The fundamentals of marketing and growing a financial services business, getting in front of the right people, and building trusting relationships have not changed. Professionals who do this on a consistent basis are able to build a thriving business, regardless of the market conditions.
After 9/11 the travel industry went into a downturn, several businesses closed as the travel industry declined, and to survive, agencies tried to control their costs by reducing their marketing and advertising expenses.
Flight Centre, a travel agency, took a different approach: they increased their television and newspaper advertising. Whilst the travel industry suffered a dramatic downturn, Flight Centre did not suffer as much and was able to capitalise from a position of strength once the market rebounded.
This same principle applies to top financial services professionals who consistently market their services in a proactive manner: they continue to grow and thrive regardless of the market cycles and the economy.
Proactive Referral Marketing
If you were to engage in only one form of marketing, a proactive referral marketing program is the approach that you should use.
Obtaining referrals from satisfied, loyal clients is the most efficient form of marketing, and it provides top professionals with a competitive advantage that other professionals can only dream about.
Professionals who fail to regularly ask for referrals are leaving money on the table. Many operate on the belief that if they do good work, their best clients will naturally refer others to them.
Whilst it’s true that loyal clients are willing to help you with referrals, the reality is that it’s not always on the top of their minds. This is why it’s essential to have a proactive referral process that will make it easy for you to help your clients to help you.
A proactive referral process consists of three key parts:
Proactive referral process
1. The right mind-set. Your sales concept and beliefs about your product and services; this in turn supports your value proposition.
2. A process. Engaging your clients and making it easy for them to provide the names of their colleagues, friends and people who could benefit from your services.
3. A referral talk. An easy and comfortable way for you to educate clients and ask them for their assistance.
Building Your Referral Process
Step one– Before meeting your client, research their contacts, network and connections. Imagine if you were able to review your key clients’ contacts and networks. Normally this would not be possible; however, thanks to social media tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn, this information is often readily available and accessible.
LinkedIn is a great tool that enables you to look at other people’s networks and select three to five names of people or organisations that might be a good fit for you and with whom your client is connected.
Step two– Meet with your client and explain how referrals from loyal clients is your preferred method for marketing and growing your business. Explain your ideal client profile and ask if they know of anyone else that could benefit from the types of services and value that you’re providing to them.
Step three– If your client cannot think of anyone (by the way, this is natural), you can say, “I was searching on LinkedIn and noticed that you’re connected to five people that could be an ideal client; can we explore this further to determine the best way to contact them?”
A proactive referral process is a productive and efficient way of keeping you supplied with a steady stream of high quality leads to help you to market and grow your business with zero acquisition cost.
Start leveraging your key clients for new ones and stop leaving money on the table.
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