Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Another Referral Tip You Can Use

by Bill Cates
Referral Coach International

So, your client has given you the name of someone they think you should contact. Whether you asked for that referral or not, your next step is to learn about this new prospect and get a quality introduction. I've covered this quite often in past issues of The Referral Minute. What I want to talk about in this issue, is what your client says to the prospect.

Now, I can't give you the exact words - though I know you might like that. Everybody's situation is different; every advisor who is reading this email, every one of your clients, and every one of your prospects. What I can give you are some guidelines.

Some of your clients will know exactly what they need to say to pique the interest of their friend, family member, or colleague. Usually they will know this person's hot buttons and know how to push them. Honor this. While you might be able to tweak what they say a little here and there, trust that they know what to say.

For all of your other referral sources, you probably want to work with them on this just a wee bit more.

For instance, if someone says, "My friend Jay just sold his business and is getting a large chunk of cash very soon. I know he's not working with anyone experienced, and I'm going to TELL him to take your call." Roll with that. I'd be surprised if it didn't work.

On the other hand, if your client says, "I'm going to tell her that I bought some life insurance from you and that if she needs insurance, she should talk to you," we know that that's not a very strong introduction

Ask Your Clients What They Are Likely to Say to the Prospect

There are two reasons why you want to ask your clients what they think they will say to get the prospect interested:

  1. You can monitor what they plan to say and help them adjust to a more effective introduction.
  2. It's like practice for them. When it's time to talk to their friend, they'll be more confident and actually go through with the conversation. Asking them to talk it out with you first will give them more confidence.

You can accomplish this by saying, "What do you think you need to say to George to get him to take my call?" Or, perhaps, "I'm curious how you think you'll introduce the work I do to Martha. What are you likely to say?"

If you like their answer put your stamp of approval on it. If you don't like their response, then offer some suggestions.

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Now back to The Referral Minute...

Less is Usually More

In most cases, a product-specific introduction is not the best - unless you pretty much only sell one product. For instance, if you are a LTCI specialist working with middle-age to senior clients, then you can certainly go that route.

For most people reading this newsletter, you have several (or even many) ways you can serve your clients. In this case, a product-specific introduction is not a good idea. Make the introduction about you, your integrity, your creativity, your overall value, etc.

So here's a sample Generic Script that might trigger some ideas for you to use in coaching your clients on what to say in their introductions:

CLIENT: "I'm just going to tell him that I bought an annuity from you, and that if he's interested, you're the best."

YOU: "Thanks for the kind words. I have another way that might be a little more effective. Can I run it by you?"

CLIENT: "Sure. I'm all ears."

YOU: "As you know, I offer a pretty wide range of financial services, and the work I do for George may be very different than what I do for you. How do you feel about saying something like, "George, I've been working with a financial professional lately who has really impressed me. She's bright, has a lot of integrity, really knows her stuff, and just might be a great resource for you. I think taking her call could prove to be very valuable to you. Should I have her contact you?"

CLIENT: "Yeah - I can say something like that. That's a lot better. Thanks."

I'd love to hear from you. Send your questions, comments, and best practices to me at:

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