Without a doubt, if you want to grow your client base, referrals are the most effective method. The trust you have built with your existing clients and centers of influence provides an opportunity to attract new clients to your planning firm.
As you look toward the next year and growing your business, you need a referral strategy that separates you from the competition. Providing value is the best way to consistently do so.
From the book “The Go Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann, there are five essential qualities that constantly deliver value to your clients. In turn, your clients can easily refer people to you in the future.
- Excellence: In my new book, “Free Throws for Financial Professionals,” I write about how Coach Knight would prepare. He asked the student managers to take copious statistics and pair those numbers with video of each practice. He not only knew the numbers, but he would ask why the numbers looked the way they did. He could match behavior with results by comparing the statistics with the actual video. From there, he sought to increase the performance of the team.
- Consistency: During my four years as a student manager, we prepared for games in a similar fashion. Specifically, game days looked exactly the same. We ate our pre-game meal at the same time, relative to the tip-off time. We ate the same meal. The team completed a final walk-through of out-of-bounds plays that were to be used and defended against that game. And, we typically had a short presentation by Coach to review the game’s goals. This consistency provided a calmness for the student-athletes before critical games. It’s the same calmness your clients need prior to making a major life decision about their retirement.
- Attention: One of my favorite encounters as a student manager was with Duke basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski (better known as Coach K) during the 1984 Olympic Trials. I drove him from Indianapolis to Bloomington for the week of basketball trials with amateur players. During the week, he saw me in a hallway and not only remembered my name but remembered to ask me about a test I had taken that very morning. He paid special attention to me as a person because he listened actively the weekend prior. We can all afford to know more about our clients and their dreams through questions and active listening.
- Empathy: One of the greatest examples of empathy in our industry is displayed when we deliver a death claim. One of our advisors takes the extra chair out of the office prior to meeting with a recently widowed client. Understanding how a client feels and showing that you care can separate you from the rest of the competition.
- Appreciation: This doesn’t have to be elaborate or over the top. In fact, I suggest that the simplest gestures that are meaningful are the most memorable. In today’s electronic world, a hand-written note goes a long way. Make the gesture personal and unique to that individual. You want to make a memory not just say “thank you.”
If you can incorporate these five activities into your daily routine, you make yourself more referable than ever before. Your competition will become irrelevant because you have delivered more value to your clients and centers of influence.
Think about how you can provide value next year. When you give value, referrals and business will likely follow. Make plans to institute the elements of value into your practice.
Face it. These days, your phone changes faster than you do. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. If you’re standing still, you might as well be walking backward.
Special guest Scott Fergusson joins us to talk all things innovation and how you can easily upgrade your business. Not just to keep up with the industry, but to get ahead of your competition.
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About the Author
Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now at www.freethrowsforpros.com.