5 unconventional ways to ask for referrals

Financial advisors are trained to ask clients for referrals, and so from time to time we ask, “Do you know anyone I can help?” Put on the spot, though, sometimes our clients’ minds go blank. Yet, happy clients can be your best advocates. How can we do a better job at asking for referrals?

  1. Who wants an extra slice of pie? Your client asked about a specific product. Actually, they didn’t know the exact terminology, but they gave you enough clues. You told them about the product, and they are ready to buy. This is an ideal time to ask, “Who else do you know who would be interested?” If they loved the concept and came to you, chances are they know other interested people.
  2. The more specific the better. Suppose you asked a friend, “Do you know anyone who wants to buy a used car? I know someone who has one for sale.” Unless someone just told them “I’m in the market for a used car” their mind goes blank. Now suppose you said this instead, “Know anyone who would be interested in a 2021 Mazda Miata MX5 convertible that’s cherry red and has under 5,000 miles on it? I know someone who has one for sale.” There is so much detail, they can think of friends who want a red car and friends who want a convertible. They think of friends who would buy it as a surprise gift for their spouse.
  3. Friends of friends. A former executive relayed to me how he was able to help his financial advisor get 50 referrals. That’s a lot! His advisor would call and say, “Sally, do you know John Jones at ABC company? It’s in your industry. No? Then do you know someone who knows John Jones and can provide an introduction?” If the average person knows a few hundred people, each of those people knows a few hundred more.
  4. Introductions to organizations. Your client is a dedicated volunteer at a nonprofit organization. That nonprofit organization might have an endowment or a foundation, which might have funds that can be invested for the long term. Your client might be able to get you in front of the right people.
  5. Entertaining to advantage. In warmer weather, entertaining outdoors at picnics and barbecues is common. Use this outdoor socializing opportunity to invite people over who you would like to get to know better. Invite them over along with another couple they already know. That should make them more comfortable accepting your invitation. “What do you do” usually comes up in conversation. Another approach is to ask a client who is a good friend to invite some folks over to their house and include you in the party. This could be low-key, like watching the game on TV. They might plan on doing it anyway. Adding one more guest is easy.

There are ways you can make getting introductions and referrals both low-key and effective.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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  • bryce sanders says:

    Shahzad, thanks for commenting. What a great strategy! It’s brilliant! Many agents and advisors work in office towers! You develop a “nodding acquaintance” with people when you see them on a regular basis. As an FYI, I knew a financial planner who built his practice riding the commuter train back and forth from his suburban town to the city center. He would get off the train, cross the platform, ride the next one heading back and keep repeating the process. He met executives that way. I’m glad you found a strategy that works for you! Well done!


    I think it’s a common approach to connect with new prospects, yes! solid approach is when you are asking your potential client at the time of closing “Who else do you think would be interested?” . . last month I experienced an advisors I just met him in the life and noticed that we were meeting 3rd time in a day, I asked him “What do you do?” he told me I am advisor and I know you too, my mentored had told me that I have to go up & down in the lift at least 25 to 30 times in a day “it’s a solid prospecting tool to find some good prospects, as its a big offices plaza with minimum 300 + offices and in the lift you will meet many people either they are office owners or employees and many they are coming to see them but through the lift only . . .just give them a “simple smile” and offer them your business card and tell them about you . . .It really works building my personal brand that I am Advisors and available anytime to them to discuss on their needs & wants. . . .Many people visiting me for an advice on their different needs ” but I discuss more on their peaceful and comfortable tomorrow . . . .Yesterday I give my business card to John in the lift . . .and he reacted “really” I was looking for someone for my mortgage Insurance . . .and today we were sitting on a “Tim Horton’s” coffee to close it . . .Shahzad Kaiser / Life member (MDRT)

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