Financial Advisors: Would You Refer…You?

Financial advisors should always be improving referral techniques and solutions. Are your efforts working?

Financial AdvisorsReferrals are a prime source of new business for many financial advisors, but if you are wondering why you don’t get many, it may be time to ask, “Are you referable?”  It seems like a simple enough question, but for some, asking if the lack of referrals stems from your business practices rather than an issue with the client is not easy.

To determine how referable you are, you will want to consider a variety of things. Let’s quickly take a look at a few:

  1. First, how satisfied are your clients? Are you meeting or exceeding their expectations? If you cannot honestly answer this, it may be time to send out a customer satisfaction survey via an email newsletter or ask your clients directly when you meet with them. Clients who are satisfied are more likely to dip their toe into the uncomfortable waters that are referring friends, family and co-workers.
  1. How are your communication skills? Do you return emails and telephone calls promptly or have clients waited long periods to hear back from you? Do you have a client management system that keeps you up to date on which clients need interaction or services? If clients are frustrated with communication levels, he or she is unlikely to recommend someone to your independent brokerage firm.
  1. What image are you portraying to clients? Is your website clean, pleasing to the eye and easy to navigate? Is your office an inviting environment for clients to spend time in? Be sure to present a clean, professional image that is cohesive in all areas – in person, website, etc. If a financial advisor seems unorganized and unkempt, would a client want this person in charge of his or her investments and portfolios?

While these are key areas to take a closer look at, of course, feedback is the best way to understand why you are or are not getting referrals. Unfortunately, it is difficult to learn why some prospects never respond, and there is no way to find the answer as to why they went with a different independent financial advisor. There is, however, a revolutionary benchmarking tool that can help you determine your “referability.”

A collaboration between Julie Littlechild of Absolute Engagement, and Steve Wershing from The Client Driven Practice has produced the Referability Index TM. The Index works by taking a detailed survey of your current business and closely examining several key aspects. These include:

  1. How many referrals are being generated to your independent brokerage firm?
  1. What business tactics you employ – for example, what is your branding plan, how do you communicate with clients, what events for financial advisors do you take part in, and how can your clients offer you feedback?
  1. And, what are the different approaches and plans you use to generate referrals?

Using this information, you will be given a benchmark score and a roadmap in how to move your business forward and attract more referrals. Throughout the process, you may learn whether or not your website or social media presence is helping you land clients, whether or not your service model is efficient, and how well you are attracting referrals from current clients.

With referrals being imperative to the success of a financial advisor, you can also learn more about influencing current clients to refer you more often with tips from Summit Brokerage. In addition, find more information about client management systems, and how to grow your business at

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.


To experience how Summit is working with its Advisors to grow their business, visit


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.  Independent financial 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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