How to Turn Referrals into Appointments
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“Hi, my name is Kerry Johnson. I am a financial advisor. Tom Jones gave me your name and thought we could meet. Are you available next Tuesday?”
If you have been trained to generate and contact referrals, you’ve learned to say this.
But it doesn’t work.
You will likely book appointments with those with nothing else to do, but not with the high-net worth sort.
High-net worth prospective clients don’t have the time to meet with an advisor based only on an introduction from someone they know. You have to give them a reason to meet. The referral is only an entry, not a reason to book an appointment.
Here are five steps and a script that work nearly every time.
1. Introduce yourself, company, referral source and engage
The referred lead doesn’t know who you are. Ideally, you asked the referral source to send a note introducing you. They agreed. But 99% of the time, they didn’t. Rarely will a referred lead say, “Wow, I have been expecting your call.” Be prepared to introduce yourself. Then get them to talk about your mutual friend/client in the first seven seconds.
“Hi Mr. Jones, my name is Kerry Johnson. I am a financial advisor with Johnson financial. We have a mutual friend, Tom Smith. You know Tom, don’t you?”
2. Add a personal touch
If you have read other articles I have written, you know to ask every referral source about the referred lead they gave you. If you know something special about the lead, you will buy at least five minutes on the phone. Ask your referral source client. “How well do you know them? Can you tell me something special about them?”
When a mortgage broker called, referred by my lawyer 20 years ago, he said, “Alan tells me you were on the pro tennis tour and played Jimmy Connors. Is that true?” After 10 minutes talking tennis, I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t been distracted by texts or emails once. He kept my attention the whole time. Here is a sample script. “Tom told me you have a phenomenal daughter who plays soccer. I think he said her name is Casey and she was good enough to play in her high school traveling soccer team. You must be a proud dad.” There is absolutely no way you will get blown off the phone if you know that much about them personally. You will buy enough time on the phone to probe for opportunities.
3. Use your elevator pitch
Now that you have labeled yourself and gained rapport, you have to give the referred lead a reason to talk further and book an appointment.
“Has Tom mentioned anything about me?” The response is usually no. “Can I do a quick elevator speech?”
The elevator speech steps are:
- Give them three succinct bullet points you are expert at.
- Tell a one-minute story illustrating those three points.
- For more information on how to do an elevator speech, please call me and I will send you an article on how to do it.
4. Offer a take-away
Most advisors pitch an appointment and expect the referred lead to jump at the opportunity. Instead, why not make them want to earn an appointment with you?
Here is a way to do the take-away after you tell the elevator speech story.
“I’m not sure any of this will benefit you. But I would love to find out more about you first.” The referred lead is automatically trying to make you a commodity they can replace with any other advisor they know. But when you ask to find out more in order to provide a benefit, they will be eager to answer your questions.
5. Bridge by asking questions
Bridging is the anti-sell. It is an elegant needs-based selling approach that will dramatically increase your appointment generation ratio. The steps are:
- Introductory sentence
- Search for three needs
- Recap their needs using their words
- Trial close their needs and gain commitment
- Book an appointment
Here is a possible script:
I am curious. Are you working with a financial advisor right now? No? What are you biggest goals? Retirement? Protecting yourself and your family? College funding? Got it. If I heard you correctly, you said that you are nervous about market volatility, would like to retire at 63, and want to have enough income to volunteer at your church, did I get that right?
If we could talk more about how to mitigate volatility, help you retire at 63 and get enough retirement income to volunteer at your church, would that be helpful?
Super, how about we get together next Tuesday at 10:30am? Does that work in your schedule?
To find out more about bridging, please call and I will send an article with more detail on how to do it.
If you use the referred lead steps you were taught 20 years ago. You will book about 30% of the referrals you get. But if you use the steps above, you will book 70-85% of those with whom you want to meet. Referrals are 25% more likely to do business and give you 35% more of their assets that any other client-generation technique.
But first, you have to book the appointment.
Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D. is a best-selling author and frequent speaker at financial planning and insurance conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching (his one on one coaching program) promises to increase your business by 80% in 8 weeks. Click here and take a free evaluation test. Or call 714-368-3650 for more information.