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Referrals are the best leads you can get. They already trust you, know what you do and are aware they need help with their finances.

But it’s not easy to get others to trust you enough to send their friends to you. Harassing people to get referrals might lose more clients than it wins. But hoping for referrals to show up in your email inbox doesn’t work. The good news is: You can get more referrals without begging people for them..

In this episode, you’ll find out the best way to get referrals and turn them into clients. Want to stop relying on luck and get referrals on demand? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • The 3 types of trust you need to build with your prospects (ignore this and your prospects might ghost you). (2:06)
  • Why scripts, tactics and templates don’t get more clients, even if they work for other people. (3:57)
  • Scientific proof that begging for referrals doesn’t generate leads (and the counter-intuitive way to get referrals without harassing anyone). (5:25)
  • How to get referrals by turning yourself into a status symbol your clients can’t live without. (8:55)
  • Why having an email list makes it easier for clients to refer you to their friends (even if none of your clients find you through email). (13:52)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today.

Go to the https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Newsletter and pick up your free 90 minute download called „5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors“ when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Read Full Transcript

You're listening to Financial Adviser Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]

James: Financial advisors, this is going to be an extremely valuable episode for you because I'm going to talk about, ‘How you can get more referrals?’ And you may be surprised that a lot of this stuff is easier than you think. Let's go back to the study I talked about last week, which is the Vanguard study it's trust and financial advice. And I originally shared that study with my email list and people were shocked to find out that most clients don't care about qualifications, or at least not much as, not as much as the financial advisors think they do. And I know it's difficult for advisors to accept because they're victims of confirmation bias, which we talked about in the last episode and the victims of the sunk cost fallacy. They spend so much time and effort getting these qualifications and experience that they give them more weight than they deserve. It's kind of like a bad relationship. [01:22.8]

Jonathan: Hmm.

James: Jonathan, you spend all this money on this girl. You spend invest all this time. You're like, Oh, I should stay with her. That's kind of what it is. You're like, Oh, I invested so much time into certification. So much energy, so much potentially money, like it's kind work, right? This is, this has gotta be the woman in my dreams. I spent thousands of dollars on her. Of course, she's the one I want to be with. Hmm.

Jonathan: Lovely.

James: Doesn't always work that way people. Now, according to that study in Vanguard center for investor research, there are three types of Trust, financial advisors should cultivate within their businesses. If you miss any of these three, you going to be fighting an uphill battle. They are number one is Functional Trust. This is about trusting your competency. In other words, do you have the skills necessary to do what you say you can do? When I say the qualifications don't matter as much as you think they do. I mean the qualifications above and beyond the threshold that prospective clients have in their minds. Think about being strong enough to lift a heavy package. You can be a lot stronger. You could be a powerlifter who can deadlift 700 pounds, but it doesn't matter because all you need is a minimum level of strength necessary to lift that package. Anything more than that is nice to have, but it's not necessary. [02:44.2]

Number two, you've got Ethical Trust. This is about you well being ethical. I mean, do you have any conflicts of interest? Are you operating in the best interest of your clients? That sort of thing. Then number three is Emotional Trust. This is the intangible part of being a financial advisor and it's the part that you should focus on more than anything else. And I'm talking about trust first, because if you don't have trust you won't, we get referrals. So, I don't care who tells you they can help you get more referrals. If they don't start off by addressing trust, they probably don't know what they're talking about. That's like a dead giveaway. If they don't start off, like here's how you build trust, they probably, probably just talking out of their booty hole. And I know several of the big, yes, referral marketing experts in the industry. Like I know these people, these are the people who really know the game inside now and every single one of these people starts from a basis of trust. Without that you've got nothing. [03:40.9]

I've had bill Gates on the show. Bill Cates is like the referral guy. He is like one of the best in the world, probably the best in the world at helping financial advisors get more referrals. He was literally on this show and he starts with, he starts with trust in his books and he knows what he's done talking about. And everyone else is like, use this script and use this tactic and say, this thing, its like, yes, you can use those later, I guess, but start with Trust. And Emotional Trust, that's the Mack daddy of the three, because it's about generating good feelings with your clients. And you know, you've got it when people describe you as their advocate. When they say you provide a sense of financial relief, like, Oh, I've got, I've got that covered cause my person helped me with us. Or when they talk about how you're there when they need you. And that's when people give referrals and yes, this should be common sense. Nobody is going to refer people to you if you don't make them feel good because they won't want to subject their friends and family members to that same bad feeling. [04:45.2]

