Why Asking for Referrals Doesn’t Work

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I work in a large organization and our senior leadership has lately been all about referrals. It gets brought up in every meeting. Every time we ask for a senior member of the team to join our meetings they want to talk referrals. Every measurement we have includes how many times we asked over the previous week or month.

I’ve always believed that referrals come naturally. If you are doing a good job, and your clients like you they will send others who need you, your way. Pushing referrals is disrespectful to our clients. And being judged and measured on how many times we tried to push clients is not a good way to determine whether we are doing our jobs or not.

Is this now the norm in firms like ours, where there is no longer a focus on the client and delivering amazing service but rather a constant focus on a sales goal?