Why Financial Advisors Need A Written Referral Marketing Plan

Answer: Because you sell your clients a written financial plan don’t you?!?

The same reason you charge for a financial plan for your clients is the same reason you should consider paying for (or, at least do the work yourself) an expert to help you write your own #referralmarketing plan.

You know why: Writing it down increases the chances of the client believing in and implementing the financial plan. It allows you, the advisor, to have a written document to refer back to when opportunities and challenges arise in your client’s lives…and be able to use it to adapt behavior and strategies better in both.

The elements of a written referral marketing plan are similar to a financial plan that is worth paying for:

  1. The final document isn’t as valuable as the conversation and analysis that occurs during the development of it. If your clients are only buying/value the plan…you are selling a commodity and the value of the plan is far less. The same is true with a referral marketing plan. The expertise of the consultant is what makes the plan alive.
  2. There must be an investment required…your client has to have ‘skin in the game’. The cost of the planning process (not the paper) should be sufficient to get the attention of your client…and when we work with financial advisors it has to be priced at a level that you will emotionally and logically engage with a purpose in developing your firm’s referral marketing plan. If you don’t engage in the beginning and throughout the process you and your firm will not believe in and execute upon the plan when it is finished.
  3. You need to evaluate all the data. When you are developing a financial plan for your client don’t you need to look at a wide variety of information to ensure that you are giving the best advice in a way that is actionable by your client. After all, if they don’t ‘work’ the plan that is going to reflect poorly upon you and your client’s retention might suffer. Wouldn’t it make sense that a professionally developed referral marketing plan would be comprehensive and require time to gather data completely, analyze that data and then prepare a preliminary draft for your approval?

Here is how you can get started on your own:

Take Inventory:

  • How many clients do you have? What percentage refer you at least annually? Of those clients, which of them are working and/or own a business? What 10 clients are you absolutely in love with and would love to talk to just about anytime?
  • Where do you currently get business? What percentages from : referrals, social media, community involvement, email campaigns, advertising, cold calling, etc?
  • How is your client database segmented? For example, do you use the popular “A+, A, B, C” client descriptors?
  • How are you externally marketing to your clients right now?
  • What are your COI’s (centers of influence)? These are the professionals that you are most able to, without difficulty, refer your clients to currently. In other words, how much are you giving as opposed to taking?
  • What is the production from COI’s when it comes to referrals given to them vs. referrals received from them? Rank them accordingly.
  • Are your COI’s over saturated in particular industries? In other words, are you most focused on residential COI’s vs. commercial COI’s?

Assess capacity internally and externally:

  • How much time do you have to invest in growing your business? How much $$ will you allocate to getting more and better referrals? You need a budget for this…just like any type of marketing.
  • What staff do you have to assist with this process. This will be a team effort even if you are an “Army of One.” Referral marketing plans need to be written with an expectation of growth. The best referral based financial advisors are working towards having staff that deliver a concierge type level of service to clients and prospects.
  • How physically and emotionally fit are you? Believe it or not, growing any business requires more energy and it has to come from some where. All of our clients have fitness and nutrition programs designed to provide enhanced clarity, decision making and energy levels at the office and at home. You have to be able, physically and emotionally, to grow. This is the easy part. If you aren’t doing anything here is you plan: Walk 1x day for a month for 10 minutes. You will be amazed at the difference.

Pick the most enjoyable start possible:

  • Don’t start like a crazy person. Pick your favorite client to start with. Call them up and tell them how appreciative you are to have them as a client, let them know you were thinking about them and then ask if there is anything you can help them with. If they seem confused, reassure them that you aren’t looking for ways to help yourself…you just care about them and want to see if they need…anything.
  • Focus on giving first! Don’t be a #referralpredator…your plan must be founded upon helping others as the primary driver, or, you will never get close to the profitability and pure joy of a truly #referralbased financial planning business.

That was the ‘bones’ of a good plan, but, if it gets you started that is good enough for me. The magic of a referral marketing plan is that it is the right thing to do for financial advisors. After all, you do financial plans for your clients? Why don’t you get the same help for your business. Start with your favorite client and practice giving.

All the best,


Originally published at: www.valuesbasedmindset.com

Are you ready to grow consistently and profitably? There is a path to growing your financial services business that is simple, fun to execute upon and highly profitable for both individual advisors and teams of advisors: A custom referral marketing plan for you and/or your firm.

We help firms grow through referral marketing consulting that designs powerful systems and provide the coaching and training to make those systems work better and faster. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a chat, ask to speak with a client that is already on the path, or, to just get a few questions answered. We love helping financial services professionals love their job and love their life.

How to reach me:

mike@valuesbasedmindset.com, or, 540.314.5665 (cell)