Target four types of clients for more referrals

Advisers find best referral sources have time and large networks

Apr 26, 2016 @ 10:33 am

By Liz Skinner

Asking certain types of clients for referrals can better an adviser's odds of getting that valuable recommendation that leads to new business.

Clients who are retired or near retirement are one of four categories of clients who make the best referral sources, according to Rob Martin, a practice management leader with Symmetry Partners, a turnkey asset management firm that asked advisers which clients are their best advocates.

"They have the focus and the time," Mr. Martin said. "They are phasing out of their careers and are looking for more opportunities to be engaged in their communities."

These individuals also are most likely to attend seminars or appreciation events, and to have retired friends and colleagues who need planning or investment help, he said.

Jeff Levine, a retirement planner with Ed Slott and Co., said the retirement experience itself can inspire some to share the name of their trusted adviser.

"When people retire, it is often a seminal event where they have a lot of decisions to make in short order," he said. "Once someone has gone through that process with someone and seen a plan laid out for them, often times they want to tell other soon-to-be retired people about it ."

(More: Not a born salesperson? Don't worry, prospecting can be taught)

In addition to older individuals, clients who are business owners, philanthropists or involved in many organizations are the other categories of clients who advisers say are most willing to spread the word, Symmetry researchers found.

C-suite executives often have a network of other high-level professionals in their circle. For advisers who offer retirement plan services, these well-connected individuals often have access to those who make plan recommendations as well, Mr. Martin said.

And they have above-average asset levels.

Clients who are generous with charitable giving tend to be very social and have a broad network they often tap to fundraise for their causes, Symmetry found.

(More: 6 secrets to get more referrals from connected professionals)

"Inviting these individuals to client events is a good way to meet their networks, including other prospects who are involved with nonprofits," said Connie Yan, a marketing strategist with Symmetry.

Finally, asking clients who are very involved with lots of organizations — everything from religious or social groups to business associations — tend to be well-connected and willing to exert their social influence.

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