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Attracting Affluent Seniors

One of the most effective ways to do this is through advocacy referral.

By Kerry Johnson, M.B.A., Ph.D.

What’s the best way to meet affluent seniors who need your help?

We know that people 50 years and older constitute the largest proportion of the affluent. Sixty-four percent own businesses and are probably still vocationally active in some way. Affluent seniors tend not to want to spend three hours having a free dinner while listening to an advisor when they can easily afford to buy dinner themselves.

In fact, 25 percent of all seniors (the more affluent ones) will never attend a dinner seminar. You can also forget about piquing their interest through a mailing for a free appointment to review their retirement plans. What they desperately need is an advisor they can trust. But how can they trust you before they even meet you?

One of the most effective ways is advocacy referral. Tom, a financial advisor, was called by a prospect who had heard about him from a mutual friend. John (the prospect) walked in Tom’s office, shook hands and spoke about their mutual friend for a few minutes. John then started to write a check.

Tom stopped him, saying that the first meeting was complimentary. John said he was just waiting to see if Tom could “fog up a mirror” before he gave him his retirement money and promptly wrote the check. That’s the power of an advocacy referral.

The more appropriately you ask, the more advocacy referrals you will get.

The silver lining is that the more appropriately you ask, the more advocacy referrals you will get. The mark of a successful practice is eight advocacy referrals per month. If you are getting eight referrals, you are keeping in contact with your clients effectively, and asking the way they want to be asked. Here’s how you can increase your referrals.

The 3-month call script
You know that seniors want to understand what they are buying, know that you are constantly in control of their retirement and want to hear from you every three months.

There are three things you must include in your three-month conversation with them: catch-up, update and referral.

  • Catch up and update on the phone. Talk about their grandkids, their last trip and even the weather. Update them on how the market and their investments have done since you last spoke. Talk about what the market is likely to do and your plans for their money. Then ask them if there’s any money in motion. Chances are that you will find new assets. Many of my clients report that 25 percent of their annual revenues come by asking this simple question.

  • Referral “bridge” and request. Many advisors ask for a referral by saying, “If you know anyone I should be talking to, please have them give me a call.” This never works because clients often take you for granted. Instead, remind them of what you have done since you first met. Then contrast that to what would have happened had they not invested with you.

Next, ask for the referral by saying: “I really enjoy working with you. I am trying to build my practice with my best clients. Who do you know who could benefit from the kind of relationship we have had so far and may be worried about his money?”

Kerry Johnson, M.B.A., Ph.D., is an author and speaker. Take a free evaluation test at to see if you are a candidate for his system. Call 800-883-8787 for more information.


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