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Dealing with Reluctance & Objections

by Bill Cates

The Language of Asking for Introductions

The Language of Referrals:  The Words & Scripts Financial Professionals
Use to Win More Ideal Clients

This article is Part 5 of a 6-part series. To access parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 CLICK HERE.

Objections. Concerns. Resistance. Reluctance.

No matter how you label someone’s hesitation to discuss introductions, not every prospect or client likes to make them — especially when personal finances are involved. Some people are very private, while others have had bad experiences they don’t care to replicate. In all cases, they want to be careful not to damage their relationships.

The truth is, if you follow my system for becoming referable and asking for introductions, you won’t encounter many objections. Even so, you want to be prepared, confident, and ready for how clients might respond to your request — whether they’re thrilled with the idea or seem reluctant.

When you’re confident and have the skills to navigate the concerns and reluctance that often come with asking for introductions, you won’t fear them. Over time, these perceived obstacles simply become part of the conversation that you expect and manage.

Here is my five-step Referral Objection Navigation Formula.

I’ll explain the formula and provide some sample language as I go.

(Note that the formula assumes you’re referable and that you ask for that referral in the most effective way.)

Whatever they say — whatever concern they express — it’s okay. Help them feel comfortable. Don’t be or act surprised. When you respond, don’t start your response with the word “but.” The word “but” erases your validation, and that’s the opposite of what you want to accomplish.

Your validation might sound like:

I know that not everyone is comfortable with this.


Understood. It sounds like you want to proceed carefully.

Immediately after offering that validating statement, get permission to explore their perspective. You want to learn a bit more about what they said without making them think you’re going to try to change their mind. If they believe that’s your goal, they might double down on their reluctance.

What you really want to do is understand their perspective. Ask a few questions to see if you can determine why they’re reluctant. Some people like to call this reason “the objection behind the objection.”

A simple, and usually effective, way to explore so you better understand what’s behind the reluctance is to say something as simple as, “Tell me more,” or “Did you have a bad experience in the past?”

Once you’ve gotten their perspective, you’ve earned the right to share yours.

For example, if they admit to having a bad experience, ask them to tell you more about it. Depending on their response, you could reframe it by explaining how you typically handle introductions. Let them know that you’ll only proceed if they feel comfortable with the process.

Your client may be making the incorrect assumption that you want the phone numbers of their friends so that you can call them and bug them into submission. Of course, you would never do that – right?

You might say, “George, I totally understand you wanting to be careful with how we proceed. One way that I’ve found quite comfortable and effective for most of my clients is to have them introduce me with an email handshake. In this way, your friends, family, and colleagues will hear from you first. So, they won’t be surprised with my soft follow-up email gauging their interest in setting up a quick, get-acquainted call.”

Sometimes a change in perspective is all it takes, and you proceed with an introduction or two. Alas, sometimes it’s not.

If you’ve been able to reframe their thinking, you can move on to suggesting names and/or categories. If they’re still reluctant, skip this step and proceed to Step 5 instead.

If your client doesn’t want to have this conversation, respect their position. Back off and live to ask another day.

Let me assure you that “another day” will probably come. Many financial professionals tell me that they don’t always get introductions when they ask. Yet, after a week, a month, or more, many clients come back to them and say, “I just thought of someone I’d like to introduce to you. This happens because when they ask using The V.I.P.S. Method™ discussed in Part 3 of this 6-Part series, the worst-case scenario is that they plant a great seed for introductions down the road — and that’s what happens.

You will never hurt a relationship or come across as needy or pushy. And you will be planting a seed for future introductions.

Backing off gracefully could be as simple as …

Bob, that’s fine. We don’t have to talk about this right now. One simple request: If you run into anyone who you think should at least be aware of the work I do, all I ask is that you don’t keep me a secret. Fair enough?


Donna, I totally understand. I just wanted you to know that I’m never too busy to see if I can be a resource for others you care about. Fair enough?

So… there you have a glimpse into The Language of Reluctance and Objections. There are other scenarios covered in the book, though this should help you feel more confident with any reluctance you encounter.

And don’t forget ALL our resources – many of them free – are waiting for you at

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