The Elements Ironstone Blog

Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


Leave a comment

Build It & They Will Come – Earning Referrals

Imagine your field of dreams overflowing with all of the referrals you could ever hope for!  Closing your eyes and picturing a huge field full of perfect referrals to help you grow your firm doesn’t have to be a dream, you can make it reality.

The old way of getting a referral is more than just old.   It’s now considered greedy, pushy and desperate.  Asking for referrals puts your clients in an uncomfortable position.  Building loyalty and trust with clients is paramount to ensure client retention.  Making clients feel uncomfortable by asking for a referral could jeopardize your relationship, thus causing more harm than good.

I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.   ~Calvin Coolidge

Referrals are still the best and most profitable source for new client acquisition.  Learning how to earn referrals is the key to a successful referral plan. It is easy to ask for a referral, anyone can do it.   Elite advisors don’t ask, they earn.  Implementing a referral program at your firm should be a goal for every advisor.  Learning the correct way to implement and use your plan is vital to overall firm reputation, growth and profitability.

Putting your reputation on the line; why would anyone give you a referral?

When a client or strategic alliance partner provides a referral to your firm, their reputation is on the line.  To earn a referral, the referee needs to feel confident that you are trustworthy, knowledgeable and will provide a positive experience to a new prospect.  As an advisor, your primary focus must be on the client and the overall client service  you provide.  If you are “just in it for the money”, clients will eventually see through the bogus wall.

Steps to earn referrals;

Ironstone has compiled a list of the best practices you can use and apply to start earning referrals and stop asking for them. 

  • Become friends with your clientsMeet with clients socially at business networking events and other non-sales related events.
  • Provide incredible client serviceThis will instill a “no-fear” mindset in your client.  Clients will feel there is little risk in recommending your firm to a peer.
  • Pay It ForwardYou need to give to get!  Avoid making the mistake of expecting something in return.
  • Be availableMake it easy for clients and prospects to do business with anyone in your firm at all times.
  • Be patientKeep in mind that relationships take time to build, let them develop over time otherwise you come off as “needy”.
  • Provide educationUse newsletters, client meetings, email, websites and social media to keep your clients and prospects informed of current issues.

Client referrals start with the quality and depth of your client relationships.  You may choose to include asking for referrals in your overall strategy; however, once you have incorporated earning referrals in your strategic referral plan, provide first-class service and a memorable experience; referrals will fill your field of dreams.

We are curious!!  How do you earn referrals?  Do you ask or earn?

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Coming up next, learn about operational effectiveness and your service matrix!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


Leave a comment

Position Your Firm For Referrals

So while I do believe that “Cold Calling Builds Character”,   only a fool ignores an easy sell.   ~Geoffrey James~

The opportunity for firms to grow business is reaching record highs.   Clients and prospective clients are confused with the many financial advisor options at their disposal. With market volatility and media hype prospective clients don’t know who to trust. Positioning your firm by showing how you are different  from your competition will give you a leading edge!                                                                                             

Referrals are one of the best ways to grow your business. Knowing how to obtain a good referral is the trick. Clients will provide referrals to you when:
They have placed trust in you
• They are satisfied
• They have become loyal to you

Contrary to popular belief, your clients actually like giving referrals. Identify your best referral targets whether by survey or gut instinct. It gives them an opportunity to network with their friends and become a solution to a need. Avoid asking clients for referrals merely to grow your business.

A client referral should be all about the client, not you and your firm. Be prepared to explain how your client will benefit and that you are interested in taking care of the needs of their friends and family the way you do for them. Tell them how you will monitor their accounts and what type of communication they can expect from your firm. When a new client signs the dotted line, you still have to prove to the client that you can deliver what you have promised and earn their trust.

Craft your strategy and approach to position your firm for referrals.
Client referrals start with the quality and depth of your client relationships. As a financial advisor you have helped many people. Create your unique story and include your process. Think of examples that you can share about how you helped a certain client achieve a goal or overcome a problem.   Specific examples will give your clients something to connect to and aide them in sharing your story with others.

Also include why you became a financial advisor and what you like most about your profession.   Embed the type of client you’re looking for in your process.   If not, you will end up with names and phone numbers, not quality referrals.

Areas to consider in your referral process:
1.  Your process should precisely identify your investment approach so that existing and potential clients can resonate with the story. For example, you might highlight the research that your firm has done during the difficult investment climate
2.  Center’s Of Influence: keep in mind that relationships take time to build, let them develop over time otherwise you come off as “needy.”
3.  Keep your Center Of Influence List available, but make your universe small. When working with someone, let them know that they are “1 in 3.” (that is a compliment to them)
4.  Don’t forget the power of social media and networking.   LinkedIn is a powerful business building tool.
5.  Use client meetings as an opportunity to update them on the services that you offer. A client can only provide you with referrals if they have a clear understanding of the services that you provide.
6. Become friends with your clients by meeting them socially at business networking events and other non-sales related events.
7.  Provide incredible service so that your client feels that there is little risk in recommending your firm to a peer.
8.  Be proactive about your clients needs by anticipating what they are likely to want.

Ironstone can assist you in developing a Referral Process and Program. We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel to achieving the results you desire. We will help you create a strategy and tactical approach.

Contact us for assistance, sharing your best ideas and your unique services. We always love hearing from you!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Operational Effectiveness-New Client Workflow

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Follow us on twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/AndreaSchlapia
• Join us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IronstoneCommunications
• Connect with us on LinkedIn @ http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=29647364&trk=tab_pro