Referral Marketing for Financial Advisors: A Comprehensive Guide


Referrals are the most powerful marketing tool for financial advisors, and for good reason. They accelerate the trust your prospects need to become clients. The challenge? Referrals aren’t usually a predictable channel.

It’s true. Without a referral strategy, you’re relying on your clients and friends to do all the work. With a referral strategy, you help remove the friction and create a referral-rich environment for your client community.

In this article, we’ll share four proven strategies that top advisors are leveraging to generate more referrals and grow their businesses. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to take your business to the next level, read on to learn how to get more referrals and grow your financial advisory business.


1. How You Communicate Your Value Proposition Matters

In a perfect world, doing excellent work for your clients is all that’s needed to drive referrals. That’s not necessarily true. How you communicate your value prop matters, both to clients and prospects.

Specifically, three numbers held our attention that were uncovered in a study by YCharts:

  • More than ⅓ of advisors’ clients surveyed said their advisor rarely or never communicated with them
  • 47% of clients surveyed considered switching their advisor since 2020
  • 87% of clients rated communication as a top factor in their consideration

This is why an intentional communications strategy is essential for advisors. It’s not just about retention. In the same study, 89% of clients said communication was a top factor in providing referrals.

So, take a look at your strategy – are you clearly and consistently communicating your value to your clients in a way that they can easily share?


2. Prioritize Personal Touch with Clients

If step 1 focuses on your company-wide value proposition, step 2 is for your top referring clients. Referrals are a reflection of strong relationships, and strong relationships are built 1-to-1. From graduation gifts to retirement celebrations, personal touches add a sense of exclusivity to your attention.

Whether it is you or someone in your office, it’s helpful to identify and keep track of milestones in clients’ lives. Give them a noteworthy story to tell, and referrals grow warmer.


3. Give Clients Natural Opportunities to Invite Referrals

Referrals, when left to chance, sound more like: “If you meet someone who would benefit from our help, send them our way!” A referral strategy creates value-rich opportunities for your clients to invite others who might need your help. Here are a few examples:

  • Client Appreciation Events
  • Educational Webinars, Workshops, Etc
  • Shareable Resources (eBooks, videos, etc)

Here are a few examples of referral opportunities our advisors have used:

  • Medicare Workshop with a Medicare specialist
  • Q4 Tax Planning Guide with a CPA
  • 1-Pager: “Estate Planning Checklist”
  • Corporate Stock Event Videos

Each of these provides real value to the clients first and is easy for them to share with others in their circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be available.


4. Track Your Referrals – and Double Down

Like any marketing strategy, it’s important to know what’s working so you can focus your attention there. Once you’ve identified the warmest sources, you can begin to strategize how to grow their impact.

Sometimes, key clients are your most eager referral partners, and it’s important to show your appreciation. 

Other times, your best referrers might be a center of influence, such as a CPA or an estate attorney. We’ve seen advisors create strategic partnerships with COIs, like the ones we mentioned above. There may already be a few referrals flowing, but you can take the next step. Create opportunities to share your influence and grow your reach.


Creating Your Referral Strategy

Every advisor wants more referrals, but these are the steps we see the most successful advisors implementing. Leave less to chance and help make referrals a natural progression in your client relationships.

Ultimately, the best referrals come from satisfied clients. So, focus on providing exceptional service and value to your existing clients and build strong relationships with them. Then, your referral strategy will help you harvest the goodwill you’ve earned.

If you need help creating a communication strategy that helps you get started, our advisors receive weekly resources to help keep in touch with their clients. We’re here to help you build an exceptional practice on your own terms – strong independence through strong support.

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