When clients send their friends to you, it doesn’t mean that the sale is a sure thing. Yes, there are a lot of things in your favor, but don’t get caught up in referrals fantasy, thinking that it is a done deal. In his recent BenefitsPRO article Bryce Sanders offers tips to make sure you do convert the referral to a sale.
A referral arrives: What assumptions can I make?
If a client sends a friend in your direction, there are some things it’s pretty safe to assume.
- They have a need.There’s a problem that needs solving. Few people ask their friends if they know any good advisors just out of curiosity.
- They want to make changes.Something isn’t going well, or they wouldn’t be talking to you.
- Referrals are interested. You aren’t a name that came up during an Internet search – you are a person they invested some time to discover, either by asking a friend who they knew in the business or by their friend sensing a problem and suggesting you might be able to help with a solution. They want to talk with you.
Meeting with a referral or any first meeting with a person
Here are a few points that are good to know for first meetings, especially if the person across from you is a referral.
- If it makes sense, they are on board. Remember, they came to you for specialized advice.
- A string of yes answers is rarely followed by a no. It’s the logic of trial closes. If you talk, talk and talk, you might lose them along the way. They zoned out. But if you keep them engaged and talking, you have a pretty good idea they are following along. It doesn’t guarantee the close, but if your recommendation suits their needs, that’s a point in your favor.
- Open-ended questions gather data.You want to get them talking. People like talking about themselves. Closed-end questions are useful for trial closes and asking for the order.
- They are most open to answering questions at that first meeting. Somehow, they feel you need this information, so you can be pretty thorough. You can even probe into the relationship with their (soon to be) former advisor, so you don’t make the same mistakes.
- Calling them afterwards for more information can be an issue.If you asked lots of questions at the first meeting, then call and ask more questions, they wonder why you didn’t ask them at the first meeting. They will wonder if you are disorganized or not focused.
When a referral walks through your door, it isn’t automatic business, but the odds are in your favor, especially if you are prepared.