It was 2019, and David had hit a plateau in his business as a financial advisor.
He had started with what his manager called his “warm market”— his family, friends and acquaintances — which resulted in very few new clients. But he was too uncomfortable to ask them for referrals, so he turned to buying so-called “qualified leads.”
He was spending money he didn’t have for leads that turned out to be far less than qualified. But he did get an occasional client from them.
David joined an early morning networking group in 2018 and made sure to be there every week. That got him one new client over the course of the year.
David, though, had a young family to support, and there just wasn’t enough money coming in to pay his bills. He was running up credit cards and paying his mortgage and other bills late.
Changing your referral mindset
I asked David to take another look at referrals, and he became very uncomfortable. He told me, “I don’t want people to know how bad things are and asking for referrals feels needy.”
My response was, “Then let’s stop asking for referrals as a way to beg for business and start offering clients a chance to help someone they care about.”
I explained to David how making that one shift — from asking for help to build his business to asking people if there’s someone, they want to give the opportunity to work with him — could open him up to great leads and more clients.
We worked on changing his mindset and the way he conducted the introduction conversation from being more about helping his happy clients “pay it forward” to the people they cared about most. We also worked on how to get more out of networking and what it takes to get clients so engaged that they want to give you referrals.
When clients want to give you referrals
After a few weeks, David announced that he had received two introductions, and one of them had already become a client. It was his first new client in over a month.
It’s 2022, and David is now earning a comfortable mid-six-figure income. His bills are paid on time, and he and his wife bought a new home. David attributes all these changes to the first lesson he learned about asking for introductions.
If you are not getting enough quality leads and you’re also not asking people to introduce you because it feels awkward and uncomfortable, look at how you’re asking and who your request is serving. If your focus is on helping them help someone in their lives, you’ll feel much less uncomfortable. And you’ll obtain the introductions you want.
Sandy Schussel is a performance acceleration coach who has been working with financial advisors for more than 20 years, helping them break through to higher production levels.
Find more ideas about getting more referrals:
- Read “A simple way to target your referrals”(MDRT member exclusive)
- Read “How to get the referrals you need to grow your business”(MDRT member exclusive)