This just in: CEO Chris Shuba in Financial Planning

Attracting new clients is one of the biggest challenges most advisory firms face. Until you’re able to solidify your reputation in the industry or achieve a certain level of success, it’s often up to you to bring new clients through the door.

For that reason, most advisors rely on referrals from satisfied clients to grow their business. This strategy comes with its own set of benefits and challenges.

For example, referrals tend to come with an accelerated level of trust. They are also likely to be of a similar socioeconomic status as your client who referred them, meaning they’re likely your ideal target market.

On the other hand, when you rely on referrals without an actual referral strategy in place, you’re essentially putting your business’s growth potential in the hands of other people—people who don’t have skin in the game. The very nature of referrals tends to make them sporadic and unpredictable which, again, is not conducive to your firm’s growth strategy. To help you optimize the effectiveness of your client referrals, let’s consider what it takes to develop a successful referral strategy.

First, Don’t Overlook the Small Details of Your Advisor-Client Relationship

This may sound obvious, but make sure you’re delivering a client experience that makes your firm referral-worthy. You need to understand what keeps your clients up at night, how they approach wealth, what their goals are, and where their values lie. Take the extra time necessary to nurture deep, meaningful relationships built on trust, transparency, and integrity.

If your clients don’t feel like you care or lack trust in your abilities, the chances of them referring you to others is slim. But when you take the time to personalize your interactions—send a birthday card, remember their kids’ names, ask about vacation, and otherwise get involved in their lives—those small details compound over time. 

Learn How to Communicate Your Value Proposition

Never assume your clients or prospects are intimately familiar with your value proposition. In fact, if you’re relying on referrals to attract new clients, it’s especially important for you to ensure your clients understand your unique value—since they’re the ones who will be sharing it with others. 

It’s likely you shared your value proposition with your current clients during the initial consultation or onboarding process, but don’t assume they remember it or will revisit old documents to find it. Rather, have a simple, no-pressure conversation at your next check-in that provides a quick refresher. Or, if you send out monthly newsletters, drop some quick info at the bottom of each one as a gentle reminder.

Make Irresistible Invitations

Rather than just waiting for your clients to meet a good referral in the wild and send them your way, create natural opportunities for referrals to be invited to your firm. Host fun client appreciation events and encourage them to bring friends, offer an educational seminar or luncheon on a popular topic like retirement, create shareable videos and other resources, or use your imagination to come up with another event.

Whatever you decide to do, the purpose is to give your clients a good reason to ask their friends to tag along or otherwise engage with your firm. 

Don’t Forget About Your Circle of Influence

Referrals don’t just come from clients; they can often come from others in your life as well. Your circle of influence is likely wider than you realize. It can include your peers, professional network, and personal friends, as well as other professionals like accountants and estate attorneys.

So don’t neglect to incorporate these potential referral sources in your strategy as well. From grabbing lunch with the accountant down the street to connecting with other professionals at local networking events (or national conferences), there are plenty of opportunities to expand your reach.

Track Your Efforts to Determine What Works

Once you start incorporating new referral strategies into your firm’s operations, the next step is to keep track of your efforts and take note of what works (and what doesn’t). Keep in mind that these things will take time—you won’t see a huge difference overnight or even in a month. Not to mention, you’ll need to open yourself up to accepting client feedback and prepare to make adjustments when necessary.

Once you figure out which strategies are working best (say, your retirement planning workshops are a big hit), you’ll need to determine how to amplify their impact. Perhaps this means offering them every month instead of every quarter, making them available to watch online, moving them to a larger space, etc.

Similarly, you can track who’s sending over the most qualified leads. Is it your clients or your centers of influence? With that information, you can focus more on one than the other (though you should still continue nurturing both strategies). 

And no matter what the results are, be sure to thank your clients and network for sending referrals to your firm. A simple thank you card or email will work. Or, you can find a more creative way to do so, as long as you ensure it’s compliant.

Helios Can Help

Your client relationships are built on trust and transparency. With Helios, you’re not just an advisor—you’re the architect of enduring confidence, guiding clients on a journey marked by expertise, transparency, and unwavering commitment to their financial success.

We put you in the driver’s seat by enabling you to offer customized portfolios efficiently at scale, as well as easy access to state-of-the-art investment research and strategies designed to help your clients meet their goals. Plus, your clients can stay up-to-date on the latest market trends and changes with your white-labeled market updates, investment strategy summaries, and other critical communications.

Put it all together, and you’ve got the kind of client experience worth talking about.

Leverage Helios’ customizable turnkey investment solution to stand out as an exceptional financial partner in such a crowded space. The better experience you can deliver your clients, the more excited they’ll be to refer others your way.

To learn more about how Helios’ solutions help you differentiate and drive firm growth, click here.