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By STEPHEN KAGAWA
Once you successfully convert a prospect to a client, your next instinct should be to solicit referrals. In my experience, new clients sometimes find it difficult to think of someone who could benefit from my services. I reframe the question and ask clients to recommend people who are like-minded or who I might enjoy working with. In a perfect world, I want my ideal prospects to become my ideal clients. Those clients then become ideal advocates who introduce me to ideal referrals. I want my prospecting pool to both invigorate and sustain me.
Identify Traits for an Ideal Prospect
Identify the traits you look for in an ideal prospect and share these with the client or person you hope will give you a referral. My ideal client is someone who is disciplined and caring, has integrity, believes in planning and sticks to their plan of action. This will lead them to choose a person that they look up to and respect. If you can frame the request for referrals in this manner, it leads to potential prospects with characteristics similar to those of your existing client base.
Initial Conversations With The Referral
The first words of my initial conversation with the prospect carry over to when I ask for a referral. I may say something along the lines of, “I’ve really looked forward to meeting you, Jill. When I last met with your colleague, John, our conversation led to people he knows who are disciplined and whom he admires for their integrity. I asked him whom he respects most, and the first person John mentioned was you.” While true, this complimentary language is also something the prospect wants to hear and appreciates.
A Successful Practice
Imagine your incredibly successful practice. You open your interview with a valued introduction to a potentially perfect referral who wants to plan and is of the highest integrity. You quickly identify the potential of your prospect becoming your client in a matter of minutes, which positions you perfectly to earn trust. This allows you to learn what’s most important to your prospect and then to successfully deliver alternative plans of action for this person who becomes your client. While your new client thanks you for your care, you’re able to gain new referrals for continuing success. Your client is now your advocate, who promotes you and what you do. This is the ultimate value of putting our clients first and creating a practice that always does so.
Stephen Kagawa, FSS, LUTCF, is a 25-year MDRT member with three Court of the Table and 17 Top of the Table qualifications. He is founder and CEO of The Pacific Bridge Companies, a comprehensive wealth management organization of companies in the United States, Japan and Hong Kong. The operation identifies and connects financial services professionals from the different disciplines of the financial planning world to help companies and individuals effectively navigate between Asia and the United States.