Why are personal introductions so effective?
Oechsli’s research revealed that 41% of affluent investors first discovered their financial advisor by being introduced by a friend, family member, or colleague.* When prospects are introduced to you by someone they trust, they’re more likely to grant you a face-to-face meeting.
Personal introductions – The wrong way
Many advisors think of referrals and introductions as one and the same, but to the affluent, they’re quite different. How? The traditional referral request of, “Who do you know who I could help?” is a turnoff for the affluent. Seventy-five percent of affluent clients feel uncomfortable when asked for a referral. Other less personal approaches such as cold calls, walk-ins, and large seminars are even less effective for getting introductions.*
Personal introductions – Laying the groundwork
To get started with personal introductions, start developing both a social and a business relationship with your affluent clients. Seventy-seven percent of clients with both a personal and business relationship with you will introduce you to others. That percentage drops to 57% if you only have a business relationship with them.*
Second, listen carefully and ask questions during conversations with affluent clients. If friends or family members are mentioned, take note―these will be your prospects. You could also ask questions like, “Where have you been playing golf?” Then ask, “Who have you played with lately?”
This is called “sourcing names.” You can also use LinkedIn to source names. We’ll cover this method in a future article.
After sourcing names for introductions, think about how the introduction might take place. The affluent are more likely to introduce you to a specific person (ex.: neighbor Bill), and if you ask to be introduced in a non-threatening venue (a social setting like golf, wine night, etc.). Why? You’ve made it easy for them to help you, without making them uncomfortable.
Use These Methods to Source Names
1. Identify top clients you will see in the next week
2. List questions you could ask to learn the names of affluent prospects
3. Strive to source 3–4 names every week
Asking for introductions
Wait a few weeks to talk with a client about your sourced names―you never want to appear too eager. When asking your client for an introduction, your request should be direct and concise. For example, “Bob, you mentioned that you have drinks after work with a colleague on Fridays. I’d like to meet him. Could I join you next week?” If you don’t drink, you can ask to be introduced by other means; lunches, dinners, sporting events, and other functions work just as well.
Always arrange the personal introduction in a social venue. This makes it more comfortable for your client to simply make the connection, not sell your services. And it’s easier to develop rapport with a prospect when business isn’t the discussion topic.
This type of meet-and-greet will require a bit of brainstorming with your affluent client about how, when, and where this personal introduction will occur. However, when your affluent client agrees to personally introduce you, this will be fairly simple.
*Source: The Oechsli Institute, 2015. Most recent data available.