As financial advisors, few things ever make us as happy as a referral. When the news that a client has recommended TGS to a friend or family member makes its way through the office, it always generates a feeling of excitement and pride. Talk about validation—what could be better than getting new business from clients you really like!
But it is true that some clients are reluctant to refer friends and family, even if they’re very happy with our relationship, for several reasons:
• Talking about money can be a touchy subject, right up there with religion and politics, and many of us avoid those potentially uncomfortable conversations.
• Fear of looking bad if the financial advisor does a poor job.
• Not knowing if a friend or colleague would be a good fit for the financial advisor.
• Feeling unsure about whether a specific financial challenge is one that your financial advisor handles.
So recently, when a favorite client referred a friend, we thanked her profusely and then we asked if we could pick her brain a bit to see how the process worked for her.
Most of what she shared made perfect sense. It didn’t surprise us that her decades-long relationship with our firm, which she describes as “a long track record built on trust,” had made it easier for her to refer. She’s sure the friend she referred will be well taken care of. She was also sure that the financial challenge her friend was grappling with was one we could handle, since it was the same type of challenge that had brought her to our firm all those years ago.
It seems that the conditions for making this referral were close to perfect. Our client knew her friend to be a serious, frugal type, and she knew that his desire to “pursue financial matters in a wise way” matched the philosophy of our firm.
How can you know if making a referral is the right move, especially in the case of someone whose situation is different from your own? An explanation of our process might help to answer those questions.
What happens after someone is referred to us?
We consider the confidence that a client shows us by referring a friend or family member to be a precious gift, and every referral gets very special treatment. Their first TGS contact is likely to be with bubbly Susan Mattero, our Client Concierge, who will connect them with an advisor to begin a process of discovery.
The mutual discovery process is as unique as the people having the conversation. It is a no-pressure exploration of personal goals and dreams, an explanation of the firm’s philosophies and processes, and a straightforward discussion about what the scope of work should be.
Sometimes referred individuals become clients. Sometimes they do not. Either way, our intention is always to create value so that the person who has made the referral is happy to have done so. Our focus is on what’s fair and what works, and we’re pleased to meet new people, even if it’s only for a free, one-time consultation.
We consider the confidence that a client shows us by referring a friend or family member to be a precious gift, and every referral gets very special treatment.
There are times when a quick answer to a pressing financial question is all that is necessary. In one conversation with a recently-married couple, our simple advice was for them to acquire life and disability insurance and to maximize their pre-tax savings to their 401ks. We charged nothing for this advice. Two years later, we were pleased to welcome them to the firm as clients. They now enjoy truly significant net worth.
In many cases, we compose a written analysis with customized advice targeted at specific challenges. But not everyone is in need of such a detailed financial plan.
Sometimes, when a long-term relationship with TGS is not the correct solution for someone new to the firm, we can provide limited research and guidance to that person in exchange for a small donation to an agreed-upon charity.
So, the next time you get the feeling that you’d like to help a friend by pointing them to a trusted financial resource, we hope you feel confident in doing so. Perhaps that time will be when a friend of yours tells you that she’s selling her business or that she’s struggling to care for an aging parent. Perhaps someone in your family will tell you that they’re worried about protecting their assets from litigation, or that they wish their children were making better financial decisions. Conversations about taking on a new job or getting ready for retirement might also be the perfect time to recommend TGS Financial Advisors.
How to refer someone to TGS
There are several ways to introduce someone you’d like to help to TGS, and you should choose whatever feels most comfortable to you. You might suggest that your friend check out our website (tgsfin.com) or you might share one of our articles with them. You could encourage them to subscribe to our mailing list, which they can do on the TGS website or Facebook page.
If you’ve gotten the okay for a more direct introduction, you can call or email Susan, or anyone at TGS for that matter, and provide us with some contact information. We’re also happy to send a packet of information about the firm to anyone who would like to know more about us.
Remember, we’re here to help. You can count on us to always be professional, welcoming and solutions-oriented. We’ve helped a lot of people who have struggled with complex financial problems and we welcome the chance to help your friends and family members as well.
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by TGS Financial Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this article will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this article serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from TGS Financial Advisors. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. TGS Financial Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this article’s content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the TGS Financial Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.