Client Referral Strategies for Advisors

Want to learn additional client referral strategies? Let the experts at Summit Brokerage help you.

Client Referral StrategiesAs an independent financial advisor, implementing client referral strategies is a key aspect of your business. The tricky part comes when bringing up the expectation of referrals to clients – do you mention it during your initial meeting, when you have worked with someone for a period of time, or not mention it at all? The goal should be to help your clients understand the concept that referrals are expected if a client/advisor association is entered into, yet you want to make sure you aren’t confronting your client and making him or her feel uncomfortable. Also, keep in mind once the expectation of referrals is set, ongoing awareness has to be presented to the client throughout the business relationship.

So, how can you naturally and successfully program clients to refer your services and expertise to others. Let’s take a closer look at some helpful client referral strategies:

  • First, remove the word “referral” from your vocabulary when speaking with clients. Instead, present the hope of being recommended or introduced if the client feels you have performed high quality work for them.
  • One way to initiate the expectation of being referred or introduced is mentioning it during your disclosure conversation with the client. As you highlight how you are paid as an independent financial advisor, you can (using language you are comfortable with) mention how you are repaid throughout the relationship. This may sound like, “Many clients have repaid me for my services by recommending me to other prospective clients.” You should be able to judge the comfort level of your client and have several versions of this statement committed to memory.
  • Be sure to check that the client understands your business terms and he or she agrees to them.
  • In addition, when documenting the agreement between you and your client, be sure it contains your anticipation of introductions and/or recommendations.
  • As your relationship with the client progresses, be sure to gently remind him or her of recommendations and introductions in your email marketing material, blog posts, social media posts, website, etc. Of course, you do not want to bombard him or her continually, so be intentional on when and how often you do this.
  • Last, be grateful when a client does recommend or introduce you to someone, and show your gratitude (whether or not the prospect was ideal). Also, offer your client a little information on how the conversation with the potential client went. This will offer peace of mind to your client that when he or she refers someone to you, that person is in capable hands.

When reviewing and implementing the above client referral strategies, be sure to gauge the comfort level of your client. Often times, clients are not comfortable with referring others because they feel like the independent financial advisor hasn’t earned his or her trust yet, or that they are being forced to do something and are being put on the spot. The more effort you put into a successful relationship, and as trust builds over time with your client, he or she will be come more comfortable about introducing you to potential clients.

If you are an independent financial advisor in need of additional client referral strategies, visit Summit Brokerage. Summit Brokerage Services has been voted the #1 boutique independent broker dealer in the country. Let us show you why! To experience the Summit difference, learn more about our network of independent financial advisors, and begin creating your financial planning documents, visit or call us at (800) 354-5528.


About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.


About Cetera Financial Group

Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions.  Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.

Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations.  Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology.  For more information, visit

*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.


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