March 31, 2021 Comments Closed

Referrals: Stop Waiting and Start Asking

Posted by:CLIFTON WARREN onMarch 31, 2021

Referrals are the fastest way to grow. There is no other marketing activity that is more effective than a pro- active referral process. Sadly though, many professionals miss this opportunity because they naively assume that their best clients will naturally refer them.

You will never have as many referrals from your loyal clients as you would wish for, simply by relying on unsolicited referrals.

Average professionals mistakenly make the assumption that prospective clients are already being taken care of. Top professionals, on the other hand, assume that prospective top clients are not being taken care of and that it’s their mission to make a positive difference.

80% of your new business should come from referrals from your best clients. You can achieve this figure by adopting a consistent referral process, by being organised and disciplined and, of course, by delivering great service.

Help your clients to help you

Clients provide referrals for two reasons: first, as an act of reciprocity for the good work you do; second, because you remind them periodically.

Your clients are willing to provide you with referrals. You are not, always on the top of their mind. That’s why you must help them to help you.

When your clients think of you, they will most likely think in terms of the technical stuff you do for them, such as handling claims and managing investments. They have no idea about the growth component of your business, the types of clients you’re looking for, or even whether you accept new clients.

Develop a consistent referral process

To obtain referrals you must earn the right to ask for them. The first step is to have a process that puts you in frequent contact with your clients right throughout the year.

This is what I recommend:

Create a list of your top clients, by revenue. I often refer to these as your Category A and B clients; they generate up to 80% of your revenues.

Schedule a referral conversation, in person, at least once a year, with each of your top clients.

Get the timing right. The ideal time to have this conversation is during your client review or the delivery of a service. It’s a perfect opportunity to remind your loyal clients without inundating them.

Put referrals formally on the agenda for discussion. In this way, the client can see, in advance, that subject of referrals will be raised. It also reminds you to cover the topic.

Educate your clients. Share with them the kinds of people you would like to add to your client list. The more specific you are about your ideal clients, the more likely you will get referrals.

The referral conversation

Mr/Ms Client, I feel good about the work I have done for you, especially during these challenging times. You might be aware of other individuals who might be interested in working with me, if they knew about the kind of work I do and the value I provide. I would really like to make an offer to help anyone who you think would benefit from the way we work with our clients.

Specifically, I work best with businesses owners like you – professionals in privately held family businesses, who struggle with the complexity of business insurance risks.

Does anyone in those circumstances come to mind?


I was reviewing my LinkedIn connection and I saw that you are connected to Wile E. Coyote, who has the ideal profile of the type of client I’m looking for.

Would you feel comfortable brainstorming with me on the best way to meet Wile? Or would you feel comfortable providing me an introduction?

If you take a well organised approach, have a consistent process, provide great service and are sufficiently disciplined to have a referral conversation with your clients every year, then I guarantee you will soon have an overflowing sales pipeline filled with your ideal clients.

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