Getting a consistent flow of referrals and introductions from advocates is not just about asking for them. It’s about creating a culture of referrals and introductions.
To me, a referral culture begins with the decision to meet the bulk of your clients through the means they prefer to meet you, i.e., an introduction from someone you trust. And the higher you go on the economic ladder, the more important building this culture becomes.
A referral culture means that everyone in the firm knows of this commitment and their role in it. Everyone is working to make the firm more referable. Everyone knows when and how to promote referrals and introductions (the subject of this article). And certain key people in the firm know how to ask for introduction without pushing or begging.
Most firms that have established an effective referral culture get more unsolicited referrals, have advocates who create these introductions on a regular basis, and have formed productive relationships with other alliances such as CPAs and attorneys.
Here are 5 simple things you can do to enhance that culture – that will help you receive more unsolicited referrals.
1. Photos of Clients
The special ingredient to creating advocates for your business is your ability to develop business friendships with many of your clients. Put these business friendships on display. (Get permission from your clients to do so!)
I was speaking with a successful advisor on the west coast who has a wall in his office devoted to photos of his clients and his client events. Prospects and clients who see these photos see how important the advisor views his relationship with his clients and how much fun his client events can be.
With your clients permission, of course, you can create a page on your website with photos of you and your clients – in your office and attending fun events. You can even post these sorts of photos in your social media feeds (again, with your clients’ permission).
2. Special Message on Your Video Screen
While your clients are waiting for you in your conference room, in addition to your standard “Welcome George & Martha Smith,” you can add a screen with phrases such as:
- The finest compliment a client can give to us is an introduction to someone who should know about the important work we do.
- Please don’t keep the important work we do a secret.
- We are never too busy to see if we can be of assistance to others you care about.
3. Other Members of Your Staff
Clients who feel engaged with our value and with you as a person are the clients who provide the most referrals and introductions. And client engagement doesn’t start and end with you or other advisors in the firm.
Your staff plays a critical role in enhancing client engagement. Find ways to make sure all the members of your support staff have an opportunity to meet with your clients in person or over the phone – even if just to say “hello.”
If you host client appreciation events, have some of your staff present.
Teach your staff to recognize when your clients are happy about working with the firm so they can promote introductions by saying things like, “Don’t keep us a secret” and “We’re never too busy to see if we can be of value to others you care about.”
If a client needs to wait in a conference room while you finish up another meeting, have a staff member wait with them – or at least check in on them, offering a beverage and a snack. Perhaps someone in the back office who rarely meets with clients can stop by before, during, or after a meeting.
4. Walk Them Out to Their Car
Walking your prospects and clients out to their car or at least down the elevator and to the street level.
Once you leave the office environment, the conversation often turns away from business issues to family, friends, and other interests.
You often learn things about your clients that you didn’t know. This knew information can sometimes trigger other ways you can be of service and help you learn about other people in their life who should know about your important work.
5. Internal Reminders
Put signage in your office kitchen or on your desk (facing you), that reminds you to look for opportunities to get introduced.
We used to sell coffee mugs that said, “Don’t keep me a secret” on the side facing the client and “No Wimps” on the side that faced you.
Create a nice looking, classy, sign in the conference room that says, “The finest compliment you can pay to me is an introduction to someone who might value our work.” I know one advisor who has a nice looking sign in his office that reads, “If we ever let you down in any way, please tell us so that we can serve you better. If you are delighted with the work we do for you, please tell others so we can serve them as well.”
Bill Cates, a highly sought-after international speaker, is offering EveryIncome readers his latest Strategic E-Guide that focuses on the important topic of cloning your best clients. You can get this free E-Guide by going to www.MultiplyYourBestClients.com