QUESTION... As part of my plan to get quality referrals to high-net-worth prospects, you suggested last month that I provide referral sources with a Referral Guide. How do I create that?
ANSWER... Developing a process for getting high-net-worth referrals includes creating a Referral Guide. An expert in this area is Frank Maselli, author of the best-selling book, "Referrals: The Professional Way."
Frank describes the purpose of the Referral Guide is to upgrade or elevate the process of asking for referrals. It demonstrates that referrals are so important to you that you actually took the time to prepare an entire three-ring binder on the subject. The words "Referral Guide" should be on the front cover.
The guide becomes a tool clients can use to tell your story. Or better yet, they can actually hand it to their friends and say, "You should take a look at this—these guys are amazing!"
The best way to use your guide is in a face-to-face meeting with a top client over dinner or lunch, when you can have some uninterrupted time. Then, you’re going to walk them through it item by item at a reasonable pace.
What will the client do with the guide?
Three possibilities: First, they may refer back to it periodically when thinking about referring you to someone. Second, they may actually give it to someone they want to refer to you. In this way, the guide actually has two audiences, so you need to create it with that in mind, but your primary target is the existing client.
What’s more likely, however, is that the client will stick the guide on a shelf and never look at it after that initial meeting. That’s OK. It will still have done its job.
The binder’s contents should be from six to 10 items at most so you can effectively walk the client through it in a single sitting. It should be professionally crafted. Make fresh copies, and use color. Personalize everything that speaks to the client. Remember, you’re only going to be making 10 or 15 of these guides for your best clients so spend the time and effort to do them right.
Items to be used in the binder—each as a separate tab—include:
1. Introductory letter to the client
2. Sample newsletters
3. Articles you’ve written
4. Articles written about you
5. List of services
6. Calendar of events
7. Team biography or marketing brochure
8. Introduction letter to the referral from you
9. The ideal client profile
10. "Center of Influence" ideal client profile, so you can refer clients to them
11. Supply of your business cards