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I’ve been coaching, speaking and teaching about referrals for almost 20 years. No matter where my travels have taken me, financial advisors have wanted to know how to get better referrals. Getting more referrals is one thing and getting better referrals is indeed a completely different issue.

Let’s get right to it.

  1. Be specific and clear. This one is first because it is of the utmost importance. You have to know what you want and be able to define it to others. If you don’t know what you want with absolutely clarity, how can you expect other people to find that prospect for you? Don’t be afraid of being too specific. That’s a limiting belief that will keep you from reaching your full potential.
  1. Keep it simple. The minute you complicate things, people will forget what you’re looking for and it will increase the chances for getting referrals that you don’t want. You’ve heard the saying, “less is more.” Apply that here. People have lives filled with more important things than you, so be simple to improve your quality and overall success.
  1. Ask for what you want. It amazes me how many advisors want one thing yet say another. This usually happens because of a lack of confidence, self-worth, or belief. To be referred to clients who have over one million in assets, stop accepting clients that have $300,000. This only gets you frustrated and confuses people trying to refer you who can’t figure out exactly what you want. When people get confused, they will stop referring you.
  1. Teach your clients. Don’t assume that someone knows how to refer you simply because they’re your client. It doesn’t work that way. If you don’t specifically teach your clients how to refer you, you leave it all up to chance that they’ll get it right. Why would you leave your business development efforts up to chance? If you need help in this area, my new DIY Courses might be of interest.
  2. Teach your COIs. Most advisors think that COIs get it because their top three (CPAs, estate attorneys, and insurance) are all “in the business.” Think again. You will see a direct correlation between the quality of the time and energy you spend with your COIs and the quality of your referrals. If you spend time teaching your COIs about the kinds of referrals you’d prefer and sharing stories of your perfect clients, you will influence the quality of referrals you receive. If you’re not getting any referrals from your COIs … well, that’s a separate issue all together.