The ONLY referral that Works… and why all the other referral advice is worthless

Why don’t you get more referrals?  Your clients love you.  They know you are smart and provide great service.  We assume they like their family and friends.  So why don’t they refer more?

The answer is pretty simple.  REJECTION.

It’s why all the other referral systems don’t work.  I’ve read over a dozen books touting that they had cracked the code on how to get referrals… and hundreds of articles claiming the same thing.  They are all the same drivel repackaged.  Worthless advice that does not work.  It’s because they don’t put themselves in the client’s shoes.

We don’t like rejection, but it is part of our job.  However, rejection is NOT part of being a client… so they are not going to put themselves in a position, where they might be rejected.

Think about it.  They go to their friend or family member and say, “Bob!  You gotta work with my advisor!  He’s awesome!  He’s been getting me great returns for the last 8 years.  He’s created this fabulous income plan that has more money coming in than we ever dreamed possible.  And boy, or boy, does he take good care of us.  You have to sit down with him!”

What is their friend Bob going to say?  “That’s OK, I got a guy.”

How does your client feel?   Rejected.  When will they refer again?  Never.

Now don’t get me wrong.  If someone ASKS your client if they know a good advisor… then they will absolutely refer to you.  But, then we are just waiting passively for that miracle to happen.  It’s why we get a few referrals every year… but don’t get them on a regular basis.

Or maybe you have that one guy in a hundred that loves to bird dog for you.  Loves to talk you up.  Terrific!  But how many of your clients are like that… and how long before that guy runs out of friends to talk to?

You need a referral system that is active instead of passive… and above all, predictable.  After 35 years in the professional sales business… I finally found the one referral that actually works.

You must make them want to refer for their OWN benefit… not yours… not their friends… but for themselves.

How do you do that?  It’s NOT by offering compensation for referrals.  It’s been tried.  It doesn’t work.  People feel “dirty” getting paid to sic, what they are afraid their friend will think is a salesperson, on them.

Instead, here’s what you need to make this referral technique successful:

  1. It has to benefit your client at the gut level. It must help them avoid something that would be very unpleasant.
  2. It has to be apparent to them, that the benefit is for them alone… and that you will NOT benefit by selling their friend something.

This second one is tricky.  I mean, we do want a referral so that we can bring them on as a client… and eventually sell them something, right?  Otherwise, what’s the point of the referral?  Don’t worry, we will sell the person they refer something… but it cannot be the first thing we do.

So, your client must believe they are referring their friend or family member to receive a NON-financial service or value.  Something that has NOTHING to do with what you get paid to do.  Nothing to do with investments, insurance or investment software.

The reason for this is that your client will be willing to refer their friend or family member, if they think it is for something valuable, that has nothing to do with money.  They aren’t comfortable referring, if they think you are just going after the money… and as we said, they know that the person they refer will reject them, if it’s just about the money.

What I use to achieve this is a list of 7 NON-financial things that are simple to take care of up front… but if not taken care of… could cause big problems down the line.  Time… money… and hassles.

Using a NON-financial offer makes the referral easy.  Here’s how it would go:

  • Give your client the NON-financial benefit (in my case the 7-item checklist) … at no cost. Simply a value-added benefit that you are now offering to your clients.
  • Walk through all the negative consequences that would/could happen to your client if you hadn’t helped them by giving them this benefit.
    • Have them realize the time… money… and hassles you have helped them to avoid in the future.
  • Then simply say:
    • “Do you have anyone in your life that looks to you for advice… or comes to you for help… maybe runs things by you?
    • “Would you like me to do these NON-financial things for them too… because if we don’t, who are they going to ask for help and drag into their problems… all the time, money and hassles? Who do they look to for help?”
    • “Would you like me to take care of these NON-financial things for them… so that their problems… don’t become YOUR problems?”

They make the referral because it helps them avoid the HUGE problem of being saddled with helping out a loved one, when this thing happens to them.  They will actually schedule the appointment with the referral for you!  No chasing… they schedule it for you!

Now this does not work with all clients.  It only works with clients who have family or friends they help out.  That may only be one out of 5 of your clients, but they will give you multiple referrals.  And the kicker is… when a Center of Influence makes that referral… schedules that appointment for you and the person they are referring… how good is that referral?  It’s as good as done.

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Get the Best Advice on How to Grow Your Business… You will blow your competitors away!

If you are looking at leveraging the newest and best ways to reach clients, here’s a great way to do it that doesn’t cost you an arm and leg.  Consider sponsoring a marketing, design or public relations class at a local university.

Students will come up with lots of fresh ideas that you did not even know existed.  They’ll even build you tools you can use, that would cost thousands, if you hired a professional company to do them.  This is so effective, even huge companies like Steel Case and Fossil Watches do this regularly.

