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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

If you have heard me speak on the topic of referrals, you will likely recall the cardiologist analogy. The punch line is, "What if, after reviewing my stress test, she closed the file and asked, 'Do you know any other people in their 60s, a little overweight and a little stressed out I should speak to?'"

Advisor audiences typically laugh at the absurd notion that a cardiologist might ask a patient for introductions to other patients. Let's reflect for a moment a bit further on this analogue.

How do cardiologists tend to get new patient referrals? Other doctors. Do they tend to get referrals because they ask for them? Unlikely. In fact, it is more likely other doctors would run the other way if they were asked for referrals. Think about it. If you were a doctor and your patient needed a cardiologist, would you want to send him to a cardiologist who seemed in need of new business? No way!

How about you? Do you get referrals from business managers, agents, CPAs or attorneys because you have asked for them? Well, perhaps sometimes due to a very special relationship you may have established with that other professional. More likely, it is because that other person thinks you are good at what you do AND you developed an approach that keeps you top of mind.

Bottom line: Apply our teachings on capturing referable moments with your spheres of influence just as consistently as you do with your clients.