Bringing client referrals into your routine: how to make your own luck with a systematic approach


When it comes to getting things done that are ‘not urgent, but important’, automation and repetition are your secret weapons. Having a simple, effective script can help take the effort out of asking for referrals and sets up your foundation for a referral program that consistently delivers new leads to your business.

How a script enhances your referral process

Client referrals play an important role in supporting a thriving financial advice business, but they often don’t materialise. Putting time into developing a successful referral script can strengthen your whole approach to word-of-mouth marketing. An effective script should include four key elements:

  • Why the client should refer
  • Who the client should refer
  • When the client should refer
  • How a client should refer

By scripting each part of the referral conversation, your team will know exactly what to say and are likely to feel more comfortable about bringing up this topic. If nothing else, developing your own ideas for a referral script will quickly highlight if any of these elements are not yet clearly articulated for your business.

Showing clients how to make a referral

Successful client referral programs rely on you knowing who your ideal client is and why they should choose you over the competition. So there is an element of understanding why a future client can benefit from your financial advice service and communicating this to current clients as part of your referral script.

You can learn more about becoming referral worthy by watching this on-demand webinar from our expert partners.

Where a referral approach can often fall down is in addressing when and how it may be best to make a referral. Putting the idea in their mind may not be enough to help them take action.

Here are two ideas to help you get clear on what this part of your referral script might look like:

1. Give clear examples of when a referral might come up

It might not be obvious to a client how to raise the subject of a financial advice referral with a friend or family member. Sharing examples of situations (or trigger events) where it’s useful to suggest seeing a financial adviser is a key step in supporting the referral process. Your client may not know all the different ways your expertise can apply.

Rather than overwhelm your client with too many examples, focusing in on your client’s own lifestage - or the lifestage of your ideal client - could help you be more specific:

Lifestage Example scenarios
Early life Buying a car or home, getting married, starting a family, a career change
Mid life Family insurance and healthcare, children’s education, buying an investment property, becoming a carer for elderly parents
Pre-retirement Paying down the mortgage, helping children buy property, scaling down work or business, planning for retirement
Retirement Downsizing, children getting married, becoming grandparents, estate planning, aged care

It could also be useful to get into the habit of asking the question, “Do you know anyone else I can help with X?”. Making this key question part of your script may at least get clients thinking about the people they know who are in similar situations.


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2. Take control to ease the pressure on your client

Guiding clients to treat referrals as a team effort, led by you, is perhaps the most important way to strengthen the referral process and secure a good outcome. When clients don’t understand how to make a referral happen, this can really hold them back from introducing the idea in conversation.

Here are three steps to explaining how a client can refer you:

  • Make sure clients know they should not give out your business card during their conversation with friends or family.
  • Instead ask the client to send an email to the person they’re referring to you and copy you in.
  • Reassure clients that you will follow up referral promptly. It’s also good practice to keep your client in the loop to let them know how the referral went.

Securing your capacity to service new business from referrals

Once your referral script has become second nature for you and your team to use in client conversations, you will hopefully notice a steady uptick in new prospects . But without the capacity to deliver a high quality service to new clients, your efforts to grow your business will be wasted.

To make sure you’re being realistic about the amount of new business you’re taking on, remember the rule of 168. This is the number of hours in a week and not all of these can be spent working. Keep this in mind when assessing how much time you actually have to service new leads.

One way to build your capacity without growing your headcount is to get technology to do the work for you, and your clients too. Here are three examples of technologies to explore to enhance your capacity and efficiency:

  • Automate FAQs and help – working with the latest in online chat technology is the ideal way to deliver a fast and automated response to the most common client queries. In 2021, BT launched our 24/7 online virtual assistant Blue, which supports advisers and their clients seeking immediate responses to common questions, step-by-step guides and connecting people to one of our specialised support teams.
  • Leverage digital resources – making the most of popular mobile apps and online services can help streamline tasks like diary management and preparing for meetings, making the client onboarding process faster and easier on both sides.
  • Using technology to manage your clients’ portfolio - Managed accounts (SMA or MDAs) offer many benefits including transparency, control and alignment with individual investment objectives. But perhaps the greatest advantage is the time savings and efficiency managed accounts bring, saving both client and adviser from spending extra time on portfolio rebalancing and the extra paperwork this usually involves.

For a referral approach that will help you proactively foster quality client referrals listen to an on-demand webinar from our experts.


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