It is effective for 3 reasons:

  1. It’s inexpensive. Universities are looking for real life experiences for their students.
  2. You own the ideas!
  3. You get to scout for local talent that you can use when they graduate

Let these budding professionals impress you with their creativity, knowledge and ideas that will make you shine over all of your competitors.

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Simple Ways to Lock the Sale

How skeptical are people today?  Very.  How do you get them to lower their defenses and understand that you truly are there to help?  Start by treating them special… and sadly, in today’s world, it doesn’t take much to make them feel special.

Here’s one thing I do:

  • Get a little Marquee board you can hang outside your office to welcome all your clients.

Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Finley!

You will be amazed at the effect it has on people.  They absolutely love it!  They have probably never had that happen to them before.  And you can get a little Marquee board on Amazon for less than $30.

There are many little things you can do to make clients and prospects feel special… and they cost diddly.  You can find out how I outfitted my office to create wonderful experience… all for less than $300 a year.  And clients rave about it.

Get my WOW! Experience Guide HERE courtesy of 5Q Group.

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Create a Buzz and Get the Most Important People in Town to Come to Your Event

What would you do to start rubbing elbows with the most influential and affluent people in town?  Here’s what a law firm in Minneapolis did to attract an all-star list of attendees at their event.

They tapped into people’s ego.

  • They picked out a fun venue that people would enjoy… think conservatory… zoo… historic building… etc.
  • They arranged food (hors d’oeuvres) and music (local well-known band)
  • They put together the list of people they would want to come to the party
    • It was diverse. People with money… People with influence… People from business, sports, the arts and politics.
    • Think “interesting” people that others would enjoy meeting
  • You then invite them to an “Compelling People” dinner
    • Give the event an exclusive feel by creating a VERY upscale invite… you know… quality paper, graphics, a wax seal on the back
      • “You have been identified as a Compelling Person… you and a guest are invited to attend a special event planned for the Compelling People of [INSERT YOUR CITY NAME].
      • Talk about the time, place, food prepared by… and entertainment
    • If possible have them hand delivered by someone in a tux or formal dress
    • It’s better yet if you can give them the invites in front of people… at the place of work to make them feel special… at lunch… at a game… on the golf course… in their backyard with their family.
  • Put a mysterious ad in the newspaper and radio… asking people if they had been identified as one of the Compelling People in [INSERT YOUR CITY]. This will build an exclusive feel for those invited and boost attendance.
  • When guests arrive, they should get an envelope containing the guest list, a note about the purpose of the party and a suggestion of the first guest they should look to meet (with their short bio).

So, what were their results?  Two new HUGE clients within a month… and over 50 other movers and shakers who now knew who they were, and would pick up the phone, when they called.  Over the next year at least 4 other clients were tied back to this party.  The profit outweighed the cost by over 10-to-1.

And this little venture also paid off in branding and name recognition… and much more business was generated indirectly.

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A Marketing Hole in One!

Wouldn’t you rather be on the golf course, instead of your office on those fine summer days?  Well, here’s a way to have fun AND bring on clients.

Invite 2 or 3 people you would like to make clients or get to know as centers of influence.  They should come from different industries.  Some ideas may be… accountants, attorneys, chiropractors, dentists, business people, realtors, politicians, etc.

Let them know it is for some fun… but also to get to know people where there might be mutual business or strategic interests.

Here’s how to conduct the perfect business golf outing:

  • Ask them to meet at the club an hour before tee time
  • Bring some snacks and drinks to get things rolling
  • Make introductions and suggest moving to the practice green
  • Make sure golf cart is stocked with their favorite foods and beverages—do some homework by calling their office staff and picking their brains
  • At the tee, surprise them each with a sleeve of top-notch golf balls
  • Make it a rule that the first 9 holes are about golf… NO business talk
  • On the back 9, it should be easy to bring up ideas on how you all might help each other out
  • Remember to send them all a handwritten thank you note after the outing
  • Get them on your newsletter
  • Then, follow up on any ideas discussed
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Get the BEST Testimonials All Advisors… Including RIA’s and Registered Reps Can use!

My office had only one type of art hanging on the walls in the waiting room… 5 big picture frames filled with a collage of snapshots of happy clients, having the time of their lives.  Guess what every prospect looked at when they came into my office?  Guess what they would inevitably find?  Someone they knew with a huge smile on their face.

Every summer I would have a barbecue or Luau and invite all my clients and their friends.  I had an over 90% attendance at these fun parties.  I took tons of pictures.  I would then send a pic to each of my clients and fill another big picture frame with the rest of the photos.

