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10 Keys to Referrals & Introductions without Asking

by Bill Cates

Getting referrals and introductions without asking for them is probably the most fun way to grow your business – especially if you’re getting introduced to the right types of people.

In this blog, I’ll provide you with the 10 keys to getting unsolicited referrals. Some of these keys can be broken down into 3 main categories, Becoming Super Referable, Promoting Introductions, and Nurturing & Celebrating Advocates.

Don’t get me wrong. I still teach advisors how to ask for introductions without pushing or begging. That process works and helps advisors grow their business in just the right direction.

With that said, wouldn’t be nice to create more and more high-quality introductions without asking?

NOTE:  In this short piece, I may appear to use the word referrals and introductions interchangeably. Since it has become increasingly difficult to reach people these days, we want to make sure we get connected – introduced to our new prospect. So, when you are speaking with prospects, clients, and centers of influence, I strongly urge you to use introductions.

10 Keys to Getting Referrals without Asking

Key #1 – Enhance Client Engagement

There is a low correlation between client satisfaction and the giving of referrals and introduction. You want to go beyond client satisfaction and create client engagement. Engaged clients feel good about your value. They like the questions you ask, the things you teach, and your responsive service. They also feel good about you. You have made a personal connection. Throughout the lifetime of your client relationships, you want to keep bringing value and keep enhancing the personal connection.   

For more on Client Engagement, go here:

Key #2 – Share Your Client-Focused Why

One of the fastest ways to facilitate the personal connection is by telling your prospects and clients why you believe in your value – your emotional connection to your value.  Your client-focused why often involves a story. Keeping your stories very short, employ this concept early in your new relationships.

For more on your Client-Focused Why, go here:

Key #3 – Give Referrals / Make Introductions

It’s important that you see yourself as a connector. You are someone who provides value to others by making great introductions and others make introductions for you. When you look for ways to help others through making connections, they will reciprocate for you.

Key #4 – Implement a Client Service Promise

Be disciplined about following your client service model so your clients can see that you have a model and that you are not winging it when it comes to why, how, and when you will be in touch with them. Discussing your client service promise with your prospects – even before you’ve delivered on it – can increase their sense of engagement and stimulate referrals without asking. 

Key #5 – Check for Value

One of the most effective things you can do to create a feeling of engagement with both your value and with you is to conduct Value Discussions with your prospects/clients on a regular basis. Make sure you clean up any minor issues and ensure that they are experiencing your full value.  

To learn more and get good at Value Discussions, go here:   

Key #6 – Promote Introductions

Early on in new relationships and throughout the lifetime of a relationship, you want to let your prospects and clients know that you are never too busy to see if you can be of value to others. One of my favorite ways to promote introductions is with the simple and fun statement, “Don’t Keep Me a Secret!”.

For 7 ways to promote introductions, go here:

Key #7 – Remove the Uncertainty

Prospects and clients often withhold their referrals until they are clear how you will handle them. Let them know that all the work you do with them is completely confidential and that you will create an introduction that feels comfortable to everyone.  

For a sample script on how to communicate this to your clients, go here:

Key #8 – Create WOW Experiences

In addition to implementing your client service promise, look for ways to pleasantly surprise your clients from time to time. If they are going out for an anniversary dinner, arrange to have a bottle of wine waiting at their table. If they are going on a vacation, arrange for a fruit and cheese tray to greet them in their room. When they come in for a review meeting, have a small gift waiting for them that is tailored to one of their interests – like coasters or golf balls with their university logo or a book related to a hobby. 

Meet the King of Wow:

Key #9 – Build Business Friendships

The secret sauce to creating advocates for your business is by developing business friendships with many of your clients. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest way is through engaging with them on a social level – either through small client appreciation events or small celebration events – like taking them to lunch or dinner on their anniversary or birthday.   Advocates will introduce you to help others and to help you.  

For 8 ways to turn clients into advocates, go here:

Key #10 – Create an Ambassador’s Club

Reward your advocates by creating a special status group and rewarding this group with two, three, or four of their own social/fun events each year. Some advisors call this their Ambassadors Club. I’ve known other advisors to call these groups Champions Club, Heroes Program, and Advocates Program.

Stay tuned to my blog for more on how to create advocates and start your own Ambassadors Club.

The Bottom Line

Every business should be getting unsolicited referrals. Unsolicited referrals are a barometer of your referability. So, how referable are you?

Questions?  Comments?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Grow Your Business in This Virtual World

A High-Content Webinar for New Agents & Advisors

Thursday, July 23
1:00pm EDT,   12:00am CDT,   11:00am MDT,   10:00am PDT

FROM:  Bill Cates

  • Communicating your value and what makes you different
  • Becoming referable with your natural market and quickly in new relationships
  • Asking your natural market and clients for referrals
  • Turning referrals into introductions that turn into appointments

FROM:  Gail Goodman

  • How to schedule “phone dates” with your new prospects instead of random dialing
  • Why and how to use a “digital” business card instead of your paper one
  • Understanding how to organize your words when you’re building a script
  • If your mentor is willing to let you call their “less than A” clients, here is the language. If you’re an independent professional and never called your friends and family, here is the language

Turn surviving into thriving!  Turn 2020 into a great year!


Referral Coach