Blog Post

Business Strategy

What to do if a referral isn’t right for you

Anne-Graham's avatar
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4 months ago

One of the challenges of being a business owner is managing growth and staying focused on your strategy.

Like many advisers, when I first started, I wanted to help anyone and everyone who crossed my path. No referral was bad, and although I didn’t work with anyone who fogged up a mirror, it came close on occasion.

Since those early days, I’ve taken a much more strategic approach to growth and now focus on the “where to play” clients. These are clients that I like working with, whose situations I can add value to; they listen to my advice and implement some or all of my recommendations.

Importantly, they are willing to pay because they see value in the services I provide. (In case you’re wondering, I focus on those who are seriously planning for retirement or who have already retired.)

If I’m referred someone who isn’t a great fit, here’s what I do:

  1. First and foremost, be respectful to the person I’m speaking with.

  2. Try to understand where they are coming from and the type of advice they are likely to need. If it’s more information focused, I refer them to some terrific online tools and resources.

  3. If it seems they need more of a helping hand, I refer them to an adviser who works in that space or to a "find a planner" resource. For example, a young couple saving for a home is not my ideal client, but they are definitely someone else’s ideal client and can benefit from great advice.

  4. I thank my referrer for thinking of me and explain why the referral was not ideal but that I’ve pointed them in the right direction.

We can’t be all things to everyone, and I’ve realised that I not only owe it to myself and my business to stay focused, but also to those seeking advice. Potential clients deserve to work with advisers who can help them in the most efficient way possible.

So, what are your tips on making sure you work with the right type of client? Do you know who your "where to play" clients are? And what do you do if you find yourself drifting?

Updated 5 months ago
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