If you’d like my step-by-step instructions and invitation on how to put on a Luau for your clients… you can find it here… courtesy of 5Q Group.

Have fun!

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Want to see your sales go up exponentially in one week?

How?  Just get in front of more people, right?  WRONG!

FIRST… you must be confident that you can close a…

  • tire kicker
  • plate licker
  • someone that loves their advisor
  • someone that does it all themselves

When you are confident you can sell those 4 types of people… marketing and getting in front of people goes away.

Why?  Because getting in front of those people is EASY!  The reason we don’t market is that we think these people are lousy people… not qualified… impossible to sell.  Again, WRONG!

Do you have something of value that people want?   What’s the only thing between your prospect and that thing?  You.  So, if they ain’t buying… there’s only one problem.

Fix the problem and you’ll be confident you can sell those people you used to think were uncloseable.

I went from making $50,000/yr.  to $967,00 in 2 years… and I saw less people!  Why?  Because I was closing tire kickers, plate lickers, DIYers and people who loved their adviser.

Start doing these things and you will attain the skills to sell the unsaleable…

  • Record all your meetings and listen to them—ask yourself, “Would I buy from me?”
  • Use those recording to make your next meeting better than your last. Most advisers haven’t worked on their communication skills in years… if you do it daily, you’ll be amazed at how quickly your income goes up.
  • Your first 15 minutes everyday should be spent getting your mind right. Determine the one thing that day, you are going to focus on and get better at doing.
    • Listening
    • Not talking over someone
    • Asking more questions. Doing less telling and selling
    • Not correcting people. Being a know-it-all
    • Showing gratitude
    • Complimenting people with sincere appreciation
    • Writing thank you notes
    • Reaching out to a business with an idea
    • Checking in with clients to see how they are doing… without mentioning their money
    • Determining what you can say in your presentations to overcome a common objection… BEFORE they bring it up
      • You should NEVER get an objection more than once or twice… you need to fix your presentation so that in all future presentations… the prospect overcomes it before they bring it up. That’s why my FIA sales presentation has succeeded over 60,000 times in the last 20 years that my advisors have been using it!
    • And I could go on and on…

If you just get 2% better each week… compounded over a year… you will have tripled your skill level.  How much did your skill level go up last year?

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What’s the best way to follow up to get the deal?

If you want to seal a deal… ALWAYS follow-up.  People are going to Google, you, your company, your product, and god knows what else… after they leave your office… or after you send them information.

So, how do you pre-empt this… and instead stoke the fires and get them excited about moving forward?

Here’s some things to think about…

  • Send them something out of the ordinary. (above trashcan, or “lumpy” mail is a great example)
  • Give them 2 reasons why moving forward will put them in a better position
  • The more you make it value-added… meaning things you don’t get paid to do… the more likely they are going to want to follow up. If it’s all about things you’ll get paid on… you are dead in the water… why do you think they aren’t getting back to you in the first place?  Duh, they think you just want to make money off them.
  • Share an idea you didn’t give them before
  • The absolute best thing you can do is give them a case study of someone that had a very similar situation to them… and lay out the problems… your solutions… and where those people are today.
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What do you do when they say, “Put it in the mail”?

How many times have you put things in the mail to a prospect… and had it turn into business?  Most times?  Or not so often.  When the prospect wants it in the mail instead of meeting with us… we know we will probably never meet with them.

The only way to improve your odds is to actually connect with them.  Isn’t that the reason we wanted to meet them in person in the first place?  To connect with them?

If you think the people are worth a little investment, one idea, that has worked, is to mail them the information with a toy trash can enclosed (see link below).  Handwrite a little note on the package. Say something like…

“I know that this material will most likely end up in the trash, so I thought I’d enclose a trash can as well.  I do have 3 other ideas that requires more than just a brochure to explain. That will both… lower your taxes… and increase your income… with one little change.  It will take just 20-minutes to go over it with you.  What do you say?  When would be a good time to talk?”

Toy trash can suggestion:

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I’ve Been Asked to Speak and I Don’t Have a Presentation!

Many good advisors are asked to speak to groups.  They don’t always give you a lot of time to prepare… and they all have different time limitations and topics they want covered.  So, how do you put together a good presentation, quickly?

The best place to start is at the end.  Yep, the end.  Prepare your summary and conclusion slide first.  List between 3 and 5 topics on the slide.  Psychology has shown that most people are attracted to presentations with 3 main points… you can go as high as 5 points… but anything more than that… you will actually be hurting yourself.

Presentations with over 5 points will generally be viewed as confusing and boring.

Now that you have your summary slide… simply build your presentation around the topics you’ve decided to cover.

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