By LEANNE BULL
Unsolicited referrals are one of the best signs that you are doing great work for your clients. To receive more of them, think about the message your practice sends. How you present your time investment or how welcoming you are to your clients’ needs can influence the way they see you overall. Look after them and provide them with a positive message about your practice, and they’ll share that message with others.
Value Your Time
If you want your clients to value your time, you need to communicate that your time is valuable. Don’t ask yourself how valuable you think your time is but how well you present that value to your clients.
Consider charging for your first appointment. It may work out better than you expect. I began doing this when potential clients kept scheduling complimentary first appointments three or four days in advance, giving me enough time to secure childcare, only to cancel a day or two later. Of course, I was still stuck with the childcare bill. By instituting a fee for first appointments, I made it clear my time was valuable and ensured a higher attendance rate. Soon after, referrals started coming in from clients who valued my time as much as I did.
Whether or not a fee for a first appointment works for you, it is necessary to demonstrate how seriously you value your own time. For example, my new clients have a set amount of time to send in any necessary paperwork or they are placed at the bottom of my waitlist. By firmly respecting your time, you set an example for your clients and potential clients to follow.
Show You Care
With your valuable time, you should find opportunities your clients have missed. Anyone can Google answers to financial questions these days. Our value lies in showing clients what they don’t know they don’t know. Proactively seek ways to improve clients’ financial standing instead of waiting for them to come to you with questions or ideas. This will demonstrate the credibility your clients want to see before they recommend you to friends and family.
Find a specific service you can offer your clients that they will appreciate. For my practice, this service is budgeting and cash flow management. Even though it is one of the less complex matters that we assist clients with, it is the most valued. For some clients, it’s about helping them live within their means and save to better their future. For others, it’s about simplifying their life. Clients are busy, and any service you can offer that helps streamline their lives will be highly valued and shared with their family and friends.
Host events like client lunches to thank them for entrusting you with their finances. Bring your clients together to showcase they are not the only ones who have had a positive experience with you.
Curate a Positive Atmosphere
Finally, a crucial part of garnering referrals without ever asking for them is for your practice to have a positive, professional and welcoming atmosphere. While your personal conduct is a big part of this, don’t forget the small details. Make sure your collateral materials like letterheads and business cards are clean and professional. Little things like this give clients and potential clients peace of mind in every interaction with your practice.
Sometimes our clients don’t know exactly what to say about their financial advisor or aren’t sure it’s appropriate to bring us up in conversation. If you provide a positive message for them to spread and back that message up with your actions, your clients will recommend you without you ever needing to ask.
Leanne Bull is the Director and Senior Financial Planner at Bull Financial Group. She has over 30 years of financial planning experience and has been an MDRT member and Top of the Table member for four years. Leanne is a winner of two Australian Financial Planning Association Value of Advice Awards and lives in Queensland, Australia.