The Wrong Ways to Ask for Referrals

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,

My firm is in an all-out blitz for client referrals in first quarter. What does that look like, you might ask? Emails, snail mail, conversations and asking every chance we get in every medium. One of my colleagues said, “If the clients are happy with us, they should be happy to help us grow our business.” Really? No, I don’t agree. The clients pay us quite well. We are probably expensive for the work we do. It is excellent work and I’m proud of it. But that’s the quid pro quo– you pay us a fee; we deliver excellence in performance and client service. Why do clients owe us more?

This isn’t to say we don’t need to grow. I’m not averse to having clients tell their friends and family about me; I’m just averse to making it sound like they need to do it because we need them to do it.