Nearly all financial advisors are looking to grow their practices by cultivating the wealthy. There are a number of ways they can effectively bring in new affluent investor clients with referrals topping the list.
One kind of referrals entails current wealthy clients referring their family, friends, and peers.
According to Brett Van Bortel, Director at Invesco Consulting and coauthor of The Whole Client Model, “Once in a while a client will provide a financial advisor with an unsolicited referral to a new affluent investor.
This is usually sporadic, but that need not be the case.
Very often, when wealthy clients are asked and asked in the proper manner, they will come through with affluent investor referrals.
The process for soliciting client referrals is made up of seven steps.
Financial advisors should think of these seven steps as an outline to adapt based on their own working styles and preferences.
The following are the seven steps:
Step #1: Set expectations. From the start, financial advisors should explain to their clients how they would be checking in frequently to gauge their satisfaction with what is going on and, very importantly, to uncover any problems before they metastasize.
Step #2: Create a loyal clientele. Financial advisors must make sure their clients believe strongly in them and their abilities.
A variety of actions can be adopted to build and strengthen the rapport they have with these clients that need to be pursued.
Step #3: Identify wealthy prospects. It behooves financial advisors to have predetermined whom the client knows, which is a function of building rapport and systematically interviewing current clients.
With these insights in hand, financial advisors can be specific when they ask for referrals.
Step #4: Ask for the referral. The financial advisor has to take the initiative.
There are a variety of highly efficacious ways to ask for a referral, and the ability to use the most appropriate approach is important.
Step #5: Say “Thank you.” Financial advisors must recognize there are social and personal costs to their clients in providing referrals. Because of these costs, they should quickly show gratitude.
Step #6: Inform the referral source how the meeting went. The current client will be curious as to how things went with the person they referred.
It is important that the financial advisor let him or her know that things went well, while being mindful of confidentiality.
Step #7: Say, “Thank you” again. Just because the financial advisor thanked his or her client for the referral once, it is useful not to stop there.
Thank him or her again, especially if the referral becomes a new client.
"Client referrals are usually critical for financial advisors wanting to build a substantial high-net-worth clientele,” says Van Bortel.
“Moreover, being systematic about garnering such referrals is critical to getting them.”