News article

Here’s why volatile markets shouldn’t stop you talking to clients about referrals

The income of many advice/planning firms has been hit over the past couple of years by market volatility, but there’s another consequence which could reduce your turnover even further.

We’ve heard some advisers/planners say they’re uncomfortable asking clients for referrals and recommendations when investment values are (at best) flat or (at worst) falling.

For example, when preparing for a recent marketing strategy meeting, one adviser said: “We don’t ask for referrals at our regular reviews as we feel uncomfortable doing so while markets aren’t performing strongly.”

Immediately, that felt like one of those pesky limiting beliefs we’re always talking about. So, remembering that anecdotes aren’t evidence, we sought the views of other advisers and planners by running polls on LinkedIn and X (formerly known as Twitter).

We asked: “Do volatile markets mean you’re less likely to talk to existing clients about referrals and recommendations?”

The results showed that the adviser we’re working with is in the minority:

  • On LinkedIn, 92% said that volatile markets do not mean they are less likely to talk to clients about referrals and recommendations.
    This figure dropped significantly to 73.1% on X, but it still means that most advisers/planners remain happy to talk to their clients about referrals and recommendations even when markets are volatile.

And when you think about it, that shouldn’t be a surprise:

  • Market performance is largely beyond your control
  • Investment management is often outsourced
  • Our research shows that investment management (despite what many advisers/planners think) is low down the list of benefits clients get from working with you.

Additionally, as John Surgenor and Alan Smith pointed out on LinkedIn, periods of market volatility can be an excellent time to seek referrals because some advisers, who promote their investment management abilities, tend to “go missing in action” during periods of volatility.

Don’t let volatile markets stop you from collecting social proof

Our polls prove that market volatility doesn’t deter most advisers/planners from discussing referrals with clients. However, we suspect it does prevent many more from running client surveys or asking for online reviews.

Again, that’s another limiting belief.

When it comes to client surveys, waiting for the perfect moment – when the world is full of milk and honey – completely defeats the object of running a survey. And we’ve never seen any negativity when the adviser/planner has solicited the review.

Furthermore, our research shows:

  • Only 13.96% of clients cite investment management as the most important factor in their relationship with their adviser/planner.
  • Many more are worried about being able to retire at their preferred date and live their chosen lifestyle, than are worried about investment management.

Finally, many clients get huge reassurance and confidence from you during times of market volatility, which means it can be the perfect time to run surveys and ask for online reviews.

Don’t let volatile markets hold you back

Market volatility has hit the income of many advice/planning firms. It can also cause operational bottlenecks as some clients need extra handholding.

Please don’t compound those challenges by letting volatility hold you back from discussing referrals and recommendations with your clients or prevent you from building social proof.

If we still haven’t convinced you, I’d be more than happy to have a chat and allay some of your concerns. Drop me an email to or call us on 0115 896 5300.

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