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Here are some non-traditional ways to get referrals as a financial advisor.

But first…

For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and financial advisor marketing consultant. I have a newsletter in which I send you one actionable, practical marketing tip a day. Please sign up here!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

#1 Birthday call

An easy way to get your clients to send you other clients

  • Get a list of your clients
  • Write down everyone’s birthday. If you don’t know it, ask them.
  • On each client’s birthday, call the person.

Do not email them.

Do not send a social media message.

Do not send a card in the mail.

Do not send an email card.

Do not send a text message.

Here’s what to say:

  • Call them and with sincerity in your voice, tell them you were thinking about them on their special day.
  • Tell them you appreciate the relationship and that you are looking forward to another year working together.
  • Then stop talking and see what they say.

Leave all of this in a voicemail if they don’t answer.

#2 LinkedIn hat tip


Get connected with all your clients on LinkedIn.


Take 20 clients, and look at their LinkedIn pages. Scroll to the bottom and check out anyone who has given them a recommendation.

See, here’s mine from my LinkedIn page (scroll to bottom)

If your client has been recommended by this person, it indicates there is some semblance of trust between the two of them.


?You should ask your client for an introduction to that person.

Or, ask if it is okay to connect with that person. Now, don’t pitch them coffee or IRA rollover meeting. Just say you think that your financial postings in your feed may be useful to them.

No sales spam LinkedIn messages – they never wind up working in the long term. Use high quality messages instead.

#3 Don’t write them off – things may have changed!

Question from a subscriber:

“I have 400 clients and don’t get any good referrals from them. I don’t even try because they’re all small accounts, not the ‘big fish’ type accounts I would want anyways.


Really…400 households, and nobody has “big money”?

The issue is you aren’t building deep enough relationships.

You need to engage them differently. Do this:

  • Go through 50 names, and select 5 that you think might potentially have more wealth than you are currently handling.
  • Email them and ask for a catch-up meeting.
  • Get them to tell you three questions they have about their money.
  • Answer their three questions.
  • Over the course of this convo, it should become apparent if they have “big money” or not. If not, you should at least get ideas about how their associations may possibly lead to people who are rich. Ask them if they know anyone who owns a business.
  • Write up the answers to the three questions from each meeting, and email it out to the 400 people as a newsletter. Just put the question in quotes and then answer it in two paragraphs.
  • Send out this newsletter once a week to the 400. Mail Chimp is free/cheap newsletter software.
  • Check who is opening the email and get meetings with them, repeating the questioning process above.

That should yield some incremental business or referrals and the best part is, it does more with what you already have – instead of trying to go out and cut a new path in the woods.




Don’t forget about courtesy!

When somebody refers a prospect to you, don’t grab-it-and-go like you are in the checkout line at the supermarket.

Don’t get so excited about getting a referral that you forget to reciprocate with equal kindness back to the referent.

  • Do the courtesy of asking the referent what you should know about the referral; their personality, likes and dislikes, etc. This will assure them that you are intent on taking good care of the person.
  • Ask the referent what the best way is to contact the person, and when.
  • Send a thank you note, not just an email, but a handwritten note that arrives in the mail.
  • Be transparent. Tell them when you secure a meeting with the person, and afterwards tell them how it went. If it does not go well, tell them that, too – be upfront but don’t blame anybody.

Remember that a referral is a gift. Take good care of both the referent and the referral and they are likely to do it again.

Did these financial advisor referral tips work for ya?

Alright that’s all for now. I hope these financial advisor referral tips were useful.

Did you sign up for my daily newsletter?

Or if you want more…

Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.

This is a book about financial advisor LinkedIn messages which contains scripts you can use to get new prospects.

You could also consider this LinkedIn training program which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn.

The Sara Grillo membership is a social media program for financial advisors - but only the cool ones.

Thanks for reading. See you in the next one!

-Sara G

Any questions? Send 'em in!