woman with tablet If a clientsends a friend in your direction, there are some things you shouldbe sure to do. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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We all have a referrals fantasy.  Someone walks in,drops their statements on your desk and says: “You’re my newguy.  Where do I sign?”  When clients send alongtheir friends, the sale isn’t done yet, but you have a lot offactors already in your favor.

A referral arrives: What assumptions can I make?

If a client sends a friend in your direction, there are somethings it’s pretty safe to assume.

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1.  They have a need. There’s a problem that needs solving. Few people ask their friendsif they know any good agents or advisors just out of curiosity.

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2.  They want to makechanges.  Something isn’t going well. Maybe theytried managing their money on their own and it isn’t workingout.  Maybe their advisor left and they were reassigned.Maybe they received a windfall and need some advice.

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3.  Referrals areinterested.  You aren’t a name that came upduring an Internet search – you are a person they investedsome time to discover, either by asking a friend who they knew inthe business or by their friend sensing a problem and suggestingyou might be able to help with a solution.  They want totalk 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.

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1.  If it makes sense, they are onboard.  They left their previous job. They have money in their former firm’s 401(k) plan.  Theywant to pull it out and put it somewhere.  Your firmoffers IRA rollovers.  It’s a square peg, squarehole.  Maybe it doesn’t always work smoothly, but theycame to you for specialized advice.

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2.  A string of yes answers is rarely followedby a no.  It’s the logic of trialcloses.  If you talk, talk and talk, you might lose themalong the way.  They zoned out.  But if you keepthem engaged and talking, you have a pretty good idea they arefollowing along.  It doesn’t guarantee the close, but ifyour recommendation suits their needs, that’s a point in yourfavor.

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3.  Open-ended questions gatherdata.  You want to get them talking. People liketalking about themselves.  Closed-end questions are usefulfor trial closes and asking for the order.

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4.  They are most open to answering questionsat that first meeting. Somehow, they feel you need thisinformation, so you can be pretty thorough.  You can evenprobe into the relationship with their (soon to be) former agent oradvisor, so you don’t make the same mistakes.

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5.  Calling them afterwards for moreinformation can be an issue.  If you asked lotsof questions at the first meeting, then call and ask morequestions, they wonder why you didn’t ask them at the firstmeeting.  They wonder if you are disorganized or notfocused.

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6. They expect you to be prepared at everymeeting.  This referral became aclient.  They can access account informationonline.  When you meet for a portfolio review, they expectyou will be working with account information current to at leastthe previous business day.  Working from their previousmonth’s statement implies you aren’t properly prepared.

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When a referral walks through your door, it isn’t automaticbusiness, but the odds are in your favor, especially if you areprepared.

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Bryce Sanders is president of PerceptiveBusiness Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition trainingfor the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be foundon Amazon.

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READ MORE:

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You can’t be everything to everyone — howto define your market

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8 mistakes advisors make when joining aChamber of Commerce

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Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders, president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc., has provided training for the financial services industry on high-net-worth client acquisition since 2001. He trains financial professionals on how to identify prospects within the wealthiest 2%-5% of their market, where to meet and socialize with them, how to talk with wealthy people and develop personal relationships, and how to transform wealthy friends into clients. Bryce spent 14 years with a major financial services firm as a successful financial advisor, two years as a district sales manager and four years as a home office manager. He developed personal relationships within the HNW community through his past involvement as a Trustee of the James A. Michener Art Museum, Board of Associates for the Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Board of Trustees for Stevens Institute of Technology and as a church lector. Bryce has been published in American City Business Journals, Barrons, InsuranceNewsNet, BenefitsPro, The Register, MDRT Round the Table, MDRT Blog, accountingweb.com, Advisorpedia and Horsesmouth.com. In Canada, his articles have appeared in Wealth Professional. He is the author of the book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor.”