Make the most of referral marketing


WARNING: Advisers must not participate in referral arrangements that are prohibited by the conflicted remuneration regime in Part 7.7A of the Corporations Act 2001. Referral arrangements may also need to be disclosed by financial advisers. You should consider ASIC Regulatory Guides 246 and 175 and obtain your own legal advice before entering into a referral arrangement.

Grow your business by working together with your clients and partners.

In business – just like in life – things are always easier when you have someone helping you. The same is true of marketing, which is why it’s always worth building strong referral relationships to help spread the word about your business.

Referral marketing is when your clients recommend your practice to their friends and family, or when industry partners, such as other businesses, promote your services to their clients. It is a cost-effective marketing strategy with many proven benefits – from giving your practice credibility to increasing brand awareness and reputation.

So if you’re not yet harnessing the power of referrals, or if you want to improve your strategy, here are some ways you can use the help of others to market your business.

Client referrals

While most satisfied clients would be happy to help out with referrals, they won’t necessarily think of it on their own. That’s why you need to be proactive about asking for their support – even if it feels a little daunting at first.

Once you get into the habit of starting the referral conversation with clients, it will soon become routine. Just remember, you want to make it as simple as possible for clients to refer others to your business. If it feels too much like hard work, they’re less likely to follow through.

You can ask your clients to:

  • Give word-of-mouth recommendations. Let clients know that you are available to assist their family members or friends, and describe how your services could help them.
  • Make introductions. Invite clients to bring family members such as a parent or adult child with them to their next meeting, or ask them to connect you via email or LinkedIn. You could even provide an email template they can send to loved ones who could use your help.
  • Endorse your business. Ask clients to provide written or video testimonials for your website, or give positive Google reviews or LinkedIn endorsements which will enhance your reputation.
  • Nominate you for awards. Financial advisers have many opportunities to be recognised within the community or industry – your clients can make the nomination or provide supporting testimonials.
  • Share your social media posts. If you’re creating great content, clients will naturally want to share it – but it doesn’t hurt to remind them to follow you on Facebook, Twitter or whichever platforms you’re active on.

Referral partners

There are plenty of other businesses who work with the same types of clients as you do. By banding together, you’ll have greater combined strength in engaging clients, building trust and ensuring they are taken care of.

When it comes to creating successful referral partnerships, the important thing is that the relationship is reciprocal: it is not just one business giving clients to another. To make it work, you need to think strategically about what you can offer to your referral partner, as well as what they can offer to you.

But most of all, the basis of any partnership should be the positive outcomes for the clients and a shared focus on how you can collaborate to better serve their needs.

You can ask your referral partners to:

  • Display your marketing material. Provide your referral partner with brochures, flyers and newsletters that they can keep in their office or store and give out to clients.
  • Cross-promote online. Share each other’s online content such as blogs and social media posts. You could also offer to write guest blogs on their websites which link back to your practice.
  • Invite you to networking events. Attend seminars and events where you’ll have the opportunity to network with clients. You can also ask them to introduce you to other business leaders.   
  • Host presentations for their clients. Offer to hold seminars for their staff or clients around relevant financial concepts. Not only will you be providing valuable education, you’ll also meet a new pool of potential clients and position yourself as an industry expert.
  • Sponsor your events. When you hold your own seminars, invite your referral partner to sponsor the event. This will give them a chance to promote their business while supporting yours.

Next: How to use social media to find new clients

The future is online and so are your clients. If you’re not making the most of social media platforms, you’re missing out on potential clients. Get some tips here.

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This publication is current as at 14 January 2019, and has been prepared by BT Financial Group, a division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL 233714 (‘BTFG’), which is part of the Westpac group of companies (Westpac Group). This document has been prepared for the information of financial advisers only and must not be copied, used, reproduced or otherwise distributed or made available to any retail client or third party, or attributed to BTFG or any other company in the Westpac Group.

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