When you’re trying to grow your business, client referrals can be one of your best resources. You get the benefit of trust between colleagues or friends, and you can avoid the discouraging cold call process. But once you get a referral, it’s your job to wow the potential client and land the sale.
Having a strong referral follow up process is critical to making the most of your leads. Read on to discover what you need to do after you get a referral from a current client.
Time Your Request Well
One of the first keys to a successful referral follow-up is timing your referral well. In order to have a successful follow-up, you want your lead to be as excited about you and your business as possible. This means catching your clients at the happiest stage of their work with you – the honeymoon phase.
Give your new client a few weeks or months to become really confident in the quality of your work. They should be in the peak phase of enjoying how much easier their life has become since signing up for your services. Ask them for a referral then, when they’re most likely to give glowing reviews to their friends and colleagues.
Give Plenty of Information
When requesting referrals, you never want your clients to be guessing about information regarding your company. Likewise, the more informed a referral is, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to make a successful sale. You need to make sure your clients have all the information they could need or want when making a referral.
Create a referral cheat sheet clients can use when referring their friends to you. This should include some basic facts about your company, such as your rates, average amount of money earned for clients, and other selling points. And, of course, don’t forget your contact information and any new account deals you may offer.
Once you have your referral in hand, the most important thing you can do is to move quickly. New prospects want to know that they won’t have to sit around waiting on a response from you. And their attention span won’t last very long, so you need to strike while the iron is hot.
When a new referral comes in, make it a policy to respond to it within one business day. It’s a good idea to set up email templates that provide the basic information a new referral needs. This way you can keep your turnaround times low without placing extra strain on your employees.
Ask for a Personal Introduction
Having a current client refer you is wonderful, but if possible, ask that client for a personal introduction to the person they’re referring. This can help to strengthen their endorsement with the referral, since they’re willing to dedicate time to making sure the two of you meet. The established rapport between the client and the referral can also get your meetings off on the right foot.
Before COVID struck, you might have invited your client and the referral out for lunch or a cup of coffee – something that benefits the client and doesn’t take too much of their time. These days, a Zoom call can be a more appropriate way to kick off discussions. Even an email from the client to the referral and you can provide that foot in the door you need.
Use the Referrer’s Name
If your client isn’t willing to provide a personal introduction, ask them if you can use their name when you reach out to the referral. They may have mentioned your company to the referral before, but that referral may not know that this client gave you their contact information. A call could come off cold if the referral doesn’t know why you’re contacting them.
With your client’s permission, use their name in the first two sentences of your call. Begin by introducing yourself and your company, and then say, “John Smith told me I should give you a call, as he thinks you could benefit from our services. Is this a good time for us to talk about how we can help you?”
Consider Meeting in Person
In business and in life, there are few substitutes for simply showing up in person. When you work over the phone and via email, it’s easy for clients to blow you off or to misunderstand what you’re telling them. It’s much easier for you to engage new leads and gain a better understanding of their needs in person.
Meeting in person right now can be difficult or impossible, but there are some alternatives that can work almost as well. Set up a video conference for your first meeting so you can get to know each other and communicate more naturally. This will allow you to read facial expressions, help your lead to connect a face to your company, and create a personal rapport between you from the start.
Thank the Referrer
Once you’ve made initial contact with your referral, you need to be sure to thank your referrer. Done properly, your existing clients can be some of the biggest revenue generators for your business. You need to make sure they feel appreciated for their efforts on your company’s behalf.
In addition to a thank you email or call, you may want to send them a thank you gift of some sort. You could send them a small gift card, a coupon for future use with your company, or some other small, personalized token of appreciation.
Avoid the Hard Sell
During these initial contacts with your lead, many marketers are tempted to go straight for the hard sell. You know you only have the client’s attention for a limited time, and it can seem tempting to dive right into all the things that make your company special. But this can drive away referrals who aren’t convinced they need your services in the first place.
Instead, make the initial contact about establishing a good rapport with this referral and listening to what they have to say. Your client referred to them for a reason, and until you know and understand that reason, you can’t work effectively with this person. Don’t waste too much time on small talk, but shelve the hard sell until you have them hooked.
Listen to Pain Points
Instead of going for a hard sell during your initial contacts, focus on listening to your referral’s pain points. People don’t care why your company is the best or what you’re doing to excel in your industry. They care about what makes their lives difficult and how you can help make it easier.
Start by asking some open-ended questions about your referral’s financial concerns or goals and their overall financial satisfaction. Practice active listening, and follow leads down to get to the root of your lead’s pain. Then summarize and restate those pain points, confirming with your referral that you’ve understood the root of their problem.
Establish Next Steps
Once you understand your referral’s pain points, then you can start taking steps towards the sale. This process may look a little bit different for every person, but you should always have a definite next step lined up. Leaving your lead wondering is the best way to destroy the confidence they have in you as a financial advisor.
Figure out the next step in the sales process, and never leave a call or email without establishing that expectation. Let the prospect know when you’ll contact them again, and be proactive in pursuing that sales process. When your referrals discover they can rely on you during the sales process, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase from you in the future.
Once you’ve established a relationship with your new lead, it may be tempting to continue to connect with them through your mutual relationship with your original client. You might also want to let your client know how their referral is doing with your process. But this kind of sharing can be inappropriate and may break some of the trust your clients have in you.
Make it a policy to never share anything about your clients with other clients after the initial referral and thank you. If the client wants to tell their friend or colleague about their experience with you, that’s their decision. But neither should ever find out that you’ve discussed their personal affairs with another client, even if they referred them.
Optimize Your Referral Follow Up Process
Referrals can be one of the best ways to grow your business, but you have to be able to follow up on those leads. Make sure your clients have all the information they need to refer somebody, and always thank them for sending new prospects your way. Keep active communication going with your new referral, and always keep business confidential.
If you’d like to discover more ways to optimize your referral follow up process, check out the rest of our site at Stephen Oliver’s Advisor Wealth Mastery. We can help you lead your business off its plateau and break through to the next level. Contact us today and start creating the business you deserve.