Let’s face it, affluent investors do not like their financial advisor asking them for referrals. We have over a decade of research telling us this simple fact; approximately three-quarters of affluent clients don’t appreciate being asked for referrals. Period!
On the other hand, assuming that you’ve established a strong emotional connection with your affluent clients, nearly 8 out of 10 are happy to introduce you to people in their centers-of-influence – if you ask.
It’s important to have this information as a baseline to better understand the delicacy, actually a subtle art form, of what elite advisors are doing, and doing so very successfully, to generate referrals in affluent COIs during this pandemic that’s been forced upon all of us.
First and foremost, the basic requirement is to have established a healthy emotional connection with each of your affluent clients. I recognize this is easier said than done, but most elite advisors have made it a priority to expand their professional relationship to include a personal component, and emotional connection – which has positioned them ideally for being able to generate referrals from their affluent clients during this pandemic.
If you’re at all unsure of the strength of your affluent client relationships, make it a priority to either establish and or strengthen this emotional connection (I’ve written extensively on this subject and you can find numerous articles and research reports on our website: oechsli.com/articles).
Here is where it becomes a delicate dance. You’ve established an emotional connection, which means that most likely your clients are loyal, they’re advocates, essentially they’re ideal clients. Which means that they will be glad to assist you, introduce you to family, friends and colleagues, but still don’t like being asked for referrals. So here’s the million dollar pandemic secret…
Towards the end of a conversation, be it telephone, Zoom, WebEx, Skype, etc., offer your help, your benevolent assistance, guidance – services subtly and sincerely along the lines of…
If you sense that any family members, friends, or colleagues are at all unsettled with all this volatility, I’d be happy to have a chat with them – just to make sure they’re invested properly.
The delivery of your personalized version of the above is critical. You must be conversational, as cadence is key to projecting confidence as well as empathy. I’ve underlined a key word above (unsettled) to bring your attention to words that work, versus words that have a similar meaning but are far less effective.
Words That Work
Words That Are Less Effective
You might think I’m splitting hairs here, so let me explain how words impact both behavior and decision making. How many people do you know that would like being known as a “worrier”? I’d bet, not many. Or, how many people would like to be thought of as “panicking” when things get tough? Again, not many. Therefore if those words are inserted in the place of “unsettled” your affluent client, your advocate who’s happy to introduce you into their centers-of-influence, is less likely to know someone fitting that description.
The economy and the markets are a common topic of discussion amongst the affluent during these volatile and uncertain times. Which means your clients are very likely to know people who are “concerned” or “unsettled” or “disturbed” about what’s happening – which translates into a high probability of your client mentioning this person following your generous offer of assistance. This leads to you engaging in a discussion with your client about this person, at which point your goal is to schedule a video based (Zoom, etc.) introduction. Incidentally, video based introductions have been easier to schedule than the traditional face-to-face introduction. Why? Because everyone is in some form of lockdown – they’re available and have the time.
Not only does this work, it’s extremely effective. Just last week one of the advisors who’s been using this approach told his performance coach, “I’ve brought in over $30 million in the past two months – these have been the best two months for client acquisition in my career.”
And here’s the kicker: seven new affluent clients, all generated from this advisor’s version of the above, and not one came to his office or even met him in person. All of their personal interaction was through using Zoom video interactions.
I’m not implying that video introductions and prospect meetings are going to permanently replace face-to-face introductions and personal meetings. What I am saying is that we’re in unprecedented times and many affluent clients are beginning to have doubts about their financial advisor. And because word-of-mouth-influence is so prevalent amongst the affluent, your clients know when someone in their spheres-of-influence is starting to become dissatisfied with their financial advisor.
Rather than asking for a referral, simply planting the seed offering “your assistance” is all that’s required to generate affluent referrals.
It does require practice, from the language and delivery in conversing with your clients, to being able to establish rapport, present your financial advisory services, and transition a prospect into a client using video as your medium. The advisor with his two best months who I mentioned above, spent hours with his coach role-playing his script and mastering the finer nuances of video meetings.
As a result, he’s now capitalizing on the opportunities of today – you can do the same.