Your existing clients can be a rich source of new clients. As a matter of fact, most financial advisors rely on their existing clients for referrals. It is a far less expensive method to win new business than through marketing and advertising initiatives.
It all comes down to earning the trust of your existing clients who will often be more than happy to recommend their friends, colleagues and family members.
And if referrals see you as a person of integrity who they can trust, they will most likely turn to you for advice. Typically, people trust recommendations from people they know.
Here are five tips for growing your business through existing clients.
If you are hosting an event, like a webinar, seminar or an open house, encourage clients to invite their friends or colleagues. This way, the invitees will get a chance to know who you are and what you do. At the very least, the door will be open to new potential clients. Send them a thank you note for attending, with an open invitation to call you with any questions.
Often advisors are reluctant to openly ask their clients for referrals. A good time to do so is during the client review process. If you find that a client is satisfied with what you do, it might be a good time to ask whether they know of anyone who could use your service. (Additional read: how to ask for referrals)
Over time, you might find that you get close to certain clients. Invite these clients to form “an inner circle,” pretty much like an informal “client advisory board.” Have periodic meetings, lunches or coffee with your inner circle, during which you can get their opinions and share your plans. Use these events to ask for referrals to build your business. Remember, your inner circle trusts you and will be more amenable to referring you.
Most likely, most of your clients have family members who could use your services. You should already have some knowledge of your clients’ families as a result of the discovery process you conducted with them at the beginning of your relationship. As far as possible, try to get to know family members. Acknowledge special occasions in their lives — such as graduations and birthdays — with cards or small gifts. These gestures will give you a chance to make an impression and to let them know who you are and what you do.
People tend to react to incentives. You should consider establishing an incentive program for referrals among your clients, once such program meets the compliance guidelines of your firm and the regulatory authorities. Incentives can be small tokens of appreciation like tickets to a ball game, movie or concert or some cumulative program.