Thursday, July 10, 2008

How To Plant Seeds To Get More Referrals

by Bill Cates
Referral Coach International

When I deliver my Unlimited Referrals® Marketing System to financial professionals, I start out by saying, "Raise your hand if a client has ever said this to you: ‘I gave your name out to a friend the other day, was that OK?'" Essentially, all hands go up.

Then I say, "Shame on you for not ensuring that all your clients know you appreciate their help in bringing your value to others."

You can get referrals from clients and prospects without even asking. All you need to do is plant seeds into their unconscious mind and watch them go to work for you. Planting a seed can even develop into a referral conversation right on the spot. The following article provides four ways to plant these powerful referral seeds with prospects and clients.

No. 1: Celebrate meeting a new prospect through a referral.

Every time you meet a new prospect through a referral, celebrate it. Talk about the person you know in common. Tell them, "It's great that Tom introduced me to you. When people see the value in the work I do and introduce me to others, everyone feels more comfortable, and it frees me up with more time to spend with my clients. Does that make sense?"

No. 2: "Don't keep me a secret."

Mitch, a registered rep in Cleveland, never leaves a meeting with a client or prospect without saying, "Remember, don't keep me a secret." I encouraged Mitch to use that personal slogan as a post script on letters and handwritten notes. He told me that after doing this for about three months, his phone started to ring off the hook with referrals.

Why? Because his referral seeds took root and his clients weren't keeping him a secret. I've had a number of producers report great success with this tactic, and there are a number of ways to use it. Some producers tell their clients, some put it in their e-mails, and some even put it on their voicemail messages.

No. 3: I'm never too busy."

Tell all your clients that you're never too busy to see if you can help their friends, colleagues or family members. Notice I put "to see" in the seed. If you have a focused practice and they refer someone to you who doesn't fit the focus, refer them to one of your colleagues who needs the business. Tell your client, "After speaking with Mary, I realized that one of my colleagues is in a better position to serve her." We must always qualify the referrals we get and teach our clients who we serve the best.

No. 4: Model the best way to give referrals.

You can assure yourself of higher quality referrals by how you give referrals. Let's say you're referring an attorney to your client who needs to draft a will. Don't just give out a name and phone number - get permission for the attorney to call your client. Say something like, "I'll have Mack give you a call to get this started."

Ultimately, this serves Mack, it serves your client because they finally finish their will, and it serves you. Then, call your client in a few days to make sure Mack has called and everything is going smoothly.

By giving a referral this way, you've done two things. First, you've demonstrated the power of referrals when handled with care. Second, you've modeled the best way to give a referral. When it comes time for your client (or Mack) to give you referrals, you've shown them the best way to do so. Remember, if you help others make a great connection, they'll do the same for you.

Finally, it's also important that you're not obnoxious about asking for referrals, and it's equally important that you find soft ways to keep the topic lively and in people's field of awareness. Planting referral seeds will do that. Also, planting seeds in this way often helps you identify folks who are willing the play the referral game quickly in the relationship.

Bill Cates is a trusted source for referral coaching and training for financial professionals. His bestselling books, "Don't Keep Me A Secret," and "Get More Referrals Now!" have taught thousands of advisors how to invigorate their businesses and get their lives back through the power of referrals. He has partnered with FAN to provide his self-study programs at great discounts. Go to

No comments: