will suffice if that’s your usual method of communication.
A simple script example could be the following:
“Hey, John! It was great catching up with you over the holidays. When are you available this week to come by my office for lunch? I would love to show you what I’ve been doing over here!
I couldn’t stop thinking about that story you told me about your neighbor and how much it reminded me of the one I told you. I’ll put together a little package for you to drop off for them while you’re here!”
Offering to buy a family or friend lunch is a kind gesture, and you can enjoy their company while having the opportunity to talk more in-depth about your business, the benefits, and the types of people you help.
You’ll also have something to give to them to pass along to a potential referral. To thank your friend or family member for dropping this off, it may also be worthwhile to let them leave with a small gift as a thank you, such as a gift card for dinner for making the time to mention your name. This is otherwise known as the Ben Franklin effect, where you’ve done a favor for someone, so now they feel happy to do a favor for you.
Once you’ve done the legwork during the holiday season to listen actively, ask questions, take notes and dive deep for stories you could share that are relatable to your friends/families’ situations, you’re ready to ask for a referral subtly.
To start, you’ll always want to reference the topic of why you’re mentioning it. This could be reminiscing on a story they shared about a colleague, bringing up a new story that is relatable that showcases your business’s benefits, and so on.
Your next step is to ask, “Who do you know that could also benefit from a service like this? I can help you brainstorm for a minute.” Stay silent for the first 30 seconds, allowing them to start thinking about it themselves. If they need a prompt, here is where your active listening comes in handy.
“Do you think Stan, the colleague you mentioned that just had a son, might want an easy way to save for college that won’t stress his bank account? What’s the best way for us to get in touch with him?”
Asking for referrals from a family member or friend can feel awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. By actively listening and putting others’ needs first, you’ll naturally find a way to mention the benefits your services could have to your friends’ and families’ colleagues, neighbors, and acquaintances.
Do you need help growing your business, gaining confidence, and building a referral system that works for you? Contact us to help you clear your roadblocks and head into the new year with focus and determination.