The Advisor Institute: Coach's Corner
On generosity and referrals

Practical messages intended to help you elevate the success of your practice.

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      By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

      One of my longtime friends and a true charismatic advisor is doing remarkably well through the pandemic. He is always chasing positivity to be a source of strength to the families he serves and an inspirational leader of an extraordinary team.

      The only place where he and I do not always agree relates to the topic of referrals. For decades, my view has been that advisors should "capture referable moments" rather than sounding needy and "salesy" by asking for referrals. Yet, I am certainly willing to challenge my beliefs and fully appreciate the importance of context.

      Since the early days of the pandemic, this advisor has been tenacious in proactively reaching out to clients in writing and on the phone to calm their nerves. With this as a backdrop, he has been letting clients know that in these difficult times he and the team are "on retainer for the entire family." What a beautiful phrase.

      Is he asking for referrals? Of course. Does he sound needy or salesy? Absolutely not. If anything, he is doing what I refer to as leading with generosity to bring value to tomorrow's clients. Doesn't his offer sound generous?

      Last week, he led a client call during which he took leading with generosity a step further. At the very end of an exceptionally thoughtful client update, he added the following to his "on retainer" phraseology in a sincere tone with not a hint of salesmanship:

      "As busy as we are these days, if you have any close friends who seem confused right now or aren't getting good advice, please make sure they know that our door is open for a conversation."

      Bottom line: Within the context of the caring support his team has provided to their clients over the past several months, even this purist has to admit that his offer did not sound needy at all. Rather, it felt genuine, heartfelt and generous.