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What tips relationships from non-referring to referring is when people know that you genuinely care about them as a human being versus a source of revenue.
Try to average doing something THOUGHTFUL for one person per day in your network who could open bigger and better doors for you.
Find more ways to be helpful beyond your livelihood. Ask more questions to learn about other needs and problems they have in the hopes you know of some way to be helpful.

1b: Ask Useful questions such as: What’s keeping you busy? Do you need any help with that?
Adam, one of my recent clients, found out from a lawyer he was getting to know that his biggest frustration was that he had no reliable childcare so he couldn't take his wife out at the weekends. Adam started making some phone calls and a few days later he sent him the names of three people who could babysit his kids. Not long after that he got a great referral from him.

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Another useful question to ask clients and referral sources is: What else are you focused on at the moment?

It’s the art of casually enquiring about different areas of the other person’s life and paying close attention to when you hit a nerve or see a change of physiology, tone, or mood. It comes back to being genuinely interested and seeing if it leads to a chance for you to be helpful. The most important word is thoughtful. It’s the degree to which you are thoughtful that is going to have the biggest impact.

You probably are having conversations about those topics already, it’s just that most financial advisors don't think to follow through and do anything to help. As you listen, you want to take note of these topics and say to yourself: ‘They have a problem. Could I be helpful?’ I was talking to one of my advisor clients last year about my wife who was burned out from the Pandemic. He said: “Oh, I’ve got two or three clients who used to be doctors and they now much prefer their lifestyles working at their pharmaceutical companies. Let me ask them if they’d be open to chatting to your wife.” And about two weeks later he texted me their contact details.

One touch per day could take you 30 seconds. It puts a little bit of water in the well. It could be a text that says: “What was the highlight of your week? or “have a great weekend.” It doesn't have to be anything deep. “Happy to see your favourite team won last night.” You could send an email with some useful financial planning information. “I was thinking about you the other day and wanted to make sure you saw this. We haven’t talked about it lately. We probably should.”

It's the thoughtfulness of it that's going to make all the difference. You do these small things and for three or four months and you may see absolutely no immediate benefit. But I promise you if you do this week in, week out, month in, month out, then in month five or month eight seemingly out of nowhere, something really cool will happen for you and your business because you're constantly watering the garden and putting water in the well.

1c) Use the BOX – put a box in the top right corner of your notes page, which can serve as a visual reminder to seek a way to be helpful. It is a convenient location to write down your follow up. That way after the meeting, it is easy to spot.

1d) Apply The 5 Love Languages
In terms of thoughtfulness, I’d like to share some practical examples of how some past clients earned the referral by being genuinely interested in the other person. I’m going to share them in in categories used from a bestselling book on relationships called The 5 Love Languages in the hopes it opens up your creativity about how to impact other relationships – which is almost always good for business:
Unexpected gifts:
Steve had his PA call his new client’s admin person to find out what her favourite type of flowers were. He sent over a bouquet as a thanks for becoming a client, which led to several great referrals.
Rick bought his Dallas-based client a t-shirt from the Great Lakes Brewing Company, his hometown brewery (which was 1000 miles away), that led to him becoming his best referral source.
Acts of service:
Suzanne found a job for the 18-year-old son of her clients and turned them into introducers.
Morrie made lentil soup for this lawyer when he had cancer and after he recovered became one of his biggest referral sources.
Unexpected gifts and acts of service are the easiest love languages to put into practice. Two of the other languages are ones you can address too:
Quality time – Blair was a client of mine who offered to become someone’s jogging partner and that time together led to him becoming a prolific referrer.

The other language that many people love is words of affirmation. Take the time to acknowledge the many things someone else has done right: to make them feel good about wise decisions they have made and things that impress you. Everyone loves to be recognised and when you do it well, the good will created can influence others to want to help you too.

And, yes, business owners, salespeople, and professionals responsible for business development will always love getting your referrals. It’s just good to know that there are many ways to make a difference for people that can have the added benefit of making it easier for you to ask for referrals.

Tip 2:
At the end of 2021, John, one of my clients. told me that he got 60% of his new business that year from one person that he’d never asked for referrals from and that he’d only had two virtual meetings with all year. My immediate response was to say: “What would happen if you could see him more often? What does he like to do?” I told John to put together a list of his top 10 or so referral sources and focus far more of his time going deeper with them rather than constantly be trying to meet lots of new people.

That’s tip number 2 for you. Be clear about your top 10-15 best sources of business (and potential business) and make sure those relationships keep growing. You find different ways to keep in touch both professionally and personally if possible.

Every week in 2022, John has looked over his list and contacted on average about 5 or 6 people (not everyone every single week). Some weeks it was just a quick personal text, other weeks it was to arrange a meeting or go to an event. Almost every week he has had referrals from one of them this year. His focus on this has produced remarkable results.

I’m not suggesting this is your only focus – nor is it John’s. I am suggesting you think quality and quantity when it comes to your relationships. There will always be an 80-20 Law where you get many of your best referrals from a smaller number of people.

Tip 3:
A few months before Covid broke out, I spoke at a large UK conference for financial advisors in Birmingham, and one of the other keynote speakers was a man called Bob Veres, who's a 40-year financial services industry guru who has his own thought leadership conference.

One of the points that he made was that the main reason why he felt financial advisors didn't get referrals was because their onboarding process made people feel financially undressed. It was rather like that unpleasant trip to the dentist where you're driving away and thinking: “Oh, that was not fun.” His point was, if people have that feeling because it’s brought up too much financial baggage, mistakes they’ve made around money, things they wish they hadn't done that they're still giving themselves a guilt trip about or even feeling some shame about, that's not an experience they're going to want to recommend to anybody.

What can you do? Make a note to schedule some time to think about how you can make your onboarding process more of a feel good, more aspirational experience, that focuses more on people’s hopes, goals, and dreams rather than the inevitable mistakes many have made around money.

Tip 4:
My final tip around earning the right to ask is when to ask. When's the best time to ask? That's the most common question I get. The only accurate answer is you ask when the feel-good factor in the meeting is highest. That's the time to ask. It’s something you can feel.
How do make that more tangible?
1. Listen for when the client you’re meeting with clearly expresses value or says something that they found really helpful.
Put it on the agenda – that you’d like to help other people.
Tune into what your gut tells you
4. Ask after you get very good feedback

However, the best time to ask is after the meeting. Before we were used to virtual meetings, this ask happened when you were walking out to your car or walking to the lifts, and you were about to part ways. Now we are more used to virtual meetings, the key is to make sure you wrap up with enough time to wind down the meeting before you actually end it, so you can transition to small talk.
When the business meeting is over, the conversation can shift mostly to chit chat and then you loop back to make your ask:
“Oh, and yes, I’m really glad our meeting was so helpful. I’m wondering: earlier on you mentioned your two colleagues at work. Would you be comfortable introducing me to them? I’d love to think I could be helpful to them too…What would be the best way for you to connect us? …that’s brilliant. Thank you. And what’s a reasonable time frame for me to get back to you to see if they’re interested in hearing from me?”

The biggest transformation to earning the referral comes from asking yourself the question:
What type of person do you need to BE so that you can do a better job of earning the right to ask for more and better referrals?
When you become increasingly caring, or interested, or resourceful at finding more ways to bring value, you are going to DO more things that prove to your brain who you’re becoming. And this will put the water in the well, make it easier to ask and easier to get referrals without asking.

To earning more business!
Matt Anderson
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121

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