The five pillars of client referrals

Brokers can boost their referral numbers easily and efficiently by using these five simple steps



Brokers can boost their client numbers with minimal effort by using the strategy of compounding referrals.

Marketing specialist James Veigli says that it’s possible to gain 1,200 clients each year by using the strategy. It involves making one new client every week, getting five ‘cold referrals’ from them, and turning at least one of those referrals into a lead. Then getting five more referrals from every new lead.

While advisers may not want to take on 1200 new clients every year, they can use his five pillars to boost referrals until they are happy with the amount of clients they have.

1. Talk about referrals with every client

If you don’t proactively discuss referrals and prompt them, the strategy will not work. Request referrals from each client as part of your standard sales process. Do this by educating them on the value of referrals to you and your business, and convey your passion for helping as many of their friends, family and colleagues as possible.

2. Use a 100% non-threatening referral offer

A non-threatening referral gives your clients the comfort of knowing there will be no sales pressure on friends they refer you to. Do this by offering to send your client’s referrals an information pack on how you can help, the benefits of your service, with a special offer for taking the next step. If they take action and call you, that’s their decision.

3. Make it easy to refer

Referring people to you is low on your client’s list of priorities. That’s why the referral process must be very simple for the client. Ask who they know would benefit from your services, and have them open their phone and write down the names, emails and postal addresses of five of their friends or family members.

4. Incentivise referrals

Most people are motivated (at least on some level) by what’s in it for them. So create incentives for people to refer, such as value-based incentives of gifts, vouchers, fee rebates or charity donations. Gratitude-based incentives are powerful too – a thank-you call or card is very personal and acknowledges their efforts. Winning-based incentives create a competition environment that brings out people’s desire to try their luck and win.

5. ‘Wow’ every client

If you want your clients to be happy to refer upon request, you need to design and orchestrate your client process so that every single client has a ‘wow’ experience – it cannot be left to chance.


  • Set yourself a non-negotiable target of extracting a certain number of cold referrals (say three, five or even 10) from every new client.
  • Study the five pillars and design your strategy to cover each of these points.
  • Integrate referrals into your standard sales process with each new client. One suggestion would be to raise the topic of referrals just after you have signed a client up – at the point when you have clearly demonstrated that you can help them and solve their problems.


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