A Blog for Today’s Top Financial Advisors

You Got a Referral! Now What? – Episode 27


  • Have responses ready when prospective clients say “no” “maybe” or “yes” to meeting with you to discuss their financial situation.
  • Keep the referral source informed of your actions with the person he or she sent your way.
  • Offer a second-opinion service to assess where prospective clients are today financially and where they want to be down the road.

The single best way to get more referrals from your satisfied clients is to stop asking them for those referrals.

Instead of asking, offer those clients something of great value: a second-opinion service.

As I showed you in this video, a second-opinion financial review is a service you offer to the people your clients care about most—such as their family members, friends, partners and colleagues. You help them identify the gap between where they are now financially and where they want to go, and determine whether they are currently well positioned to close that gap and achieve all that is important to them in life.

The second-opinion service offer is fundamentally different from—and superior to—asking for referrals:

  • When you ask for a referral, you are making a request that is all about you and your needs.
  • When you offer a second opinion, you are giving a hugely valuable gift to clients’ family, friends and associates. It’s all about helping the people they care about most.

There are financial advisors in our coaching program who are getting a steady stream of qualified client introductions and are growing by 20 percent or more just by using this one strategy.

Effective follow-up is the key

But making the second-opinion offer is only the first step. To ensure it has the desired impact you seek, you have to take the proper follow-up steps.

Once you have received an introduction, your job is to optimize the chances that the prospective client will meet with you—and that your client will provide more introductions in the future.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Contact each prospective client. Your goal for the initial contact should be to schedule a Discovery Meeting so you can gather the information necessary for you to formulate a second opinion on the prospective client’s finances and then determine whether you would be able to add significant value to his or her financial life.

When making this first contact, tell the prospective client which of your clients asked you to contact him or her, and why. This is important because:

  • Your client wanted this person to know about the sophisticated wealth management process you use to assist clients in reaching their financial goals.
  • Your client thought the person might be able to benefit from the second-opinion service you offer.

The prospective client will respond in one of three ways, each of which requires a different response from you:

1. “No.” The prospective client may initially decline because he or she already has a financial advisor—indeed, most affluent individuals are already working with at least one advisor. If this is the case, express to the person that you’re finding that many people who already work with advisors would like to have a second opinion to make sure they’re on track to achieving their financial goals—especially given the uncertainty in today’s market.

Explicitly tell the person that your firm doesn’t take clients unless you can add substantial value to their financial lives—and that you’ll recommend they continue working with their current advisor if you find that advisor is already doing a great job.

2. “Maybe.” You will seldom get this response, but when you do, we find most often that it is because the prospective client is hesitant about the cost. If so, let the person know there is no cost to get together for the initial Discovery Meeting because its sole purpose is to determine whether you can add substantial value to the person’s financial life. Emphasize that you don’t take on new clients unless you’re sure you can bring significant value and really have a big impact.

3. “Yes.” When the prospective client agrees to meet with you, immediately schedule a date and time for the Discovery Meeting. Explain that you will send the person a follow-up letter outlining the financial information and records you would like him or her to bring in order to make the meeting extremely productive.

Immediately after arranging the Discovery Meeting, send the prospective client a confirmation letter.

2. Close the loop with the client who made the introduction. A client who provides one introduction is likely to provide introductions again—if you take the right steps. Keep the client inclined to make additional introductions by expressing your appreciation and by informing him or her about the outcome of the introduction.

(You do need to protect client confidentiality, of course, so obtain the prospective client’s permission to report back to the client who provided the introduction.)

Assuming that you receive permission, send the client a letter to express your thanks for the introduction and to let him or her know how the first meeting went—whether or not the prospective client decided to work with you. Let the client know:

  • You’re thankful for their introduction.
  • You and the prospective client recently met, and you completed a wealth assessment with that person.
  • The person hired you to implement the wealth plan. (OR: You both agreed that it was not in the person’s best interests to work together, but that you were happy to meet the person and perform the second-opinion service for him or her.)
  • You’d love to know of anyone else who the client thinks would benefit from this service.

The message is clear: Effective follow-through and good communication are the crucial drivers of a successful plan to turn referrals into new business for your firm.



To download a transcript of this episode, click here.

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