A few years ago I got a question from Ryan who was wondering if I could give him some tips on how to increase the word of mouth that his clients give on his behalf and perhaps help to bring in more referrals.
Listen to the recording of my conversation with Ryan or read the transcript below to learn what I suggest he does and how he can use his clients as his sales force.
There are a lot of things I’d consider. A friend of mine gives every person he meets two business cards. He says one is to keep and one is to throw away. Just get them talking.
Form a board of advisors
Every company in the country has a board of advisors, from Exxon on down. We often don’t in our business. You should have a board of advisors, and those advisors can be clients or friends, but should be influential people in your community. I would talk to four, five or six people, and say:
“Would you serve on my board of advisors for a period of ‘x’ – 12 months, 18 months, 24 months –we’ll meet two or three times a year, we’ll go out to dinner, but I want to pick your brain, I want to grow my business the way you think I ought to grow it. And if my firm sends a letter out and it’s too confusing, tell me and I’ll call people and explain it. If I’m missing the boat and I should be doing a seminar, tell me, I’ll do it. But most importantly, take me to meet the people I ought to meet in order to grow my business the way you feel it should grow.”
I really believe, Ryan, if you form a board of advisors, you will find a majority of your referrals come from your board.
Tell clients you grow your business by word of mouth
You have the right to say that to everyone. It’s certainly the way doctors grow their business. Some time ago I did a seminar for an Advisor who actually has a referral contest every year. She tells every new account that there’s going to be a contest this year and the people that win are the people that give me the most referrals that turn into new accounts. She has a client appreciation night at the end of the year. She actually has a trophy, Ryan, believe it or not, she calls the people up front and gets a really great applause, and hands them a trophy for giving her the most referrals during the year.
I think most people will tell you they have never been asked by their advisor to give them referrals. Remember that wealthy people don’t really respond to advertising as much as networking among their friends and trusted advisors. So if you plant the referrals seed with your clients and somebody asks them, ‘who should I get to manage my money’, they’re going to naturally say you.
So tell people you want them to get your name around, tell them it’s how you grow your business, form a board of advisors, give everybody business cards to hand out, and I think that you will get plenty of referrals.
Someone once said to me, “It doesn’t matter how many cards are in your Rolodex, it’s how many Rolodexes is your card in.” So just get out there, it’s up to you to get that word out, take advantage of viral marketing, it’s very powerful.
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