And I want to pause there and really let that sink in with you because that's like gold. Nobody's going to refer people to you, if you don't make them feel good because they won't want to subject their friends and family members to that same bad feelings. So that's the foundation. You must start with Emotional Trust. Now let me hit you with some facts. According to her studies, the Economics of Loyalty and The Anatomy of The Referral, Julie Littlechild who was also on this show. Isn't that interesting that I'm bringing you the actual experts who actually know what they're talking about. So, Julie found that receiving referrals from clients has little statistical relationship to how or how often clients are asked. Let me you repeat that as well, because it's based on real empirical verifiable information. There is almost no relationship whatsoever between how or how often clients are asked for referrals, referrals that you receive. [05:49.3]

That means we can get rid of these two ideas that lead financial advisors astray. The first idea is that there's some magical script or technique that you can use to get more referrals. It's all ludicrous. There's no one thing that you can do that will somehow turn on the referral faucet. There are however, a few things that you could do to make referrals easier, which we're going to discuss later in the show. The second idea based on real actual, empirical evidence, real research, not just people like, Oh, I know how to get more referrals. It's the idea that asking more frequently will lead to more referrals. There are so many people out there who believe in this whole idea of, ‘ask early and ask often.’ It is goofy and when you get into the weeds of this stuff, you discover it can be harmful to your relationships, which means it can be counterproductive. [06:40.7]

So, get those two ideas out of your head. There is no relationship whatsoever between the referrals you received and those two things. And like I said, Julie Littlechild was on the show, if you want to listen to that, just go back and find the Julie Littlechild, one in the title, listen to it. And honestly her research has influenced me in a major way, you have no idea. Because of me instead of just guessing or spouting out theories, she does her research too. She gets the facts. When she says something, she gives you the proof to back it up. And as we're speaking of referrals, if anybody wants to start a podcast, go to ThePodcastFactory.com. I just gave producer Jonathan I just gave you a referral. [07:20.7]

Jonathan: Thank you.

James: You didn't ask me for that, cause I feel good recording this right now. You haven't screwed anything up.

Jonathan: Yet.

James: Yeah, forever. Forever. I don't think I; I mean aside from I think we had a technical problem, cause my power went out one time and that's pretty much it. So, you have your, you have the Functional Trust with me. You have the Emotional Trust, like you actually care or at least you've pretend really well. I don't know. I'm not quite sure which one it is. I've been reading those sociopath books and I'm like, Hmm… those books got me paranoid, bro.

Jonathan: Yeah. That and the psychopath books are awesome, man.

James: And I'm like, Hmm, wait a minute. I was like, thank God that guy down the street. What his story? That's kind of what I'm doing right now.

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: I need to stop reading those, but I'm going to, I'm going to plug that book. I think the book is The Sociopath's Guide to Getting Ahead or something like that. I read that and I'm like, Hmm, there's a lot of people fall into those behaviors. [08:21.8]

Hey, financial advisors – if you’d like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James’ monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, The James Pollard Inner Circle.
When you join today, you’ll get more than one thousand dollars’ worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren’t available anywhere else.

Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [08:44.8]

James: Next, back to referrals. There's an influential book in the study of referral marketing called The New Art and Science of Referral Marketing. That's the name of the it, that book found that people make referrals to elevate their standing with their peers. That means people aren't giving referrals for you. At least not, that's not their primary motivation. Can some referrals come as a result of like just quite frankly, wanting to reciprocate for a job well done? Absolutely. And studies back that up, it does happen. But the way to tilt the odds in your favor is to work with the primary desire that people have. And that primary desire is to do a good job for friends and family members. And that brings me to an important point. And here it is, this means by definition, I know a lot of financial advisors want to believe this isn't true, but here it is true and here it is. [09:40.5]

By definition, you cannot be the catalyst for referrals. They must happen naturally and organically. So, when two friends are talking to each other about taxes or whatever, a lot of these conversations are going to happen soon because Tax Day is going to come up soon. Then one friend sees the opportunity to help another friend. The referral is going to happen. You will not be there. You will not be able to interject yourself in the conversation and force a referral to happen. It is in your client's hands, but you can make it easier for your clients to refer. And that is the root of my entire referral marketing philosophy. I don't want to ask early and often; I don't want to tell you to do that either. I don't want you to search for some magic script. I don't want you to ask people who do you know, who can use my services? I don't want you to do any of that. [10:31.0]

