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Category: Leads · 4 min read

4 Easy Ways to Ask for Referrals

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on November 19, 2019

author profile photo

on November 19, 2019

five people sitting around a coffee table

Asking for referrals is usually not an easy thing to do. But knowing how to ask for a referral in a way that feels authentic and natural is a useful skill that can be learned and used on a regular basis. If you can harness the power of referrals with your clients, you can quickly grow your business.  

So, how do you ask in a way that’s easy and natural? Here are a few ideas to get you started.  


1. Prepare Clients and Get Specific 

I think two of the main reasons why asking for referrals can backfire is because the way the question is asked is unexpected and too vague. Think about it. When you ask a client for a referral, did they know you were going to ask them, or were they surprised? If you didn’t prepare them, you haven’t given them any time to think about it. Now they’re supposed to pull a name out of their brain instantly. That’s not easy. Instead, work on prepping your clients for the referral question. Before the meeting, let them know that you’ll be asking if they know anyone that might be interested in your services. Or ask them to come with the names of two people they know that might want help, too. This will give them time to mentally prepare and have a referral ready.  

At the same time, many financial professionals are too vague when they ask for referrals. For example, the most common way to ask for referrals is something along these lines: “Do you know anyone that might want my help?” But this isn’t specific at all. Your client now has to think about every person that they know, and that can take a while and even overwhelm them. So, make their answer easier by getting more detailed about the kind of referral you’re looking for. Ask: “Do you know anyone that’s around your age that might need help planning for retirement?” That can narrow their options and help a specific name come to mind. 

When you ask a client for a referral, did they know you were going to ask them, or were they surprised? If you didn’t prepare them, you haven’t given them any time to think about it.

In both of these cases, asking for referrals is an upfront question. It’s not hidden or brought up at the last minute. It’s intentional, prepared, and specific. Rip off the band-aid and ask the question. You may be glad you did.  


2. Utilize Social Media 

Are you active on social media? If not, it may be time to start. A survey by Putnam Investments found that 92% of financial professionals that use social media said they gained new clients through social networking.1 But how is this done? Here are a few pointers: 

  • Follow your clients on social media 
  • Invite your clients to follow you on social media 
  • Post on a regular basis 
  • Respond to messages as fast as possible 

Once you’ve done those four things, it’s time to bring in the referral aspect. Asking for referrals on social media isn’t difficult. In fact, it may be easier than a face-to-face conversation. Creating a post that asks for referrals should be pretty straightforward, and you can even encourage your followers to tag one of their friends in the comment section who would benefit from your help.  


3. Host a Client Appreciation Party 

What better way to ask for referrals than when the majority of your clients are all in one room? Hosting a party and providing food and drinks is a great opportunity to re-connect with clients, see how they’re doing, and let them know you appreciate them. You could even encourage them to bring a friend. This kind of atmosphere also creates a kind of kinship. The clients that show up may come mostly for the free food, but they also come because they like you. These are the people that may be more likely to give you a quality referral. So, ask them! Before you plan the event, just make sure you review your state’s gifting guidelines to make sure your party isn’t against any regulations. 


4. Partner with Other Professionals 

Going outside of your industry to ask for referrals can open up a whole new business stream. Let’s get even more specific and focus on Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Whether they realize it or not, CPAs may need your help (and so do their clients). The industry has changed a lot in the last 10 to 20 years, and some CPAs may not be up-to-date on the latest in annuities and life insurance. In other words, they may not recognize the value that you bring to the table—and to their clients. To solve this, collaborate with them and help solve each other’s problems. CPAs can provide you help with clients that have questions about taxes, so coordinate and leverage each other’s expertise.   

But here’s the problem: many CPAs don’t know about your products or when to bring them up in conversations with their clients. They don’t know that you can help them. And they’re not going to work with you until they know you, like you, and think you’re credible. To solve this and give CPAs a chance to meet you and hear about your products, if you’re partnered with one of our agencies, you can host a CPA workshop through our CPA Alliance Program. We invite CPAs in your area, educate them about your products and services so they understand the benefits, and then highlight you as the go-to resource for them to work with. In fact, a lot of the time, the CPA wants to buy a product for themselves, and then they recommend it to their clients and refer you. A CPA can help unlock opportunities that weren’t there before (and vice versa), and open the door for new leads and referrals. All you have to do is ask them. To learn more about how this can work for you, reach out to us.  

A CPA can help unlock opportunities that weren’t there before (and vice versa), and open the door for new leads and referrals.

Asking for referrals doesn’t have to be difficult, you just have to know the best way to do it. Use these tips as you see fit, and see what can happen when you ask the right way, at the right place, and at the right time.  



1. Putnam Investments. “Putnam Social Advisor Survey.” 2018. 


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Written By

Josh Gettler

National Vice President, Relationship Development

Josh Gettler is the National Vice President of Relationship Management at Brokers International. Josh has over 10 years of industry experience running FMOs, as well as selling policies as an agent. With expertise in recruiting FMOs, mergers and acquisitions and management, Josh is focused on how to grow and improve businesses through innovative ideas.

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