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Building a Referral Process for Financial Advisors: Top 10 Tips

By Ray Sclafani | March 22, 2013



For financial advisors, referrals can be a surprisingly tricky business. On the one hand, everyone knows that referrals are good and something to strive for. On the other hand, despite this commonly understood fact, we have observed that few financial advisors have created a referrals process that they really like, and is effective in providing a recurring flow of interested, qualified clients.



             Three referral “truths”! 

  • 70+ Percent. ClientWise research reports that successful financial advisors garner more than 70 percent of their new assets and relationships from referrals from existing clients or other advocate sources, e.g. professional advocates or centers-of-influence.
  • The 80:20 Rule.  We have also observed that those advisors who are the best at the referral dynamic are very, very selective at whom they choose to partner with for referrals, i.e. they do not solicit referrals from everyone under the sun.
  • Referral Processes. Our other coaching observation is that the referral-garnering elite builds scalable and repetitive referral processes.


To give you a leg up on building your own referral process, here are ten implementations that will allow you to create a recurring flow of new clients that will drive your business growth:


  1. Referral Appreciation Process is in place to recognize and thank those clients and referral sources that provide new client introductions and referrals.
  2. Referral Tracking Sheets, i.e. do you know who is providing referrals to you now?
  3. Loyal Client Advocate program.
  4. Professional Advocate program.
  5. A Client Relationship Map, i.e. an in-depth study of your existing client list that determines how you first connected with them.
  6. The Total Relationship Value of all clients, i.e. a monetary value that encompasses direct revenue from account fees + indirect revenue from all associated referred clients.
  7. A clear Value Proposition.
  8. New Client On-Boarding Process that is personalized and distinct to you.
  9. Social and Business Network Map of clients, friends, family, and advocates that outlines their professional and social networks and spheres of influence.
  10. A personalized Client Survey that seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business, including specific suggestions for change and improvement.

We trust that this gives you some insights into how you can build a referrals process that is uniquely your own. For additional ideas or a more detailed discussion on any of the points above, please connect with us.


Also, to dial up your client engagement and make your business even more referable, download the complimentary ClientWise Learning Tool below: 


 11 Client Engagement Marketing Ideas


Topics: Client Acquisition Business Development Business Planning

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