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What’s “Up” Doc?

“How do I get referred “up”? is a question I’m often asked .

The answer is almost always a question from me, “What’s ‘up’”?

The people who could arrange introductions for you don’t know what you want. A client with very little in the way of assets or insurance need believes that your primary work is with people like him. So if you decide to have a referral conversation with that client, he is likely to recommend another client with very little in the way of assets or insurance need.

If you want to be referred “up” you need to tell people what “up” is for you. This means answering two questions:

(1) Who are your ideal clients? If you’ve been seeing young families who are struggling to make ends meet and you’d prefer to see people who have accumulated some money for retirement, you need to say so. Be sensitive enough to use phrases like “more complicated estates” instead of “more money” and not to discourage referrals of the people they most care about, but be crystal clear who your ideal client would be. Who you can help the most. If you want to work with medical professionals, tell them.

(2) What do they need that you can provide them? People in your ideal client group have specific problems unique to them. High net worth people are worried about the government taking a large portion of their estate. Young family people are worried about how they’re going to save for both college and retirement and what might happen to their children if one of them is disabled or dies. Some people want only to get as much growth out of their investments as possible. Others don’t want to be caught in another market downturn. What does your ideal client want or need most.

Once you’re clear about the answer to these two questions, include them in your referral conversation. Here’s an example:

John, Jane, if you have a friend or family member who needs my help, no matter what his circumstance are, he will get priority in my business because of my work with you. But I want you to be aware that I do my best work with people who are a few years away from retirement and are worried that they might not be invested properly to allow them to stay retired. Does anyone who might be in that situation come to mind?”

Getting referred “up” starts with getting clear on what “up” actually means. Give your referral sources a picture of your ideal clients and how you can help them, and you may be surprised by what comes your way.

And always keep REACHING…

16 Disciplines

I suppose it would have been more fun if I called them 16 “hot tubs” for advisors, or less intimidating if I called them “practices,” but after 17 years of working with and observing how the most successful advisors, it's clear that there are branches of knowledge involved. 


Practice these simple 16 disciplines daily and watch how quickly and easily your practice grows.

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