One Way to Increase Referrals From Centers of Influence

Your clients, your children and your spouse know that you’re wonderful. That’s nice, but you’d be wrong to assume that those same warm feelings extend beyond your immediate circle.  There are some individuals who haven’t had the good fortune to experience all that wonderful.

Centers of influence are a good example of those on the outside of the circle. And while it’s easy to believe that doing great work is enough to convince them to refer their best clients, that clearly isn’t the case. The reality is you need to find a way to prove your value.

In a previous post I shared some high level strategies on how to position yourself for increased referrals from this critical group of influencers. Today, I want to go deeper on one key strategy – reinforcing value – and a single tactic called the Value Check-Up.

What is a Value Check-Up for Centers of Influence?

The Value Check-Up is an incredibly simple and powerful tool to reinforce the value you provide, in a way that’s meaningful to your centers of influence. It’s powerful because it directly addresses the perceived risk that their clients will have a bad experience that could negatively impact their own relationships.

More specifically, the Value Check-up is a one-page survey that you send to clients who have been referred by a center of influence. It allows you to gather insights on the initial experience the client has had with your firm and requests permission to share that information back with the individual who made the referral.

The Value Check-Up works because it reinforces your value through the eyes of the only people that matter to your centers of influence – their clients.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to jump to the end of a story, you can scroll down to download a full sample Value Check-Up.

How Does the Value Check-Up Work?

Here is the process:

  1. When a client is referred by a center of influence, create a reminder to send a survey in 60 days.
  2. At the 60-day mark, send a one-page survey (see below) that is personalized for that individual.
  3. Once the feedback is received – and if permission to share the feedback is granted – send a copy of the survey to the center of influence who made the referral.
  4. Use the opportunity to thank the center of influence for the referral and to share the feedback.

With this simple act you have done two things:

  • Engaged a new client by demonstrating that you care enough to ask for feedback.
  • Reinforced your value with the person who made the referral.

What Questions Are Asked on a Value Check-Up?

There are no hard and fast rules as to what questions are asked, but I would recommend the following categories:

  1. Overall satisfaction with the relationship to date
  2. Satisfaction with between 5-7 aspects of the transition or on-boarding process (e.g. was it easy, was the process clearly explained or is the client comfortable with the plan).
  3. Permission to share the results with the person who made the referral.

Download a Sample Value Check-Up

To help you get started, I’m making a complete sample survey available in a word document format. This includes all potential questions and flags where you’ll want to personalize the survey.  To access the survey, click on the link below, enter your email address and you’ll receive immediate access via email.

Click to access the COI survey

It’s easy to assume that others recognize our value and mildly painful to realize they don’t. I hope this one idea gives you a simple but tangible way to reinforce the great work you do.

Thanks for stopping by.

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3 Responses to One Way to Increase Referrals From Centers of Influence

  1. Machen May 31, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    Julie, This is a great, simple, and very effective strategy. It is so easy to systematize into an advisor’s practice and will pay huge dividends.

    There is also an inherent benefit to this in that the advisor will become more conscious and aware of playing their “A” game when it comes to client service, knowing it is part of their practice.

    I love your ideas and how practical and easy to implement they are.

  2. Susan Dawson May 31, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

    How do you believe the age of the clients effects this perspective.
    Are “effective” events more important to those in a certain age range?

    • Julie
      Julie June 1, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Susan – I’m not sure if age affects this particular strategy of gathering feedback from clients. However, you refer to effective events, which I do think may be influenced by age as well as a variety of other factors. I’m a big believer in gathering input from clients that will help you understand what is most meaningful and then choosing 1, 2 or 3 things that seem to have the broadest appeal but are still specific enough to matter. Something like financial literacy may not be as appealing to older clients with adult children. So what is the equivalent of something meaningful for those individuals? It probably changes by client base but I’m gathering some data from investors right now that may shed some light and I’ll share that in future posts.

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