The best way for financial advisers and planners to generate new enquiries is from recommendations from existing clients.
Because they have the highest conversion rate and the lowest cost of acquisition.
So, it’s not surprising that almost all financial advisers and planners want more recommendations. 95.44% according to The Yardstick Agency’s 2023 Referral & Recommendation Survey.
If you’re reading this blog, you probably do too!
What to do
The first thing you need to do to receive more recommendations is deliver a service that people want to recommend.
From there, develop a comprehensive strategy based on:
And, once you’ve outlined your strategy, you need to implement it at the right time for it to be as effective as possible.
The strategy explained
If you’ve come across The Yardstick Agency before, you’ll know we like to be data driven.
We encourage our clients to use data to understand if they’re delivering a service that people want to recommend and, if they’re not, use the data to provide insight on how to rectify that.
If you ask the right questions on your client surveys, you can find out which of your clients are advocates and active advocates, what barriers there are stopping clients from being active advocates, and how you can improve from their feedback.
What makes a client an “active” advocate, as opposed to just an advocate? It’s those clients who have recommended you in the past 12 months.
After you’ve finished here, you can have a read of this blog for tips on how to create the perfect client survey and how to run it.
Close the loop after the survey is finished by sending the results to your clients.
- The people who completed the survey see the results of the time and effort they invested
- It allows you to explain the things you’ll be changing as a result of the survey and shows your clients that their feedback hasn’t gone unheard
- It shows the clients who didn’t complete the survey that there was a benefit in doing so and, therefore, should raise completion rates next time around.
By doing this, your clients will know that you genuinely care about their views and have their best interests in mind when asking for feedback. This nurtures your relationship.
And it’s not just current clients that you need to look after.
Prospects, including recommendations, who don’t immediately become clients, need to be nurtured until the time is right for them to engage. If you don’t nurture them:
- Your conversion rates will fall
- You’ll be operationally less efficient
- You’re throwing away the time and money you invested in creating the prospect.
Not sure how to nurture prospects? You should:
- Make sure you have an effective enquiry recording system (how can you nurture someone without their details?)
- Send a monthly newsletter to your clients, prospects and professional connections. Not quarterly – we will die on this hill!
- Connect with them on social media and make sure you’re consistently sharing content that adds value.
Once you have built trust and a relationship with your clients, you can ask for reviews and have a conversation about recommendations.
There is a distinct difference here.
85% of clients say their adviser/planner has never asked for a recommendation (Source: VouchedFor).
We get it. Advisers/planners are often nervous about discussing recommendations.
Consequently, they mention it briefly, and the client nods politely but then forgets what’s been said because it was just a passing moment.
Asking for a recommendation makes clients feel obligated to help, being put on the spot to think of anyone they can suggest. It’s easy to see how that could lead to an unsuitable name being plucked from the air, wasting everybody’s time or leaving your clients feeling alienated.
Instead, educate your clients on the types of recommendations you want to receive by setting aside dedicated time for this specific conversation.
- Talk about who you want to work with. Are they local? Retired? Business owners?
- Let them know when they should recommend you and how – do you want them to direct prospects to your website? Do you have a link to a specific form you’d like them to fill out?
This sort of transparency and openness will lead to a better experience for your clients, and more appropriate recommendations for you.
When you initially receive a recommendation, how do you thank the client who introduced you?
Most advisers/planners who took part in our Referral & Recommendation Survey said they either sent an email or gave them a phone call.
Thanking clients for recommendations in a unique way will make you stand out and make your clients feel genuinely appreciated, which could lead to more introductions later down the road.
Here are some memorable ways to thank your clients:
- A personalised thank you card when the recommendation is received. This is the classy option. It stands out more than a call or email and shows your clients that you’ve gone the extra mile (just as they have for you) to say thank you
- Sending a personalised gift or a charitable donation when the recommendation converts into a client, again, is classy and unexpected. The value of the gift is less important than the personalisation
- Run appreciation events to thank your clients for recommending people to you.
These options will make your clients feel that recommending you was worth their while.
Psychological studies have found that repeated exposure to a stimulus, including another person, can lead to an implicit preference for it.
So, in theory, the more contact you can have with prospects, the more they should gravitate towards you over other planners.
This tallies up with research from VouchedFor that implies that there is a positive correlation between the number of touchpoints clients have with their planners and how likely they are to leave a review.
Even more reason to believe us when we say that monthly newsletters are the way forward!
In addition to newsletters, you could run webinars for prospects, current clients and professional connections, demonstrating the value your services provide to people like them.
On the last slide, stick your LinkedIn details on there so they can connect with you, giving them more exposure to your content.
Get in touch with marketing professionals
So there you have it. We said it was simple, not easy!
Seen something in this blog you’d like to implement to get more recommendations but not sure where to start?
Please email email@example.com and we’ll set up an initial call. We’d love to hear from you.
Phil Bray, Founder & Director at The Yardstick Agency
Emily Lang, Marketing & Operations Assistant at The Yardstick Agency