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Build your book through virtual referrals

09 February 2021 by National Bank Investments
Advisor meeting a virtual referral

Remember board rooms? Remember client events, prospect suppers, and chance encounters at the corner coffee shop? Remember handshakes? They all seem like distant memories now. Advisors have had to embrace a digital reality to ensure the continuity of their investor relationships as well as create new ones. The latter proves to be a bit more challenging in a digital setting. However, with an astounding 44.4% of high net worth investors claiming to have hired their advisor through the referral of a personal or professional contact1, it is time we hone into the best practices of building your book through virtual referrals.

Where to start

  • Review your value proposition: Make sure your pitch is simple, customized to every client profile, and identify what makes you different from other advisors.
  • Explain how they will benefit from your services: Bring to light your expertise and how it has responded to the needs of similar clients in the past.
  • Request feedback: Create a constant feedback loop on your service pitch and presentation by establish an advisory council or distributing client surveys.

How to create a virtual client experience

  • Personalize your approach: Whether it be via email, a direct message on LinkedIn or a video call, ensure that you recognize important milestones in your professional relationship.
  • Customize your client interactions: Keep track of client or prospect conversations to understand of what type of information they are seeking. Over time, a recurring pattern will emerge, presenting opportunities to share relevant webinar invitations, tailor emails based on interests, or even call prospects to discuss further opportunities.
  • Be active on LinkedIn: Share content on LinkedIn that highlights your value and services. Your publications should aim to break through the clutter of online information already available, providing clarity on relevant topics. Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile!
  • Increase your virtual touchpoints: Touchpoints help accelerate the sales process and optimize outreach. Find the right balance between direct messages, targeted emails, relevant social media posts and personal calls.
  • Instill a sense of trust and confidence: Though it may be more challenging to do this virtually, providing content based on expert opinions, a thought piece written by an industry tycoon, or a case study with proven analytics emphasizes the legitimacy of your practice.

How to ask for referrals or introductions

  • Admit that you came to the meeting prepared: Lead the conversation as much as possible so that your client can simply fill in the blanks with their opinions, leads or thoughts on what you’re attempting with this strategy.
  • Make a list of who they know that you want to reach out to: Are you looking for an in at a corporation in general? Are you seeking a specific department? Is there a specific person that comes to mind?
  • Ensure there is a logical relationship between your ask and your goal: Why do you want to talk to that contact, exactly? Maybe your investor and the prospect have similar business models, or investment objectives, or operate within similar industries. Help them picture how you may be a good fit, now that they think about it. You could even provide them with branded collateral they can share with their network.
  • Explain why you’re reaching out: You’re looking to be introduced to someone your client may know based on the successful professional history you have with them.
  • Provide your clients a safe space in which they can actually decline: Saying “No” could mean many things: maybe they feel uncomfortable, maybe no one comes to mind, maybe now’s not the right time. See if they may be willing to vouch for you in different ways, like writing a testimonial or participating in a case study.
  • Recognize your referrals’ efforts: Whether it be a quick phone call or a simple email, one of the most significant pillars of being in the service industry is to show gratitude.

Who to ask for referrals or introductions

  • Reach out to your top clients: Referrals from your top and long-standing clients could come with glowing recommendations.
  • Create a cross-industry referral network: Establish a virtual network you could serve suitably while also expanding your business. So, reach out to that lawyer on LinkedIn! She could be a valuable contact you can share with clients who need legal advice.
  • Broaden your client base: A client base that spans across multiple industries and disciplines not only broadens your service potential, but also heightens the likelihood of uncovering new partners and its leading experts.
  • Become the top of mind reference point for your clients and your network: A diverse professional network could, with your guidance, almost takes care of itself! Prove that they can trust you with new leads who can benefit from your service, too.

Incorporate virtual referrals into your business plan

Make sure to incorporate virtual referral requests into your business plan. Providing ongoing exceptional service to your existing investors, asking for virtual referrals when the time is right and where there is logical opportunity, and adapting to this new method of building business are necessary to succeed.

Legal notes

1. World Wealth Report 2018, Capgemini.

The information and the data supplied in the present document, including those supplied by third parties, are considered accurate at the time of their printing and were obtained from sources which we considered reliable. We reserve the right to modify them without advance notice. This information and data are supplied as informative content only. No representation or guarantee, explicit or implicit, is made as for the exactness, the quality and the complete character of this information and these data. The opinions expressed are not to be construed as solicitation or offer to buy or sell shares mentioned herein and should not be considered as recommendations.

National Bank Investments is a member of Canada’s Responsible Investment Association and a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.

©National Bank Investments Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without the prior written authorization of National Bank Investments Inc.

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