Take Off Your Referral Blinders

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Stop for a second to calculate how many conversations you’ve had with clients over the years as a financial advisor. It adds up fast. Over time, those focused conversations developed your expertise.

The same applies to me.

As a referral coach for financial advisors with 18 years of experience, I have had hundreds of thousands of hours of referral conversations. I have helped my clients work through every referral situation one can imagine.

Still, I continue to ask clients to explain where their new business comes from, especially referral business. The vast majority respond by saying, “clients and COIs.” No doubt that client and COI referrals are very important to a growing practice. But what about all the other components of your referral network beyond clients and COIs?

Don’t succumb to wearing referral blinders.

Referral blinders keep you from seeing money on the table (referral opportunities) all day, every day. They limit the view of your referral network. Referrals from current/past clients and COIs are absolutely wonderful, so long as they’re the right kind of referrals. But take off your referral blinders and consider who else might be able to refer you and consequently deserves your attention.

One additional component to focus on in your referral network are the businesses you’re personally supporting. Take a few minutes to add up how much business you have given to those companies or individuals over time. Ask yourself: Which businesses have you referred business to over time? Which of these businesses are local to you? When is the last time you asked any of them to support your business in return?

Here are a few examples of how those business owners could potentially be considered a referral source for you.

Do you have a pet? If you’re like me, you could say that you personally funded the west wing of your veterinarian’s office over the years. And, if you like this vet, you probably referred her a few clients over the years, too. Have you ever considered asking the vet to support your business as well? It’s not too late to ask!