Building Your Referral Engine As An Advisor

Building Your Referral Engine As An Advisor

You may tout yourself as a referral-only advisor, or even a referral-based firm, but are you really growing that way? This is often the path of least resistance when you expect your clients to drive growth for you. Most firms lack a systematic process for generating referrals and have no tracking system in place – and most notably, lack proactive outreach. They rely solely on referrals and other marketing strategies (and a comprehensive plan) lay by the wayside. Unfortunately in this business, you’re either growing or you’re dying – and if you’re not actively growing, you’re slowly succumbing to complacency.

Where To Start

So, where can you start? Analyze your brand, and what you’re presenting to the world. Do you have a cookie-cutter website, with the same content and format as every other firm? Are you putting out the same emails, social media, and articles as your competitors? When you’re auditing your website and content, ask yourself these questions:

  • If you were a prospective client, would this content or website prompt you to make a call?
  • Does this website truly reflect who you are, or is it just regurgitating someone else’s lip service?
  • Is this a reflection of growth, or just the status quo?

If you don’t love the answers to these questions, your brand may not be as defined as it should be. Many advisors let the market brand them, and they also don’t have the expertise in branding. We tell our clients to let the person with experience in finance handle their finances, yet we don’t allow the professionals with marketing and branding experience to handle our marketing and branding. While it’s an additional cost, it’s worth investing in your business.

Building Your Engine

While it’s great to get referrals, you can’t count on them as your only source of growth. You need to plan and budget for growth – and many advisors spend less than 2% of their gross revenue on marketing and business development. You need a strategic and targeted plan with goals and a budget.

Not only that, but you need to track and measure to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your plan. Track your cost per client, the number of attendees at events, and the ROI for each campaign or event that you host. Don’t forget to account for the fact in your ROI that the longer you keep that client, the better your return over time since revenue continues to come in.

Bottom line – you need a framework for referrals that is measurable and trackable so you can continue to grow. It’s a great idea to start today!

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