Ask for referral by letters

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop


A good letter can be an effective way to ask for referrals. Here's one for an advisor:

Dear Bill,

I am writing to ask for your help. As I’m sure you’re aware, for the past few years we’ve seen a lot of turmoil in the stock market and extremely low interest rates. A number of my clients recently expressed gratitude for my insistence that they reposition their money into conservative, tax deferred investments that have performed very well in comparison to the carnage suffered by others in the past few years.

In the coming year, I hope to add new clients who share my prudent philosophy and who have either tried (and failed) to manage their own portfolios or are dissatisfied with the advice and results that they’ve received from their current investment advisors. Which brings me to my request.

If you are happy with the job that I’ve done for you, may I ask you to consider introducing me to those of your friends who are unhappy with their investment portfolio results?

The last thing I want is for you or your friends to feel pressure or discomfort. Therefore, I have three suggestions:

First, if you’ve talked to someone whom you feel I should contact, please tell me and I’ll gladly get in touch with them.

Second, I have taken the liberty of attaching a few of my business cards. Should the opportunity present itself, I’d be most grateful if you’d give them to friends or colleagues who might be interested in a complimentary second opinion on their situation.

Third, I would be delighted to add people you know to the mailing list for my monthly newsletter so they can get to know me and the type of work I do. Please fax or mail back the attached page with their information.

Thank you in advance for putting me in touch with people whom I can help in the same fashion in which I’ve helped you. In the meantime, if you have any questions about your own situation, as always, please don’t hesitate to call me.

Thank you,
________________

Remember, sending any letter is never a substitute for talking to clients about referrals face to face. Also, have low expectations for any mass request — especially in the short term. That said, planting the referral seed in your clients' minds can only help, provided that it is periodic and the way you ask doesn't undermine your position as a professional.