Golden State has had a great year; winning 73 games, receiving a new record, and now entering the NBA Finals for the second year in a row. They did not achieve this by following the typical style of play. Instead, they moved the boundaries of where to take shots from and created space with great passing. In all, they looked at how the game of basketball was played and changed it.
This is what we are going to do with referrals.
SHAPING THE STRATEGY ONE ADVISOR AT A TIME
Let’s first begin with a typical story on how referrals work and how one financial advisor changed the way he was operating.
During one of our recent breakfast meetings, my good friend and fellow financial advisor, Paul asked me for advice on how he could ramp up his company’s number of scheduled prospect meetings. He was reaching out to people, but nothing was happening. Either they did not respond to him, they felt uncomfortable, or they were unsure of whom to refer.
Therefore, we had to change the strategy in order for him to compete and retain referrals, just like the Golden State Warriors changed their strategy of play to win more games.
I instructed him to follow this process. Over the course of two weeks, he spent a total of four hours sending 11 emails to prospect referral partners. Of the 11 emails sent, nine responded with a yes! He sent four additional emails to set up eight possible meetings, five of which occurred.
Paul went from not having any meetings in one week to having five scheduled the next. All of this happened by putting in four extra hours of work.
THE TYPICAL REFERRAL PROCESS
The typical referral process has four steps. Each step of the process faces the risk of completely and utterly breaking down. Perhaps the exchange does not happen; the referral partner is not suited to make an introduction; the potential partner responds by saying he or she is not looking for a firm, or there is simply no interest.
Consequently the typical referral process is outmoded.
THE NEED FOR A SIMPLE APPROACH
To make an impact, the process needs to be easy. Unfortunately, the typical referral is NOT an easy task. Your first goal should be to make it as effortless as possible for you and the referral partner to succeed. Next, craft and deliver a personal introduction (Note: Your introduction should not be a sales pitch for the product or service your company provides. If you don’t like being sold to, neither will the next person).
THE FIVE-STEP PROCESS
In the ever-competitive marketplace of financial advisors, if you want to succeed and stand out, you need to work differently. The following process is meant to change what you do and give you a clear path that will lead you to success.
- Identify the individuals you want to receive referrals from. Begin by creating a list of people you are well acquainted with. Try not to worry about them getting angry or thinking poorly of you, as this tends to be the most common reason for inaction. Instead, get outside of your own insecurities and go for it. If the person is uninterested, they will tell you; however, the reality is they seldom — if at all — say no.
- Once you have a list of prospects drafted, send each potential partner an email requesting his or her help. Remember, you are not contacting the individual about your products or service, but rather you are introducing yourself and offering the ability to get to know the other person.
- Each referral partner should receive an email with the list of names you are looking to contact, as well as the instructions and message you are hoping to convey. This part of the process should be as structured as possible so that a. the partners are responsible for very little work, and b. any potential problems are eliminated as you are briefing them on what to say and do.
- When a referral responds to the initial email, take time to send a thank-you. This demonstrates courtesy and gives you time for a brief call with the referral.
- Don’t be afraid to follow-up. It is easy for people to be consumed with their daily tasks, their work and their family. Sending a reminder can be the pivotal piece of finalizing the referral process.
To learn more about the referral process and the tools we use to receive referrals, contact us here.