I want you to facilitate referrals, that's an important word. The word facilitate is defined as make an action or process easy or easier. That's all it is. You're making it easier for people to provide a referral. When they see an opportunity, you want them to be more likely to bring up your name more often than not. Let me explain. When affluent investors begin the process of looking for a financial advisor, they may begin by asking around. They may start by consulting, family and friends. And if they're so inclined, they may even ask her accountant. They may ask her attorney for a recommendation. During this investigation phase, they are bound to get a few suggestions. You're naïve, if you think your name is the only name that will come up. That's another mistake and belief I think financial advisors have. Well, I know they have. I think some financial advisors believe that during the referral process, the person's searching for a financial buyer is going to make a beeline for him or her. This is typically not the case. [11:33.1]

More often than not the person searching for a financial advisor is going to do the research. They're going to evaluate several different choices even before reaching out to anyone. So, Joe, who's looking for a financial advisor, goes to his friend, Bob, his friend, Sally, and his friend, Debra, and gets three different names from them. He is going to go home. He's going to type all three different names in Google and LinkedIn and probably both and he's gonna look at you and you're on the chopping block right there. You may not make the cut. Sadly, you have probably had people give you referrals that you had never even knew about. If your website sucks, if you LinkedIn profile sucks, if you're not getting those up to speed, you losing referrals. Almost every single financial advisor, like as a, an indirect byproduct of making the website better and having better content and really getting serious about marketing they start noticing more referrals is coming in and that's because of this investigation phase. [12:32.2]

So, think about this. What if instead of someone just handing out your name and number that person gave a referral, just say, not just to you, but they said, here's his website. Here's his podcast. Here's his blog. Here's his LinkedIn profile where he's got a bunch of videos and articles that can help you. Hmm. This is a huge shift from trying to lock someone up in a room and convince that person to do business with you because the friend, right commanded you, this is all about positioning. You were letting the process work for you because if you've done the hard work in advance, you can let your resources pull the person toward you. And it turns out that getting a referral this way, AKA facilitating the referral is significantly more effective and for several reasons first it immediately positions you as the authority. It's low risk for both the person giving in the person, receiving the referral. [13:33.5]

One of the reasons people don't give referrals right away, or they're often hesitant, hesitant to give referrals, even when people are asking or talking about financial topics is because they don't want to put their reputation on the line. They don't want to be like, Oh yeah, go talk to Joe. And then you screw it up. And like the reputation, it's just not a good scenario. It's just it's bad for everybody. But if they say Joe actually has this thing on his website, that you can enter your email address. You add, get on his email list, but it's a really helpful guide, well, if things go sour, then the friend can be like, I didn't tell you to contact Joe, I just said, get on his email list. It's a, it's a lot softer. And it's a lot more effective, especially when people are dealing with sensitive topics like money where they don't necessarily want to put their reputations on the line right away. And then finally it predisposes people to do business with you before they ever meet you. [14:24.9]

So, to recap in conclusion, I want you to change the way you think about referral marketing. If you focus on becoming a resource for people and you position yourself in the marketplace in such a way where people can a) make themselves look better by referring to your stuff because they seem knowledgeable. They seem like the, with it that like, Hey, watch this cool video. He's my financial advisor. This is the one I use. You can reduce risk involved in referring because the friends ultimately make their decision to reach out to you on their own. Your materials, do the heavy lifting, not the friends or the person making the referral, I should say, then you will succeed. So, I hope that helps you. And in the next few months, I plan on discussing these concepts in more detail in my inner circle newsletter, which you can find over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching. If you're serious about growing and you want stuff that actually works at it can be the best investment you ever make. So seriously just check it out, even if you don't want to sign up, you're like, Oh, I'm never going to do that. Go over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching and see for yourself withhold judgment until you see how I can help you. And that's a wrap for this week. [15:36.9]

Jonathan: Look at this guy using his own tactics, right on you, right in front of your eyes. What do you have coming up for us next time, James?

James: Next week, I'll be digging into, how affluent people search for financial advisors? I know I talked a little bit about it, where they get the resource and, they Google you and they check out on LinkedIn or whatever, but I'll be sharing some survey results with more real proof about what actually goes on when someone wants to hire a financial advisor.

Jonathan: That sounds like a fun one. Looking forward to it, brother. Alright, another Financial Advisor Marketing is in the can. Thank you for tuning in and we will be back next week as always. [16:14.7]

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