5 strategies to generate significantly more referrals
Have you ever wanted to generate more sales, build stronger client relationships and capitalise on your centres of influence?
I am always talking to advisers about referrals. It is something I am passionate about and have been researching for a long time.
In this blog, I will outline five key strategies from my online referrals program and ebook. These strategies have the capacity to transform your business and generate significantly more sales.
Strategy 1: The family tree
Intergenerational advice strategies are talked about quite a lot in our industry and with good reason. The concept of the family tree is a way for us to uncover any potential financial risks that may take place within that family unit if something unforeseen occurs. By uncovering these risks, we can position the dire financial consequences of a catastrophe taking place.
It’s important to position this family tree concept during the fact finding process/discovery process. Think about building some questions into your fact find that can help leverage this powerful tool.
“From an estate planning perspective, I need to understand your family tree (use a whiteboard or something to create a visual).
Mr and Mrs Client, tell me about your parents. Are they married? Divorced? Working? Carrying any debt? Are they financially secure?
What about your son and daughter? Are they married? Divorced? Working? Carrying any debt? Are they financially secure? And, if they are old enough, ask about their kids.
Mr and Mrs Client, based on what you have told me, your mum/dad/son/daughter is in need of some financial advice. Would you be willing to introduce me or at least pass on their details so I can make contact myself?"
As soon as you start to paint a picture about the financial consequences, the financial destruction of something unforseen happening within that family unit, you open up the door to some significant referrals.
This strategy can get you several referrals with just that one simple question.
More importantly, if you are not asking your clients about their children, the grandchildren, the parents and siblings – you are doing your clients an injustice. We know that a least 20 per cent of the population suffers from a disability – developmental, physical, cognitive or mental illness. It is our job to uncover the pebble in our client’s shoe. You do not want to find yourself in the position where another financial adviser uncovers that the mother of your client has multiple sclerosis. Your client will soon be questioning why you, as her financial adviser, never asked this and you will run the risk of losing your clients to other advisers who are asking these important and simple questions.
Strategy 2: The beneficiary briefing meeting
This strategy can be used in isolation, or to complement the family tree strategy.
It’s a worrying fact that many of our clients do not understand what it is they have purchased from us.
I am astonished at the number of times I have heard that only through the review process has an adviser uncovered that their client was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma, suffered a heart attack or had a stroke. This is where the beneficiary briefing meeting comes into play.
You sit down with the partner of the life insured and their children if they are old enough, and position yourself as being the conduit, the facilitator, and one of the first people to be called if something unforeseen occurs and explain to them in layman’s terms all of the features and benefits and all of the claimable events. Really start to embed yourself within that family unit and by doing so, you will generate more referrals as a result.
This is an excellent way for you to promote your service and give your client peace of mind that they will be taken care of in an event of a claim.
If you haven’t already engaged the female in the relationship, then the beneficiary briefing is a good place to start. If she isn’t the major financial decision maker right now, one day she will be. Women outlive men and one day she will be responsible for all financial decisions within that family unit at a time in her life when it is critical.
It's also important to engage the children in the family and really start to forge a long-term relationship with them. These children will eventually need their own financial adviser and if we have not built a relationship with the children in a family, we run the risk of not only missing out on potential new clients and their referrals, but also run the risk of losing our clients (their parents) to the financial adviser of those children.
Strategy 3: Creating intergenerational advice opportunities
Here are some questions that can be easily woven into conversations with your clients to generate intergenerational advice opportunities.
Are you the guarantor for any of your children’s loans?
If one of your children or his or her spouse suffered a critical illness, how much would you be willing to part with in order to bail them out?
Are you a nominated guardian or do you have an implied responsibility for the upbringing of your grandchildren or someone else’s children?
Have your children sought or received adequate advice around protecting their human capital? If one of your children fell into financial difficulty yesterday – where would they go for help?
Strategy 4: The diagnostic questionnaire
We know that the best way to get referrals is to actually give referrals. This strategy is a great way to uncovering a need and putting you in the driver's seat when it comes to facilitating referrals to your centres of influence. Better still, imagine arming your centres of influence with the same kinds of questions so that you are generating multiple and simultaneous referrals at the one time. By simply providing these questions to your COI and having them ask the same questions of their clients will ensure referrals come back to you. It’s a fantastic strategy for multiple lead generation and your referral sources will love you!
This is a great strategy for uncovering needs of your clients. The language used to ask the questions is thought provoking and really opens up the door to having a needs-based conversation.
Following are some questions, see just how powerful and thought provoking the language is.
“Considering how much tax you are paying now, how certain are you that you are maximising your entitlements and paying as little tax as permissible?"
“If through some injury or illness you were unable to work for a short period of time, are you quite sure that your current lifestyle could be maintained?"
“If your partner died prematurely, are you certain that your family would be provided for financially?"
“If you were forced to retire early, due to injury or illness, are you sure that any insurance lump sum received would be sufficient to support you and your family into the future?"
“How definite are you that your superannuation and other investments will fund the lifestyle you expect in retirement?"
“If you have investments, are you quite confident that they will achieve your long-term goals?"
“Does your current will and estate planning arrangement fully reflect your vision and need for the distribution of your assets in the most tax-effective way?"
“If you are a business owner, you may be in a job that may be considered a ‘risk occupation’. If legal action was taken against you, are you sure your assets will be protected from creditors?"
“Are you certain that your home loan is the best you could have in terms of interest rates and additional investment opportunities?"
If your client answers anything except that they are absolutely certain, you have a very good reason to be engaging in a robust, needs-based conversation to ensure your client is referred to a specialist who can help them.
Strategy 5 – Questions are the answer
A simple set of questions that will open the door to numerous opportunities and cross referrals.
If you have a mortgage, what percentage of your loan repayments could be met by your dependents if you were not around?
What level of your mortgage would you wish to extinguish in the event that you could no longer work and produce an income?
If you have debt, are you comfortable with the increased liability you and your family have taken on?
Does your existing superannuation or other protection arrangements allow for your mortgage repayments to be met in the event that you are unable to work and produce an income?
Build some of these questions into your conversations with clients and watch your results soar!
Vicki Writer is the founder of The 360 Solution
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