Friday, December 17, 2010

7 Simple Referral Tips by Bill Cates

Host a Wii Party

One Boot Camp participant told us about very successful client (bring-a-friend) event. She hired a party planner to help her put together a Wii party. She had 6 stations in a private room in a local pub. She said that all her clients had a blast playing Wii tennis, baseball, bowling, etc, without their children making fun of them. This event has already yielded 4 new clients with several more possible.

Help Clients Promote their Business

Another Boot Camp participant told us about an event where she hosted a party at her home for many of her small business clients (and salespeople, etc.). The purpose of this event was to introduce them all to each other to see what alliances or even direct business might be generated. Her clients were invited to bring their promotional literature and promotion products (chachkies). When you give referrals like this, referrals tend to come back to you.

The Power of Scarce Resources

Here is an age-old marketing strategy. How you can apply it to your business? One of the Boot Camp attendees told us about a remarkable phenomenon that happened to her in 2008. When the stock market was tanking, she informed her clients that, for the time being, she could not take on any new clients. She wanted to focus on helping all her current clients get through this tough period. Her phone began ringing off the hook! "I need you to work with my parents!" "My business partner was about to call you." "Can't you take one more?"
Limiting her resources created more demand. How can you apply this to your practice? Are you allowed to put "by referral only" on your business card? Can you tell your clients that you only have X number of slots available this year for new clients? Can you tell them that you need to be very careful how many and what types of clients you choose to serve so that you continue to bring them a high level of service? Brainstorm this with your team and/or some of your colleagues.

Creative Centers of Influence

One advisor at the Boot Camp has tapped into Executive Recruiters as a great source of high-quality referrals. When people are changing jobs, they probably need you! You can meet these folks through your client base and by going to chamber of commerce events and other business events. You can also find them through internet searches, but I always recommend relationship-based methodologies first.

Keep Finding Ways to Bring Value

You've heard me harp on the necessity to always find ways to bring more value to your clients - to become an indispensable resource. A resource that came out of the Boot Camp was the website (this site is f-r- e-e). I'm not endorsing this site, per se. You should check it out before you recommend it. The point is, you can help your clients in all aspects of their financial lives through the work of others. Look for other types of advisors, books, and websites that you can refer to your clients to help them with financial matters you don't handle directly.

Business Friendships Create Loyalty and Referrals

Here are a few websites that will help you work on your business friendships with your clients. allows you to enter all your clients birthdays and then will remind you when it's time to send a card. will do this too, but allows you to send out a real paper card for all sorts of occasions. At you can put in the date of a client's birthday (or their child's birthday) and come up with all sorts of fun and interesting information. For instance, the year I was born bread cost $0.16 a loaf and gas was only $0.27 per gallon. You will have to figure out what year that was.

How do you want your clients to feel about doing business with you?

As you continually work on your client-service model to provide your clients with the best possible service and build the best possible relationships, keep this thought in mind, "How do I want my clients to feel about doing business with me/us?" By you and your team asking this question every step along the way, you will be more creative and more client focused. Then, translate the answers to this question into specific action steps, items on your check lists, etc.






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