10 Ways Current Clients Can Get You More Clients

by Bryce Sanders, Perceptive Business Solutions, Inc. | June 27, 2024

Do new clients come to you, or do you need to find new clients? In my opinion, it used to be one of the defining characteristics of a “professional” was they did not need to seek out new business. Clients came to them. Accountants, lawyers and physicians fit into this category. I think a turning point came with the arrival of the TV series, “Boston Legal” (2004). When considering an associate for a partnership, they would ask: “How much new business are they bringing into the firm?” Today, finding new business is part of the job description for many fields.

One of the historically effective ways of getting new clients is through referrals. In an ideal world, your client does all the heavy lifting; the phone rings and someone says: “Joe sent me.” How do you get this to happen?

  1. Start with an assumption. You need to believe your best clients want you to succeed. They want to help you grow your business. They might not know how. You need to make it as easy as possible for them.
  2. Tell current clients you are looking to add more. They might think you are “full up.” This sounds basic, but referring business might not be on their radar until you tell them.
  3. Remind them how you helped them. You have done a good job for your client, but they might be so comfortable with you, they do not remember the details. They had an issue or a problem. You addressed it. Who else has a similar problem?
  4. Know family comes first. You have heard the expression, “Selling up and selling down.” Your client likely has influence over other family members concerning advice. Who do they know within the family that could benefit from the kind of advice you have been providing for them?
  5. Add a sense of urgency. The high quality of service you deliver might be because your clientele is not as large as they think. Do some analysis. How many large relationships similar to theirs might you be able to add without straining your service model?
  6. Avoid the word “referrals.” That is an expression within the category of industry jargon. Do they know someone you might be able to help? Is there someone they think you should meet? You might ask: “How well do you know (name)? They are the type of person I may be able to help.”
  7. Be specific in your requests. Imagine you sold men’s suits. One person says: “I’m looking for a suit.” Another person says: “I am looking for a single breasted light grey suit in size 42 long. Which do you think the salesperson will find it easiest to address? If you say: “Do you know someone you think I can help,” their mind might go blank. If you ask: “Who else at your company is retiring in the next six months?” names will come to mind.
  8. Teach them how to ask. Let us start with how not to ask: “My advisor is looking for new clients. He asked if I knew anyone.” You might suggest they say: “I had this (problem). I found a financial advisor who was able to address it. I am happy with the result. You have the same problem. Would you like to meet them? You can see there are benefits for the prospect.
  9. Understand the in-person introduction. When someone is given your name, you don’t know if they will call or not. If you can arrange to meet with your client and their friend over coffee, you have the opportunity for a low-key introduction. This is why the client/prospect dinner strategy has been effective.
  10. Avoid awkward moments. The wrong recommendations can put them off ever trying to send a referral again. You want something like: “You mentioned you had a problem. I have an advisor I like and trust. He has helped other people with a similar problem. He might be able to help you too. Would you like to meet him?

Your clients should want to see you succeed. They can act as your ambassadors if they know what to look for and how to bring your name into the conversation. 

Bryce  Sanders

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is the president of Perceptive Business Solutions, Inc. and provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry.

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