News article

5 mistakes stopping advisers and planners from getting more recommendations

We’ve previously written about the dirty dozen, the 12 reasons why financial advisers and planners don’t get more recommendations.

Our approach to marketing puts maximising the recommendation opportunity at the centre of your strategy. After all, why spend money on other tactics that are less effective, more expensive and have a lower conversion rate?

That means we talk to advisers and planners about recommendations almost every day. During these conversations, we’ve noticed that many make the same mistakes, which limit the number of recommendations they receive.

So, in the last in our current series of articles on the topic, read about what these common mistakes are, and how you can avoid them.

1. Being too passive

In the (nearly, how time flies!) five years since we launched The Yardstick Agency we’ve never been asked by an adviser or planner for help generating more recommendations. In fact, we’ve had a few say that recommendations shouldn’t be seen as “marketing”!

In our experience, most advisers/planners take a passive approach to recommendations. That means they probably get a handful each year when the potential is far greater if only they took a more strategic approach.

What’s the old saying? Fail to plan, plan to fail. Yeah, I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true. It’s the advisers/planners who develop and implement a recommendation strategy that maximise the opportunity, not those who sit back and take whatever comes their way.

2. Believing you need to ask for recommendations

The phrase “asking for referrals” is toxic.

We hear it in different contexts:

  • “I don’t like asking clients for referrals.”
  • “My clients don’t want me to ask for referrals.”
  • “Asking for referrals is old school”.

Absolutely, we couldn’t agree more.

We’ll never, ever, suggest that you ask for referrals. You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable, it’s proven to alienate clients, and it reeks of 1990s desperation.

An effective recommendation strategy has nothing to do with asking. So, can we put those three words to bed once and for all, and move on?

3. Not understanding the journey prospects take to your door

We know that many of the people recommended to you never actually get in touch.

One of the reasons is that many advisers/planners don’t understand the journey prospective clients take to their door. That journey usually involves a Google search, perhaps to obtain simple information such as your contact details, or as part of deeper due diligence. Then, they visit your website before deciding whether or not to contact you.

Consequently, you need to be visible and impressive.

Most firms tick the visible box easily enough. However, very few are genuinely impressive:

  • Most firms don’t have client-driven social proof in the form of reviews (our research shows that only 1 in 258 clients has left a Google review), videos and client surveys
  • The quality of most adviser/planner websites is still relatively low (although we’re trying to change that!)
  • Very few develop other trust indicators such as press coverage, awards and accreditations.

Times have changed. In our experience, most people who are recommended to you will search online before getting in touch. That means you need to understand that journey and do everything possible to impress them and maximise the proportion of suspects you turn into prospects.

4. Getting distracted by shiny new things

If you want new clients, where should you start?

  • SEO?
  • Google Adwords?
  • Lead magnet campaigns?
  • Scorecards?
  • Social media?
  • Directories?

If you have existing clients, the answer (in the words immortalised by Montgomery Brewster) is “none of the above.”

Recommendations are a far more effective option. Sure, you might need some or all of these tactics if there’s a gap between your total lead requirement and the number of recommendations you can realistically expect. But, developing a recommendation strategy should be your starting point.

5. The wrong mindset

We often hear advisers/planners say that they don’t want to bother their clients by “asking for referrals”. We’ve already explained why those three words are toxic, but they also demonstrate a negative mindset. Especially when we know that financial planning can change people’s lives.

I remember interviewing a financial planner’s client during lockdown.  At the end of the interview, I asked whether she would be happy to recommend the firm to other people. She answered by saying: “Yes. Absolutely. If they can give my friends the same peace of mind that I’ve had, it’s like a gift I can keep giving.”

I bloody love that!

It’s such a refreshing mindset. Yes, recommending people to you helps build your business. But your client is also doing a great thing for their friends, family and work colleagues.

A two-hour (and £95!) investment to solve these issues

We’re running a webinar to help you maximise the recommendation opportunity.

It’s taking place on Tuesday 14 December from 10 am to 12 noon. By signing up you will learn:

  • Why you should prioritise developing a recommendation strategy before considering any other lead generation strategies
  • How to create the two key assets you need before developing your recommendation strategy
  • More information about each of the dirty dozen, plus practical steps to tackle each of them
  • How to hold better recommendation conversations with your clients
  • The key phrases that encourage clients to recommend you to others (and those that turn them off)
  • The processes you need to build and the bad habits you need to break.

Naturally, there will be plenty of time for your questions.

Click here to learn more, sign up and take your recommendations to the next level in 2022.

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