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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

Asking clients for referrals can run the risk of making you appear sales-y. Over the years, I have relaxed my views on asking spheres of influence for referrals due to the B2B nature of such relationships. However, recent conversations led to a new reflection: Is there an alternative path to earning your way to referrals without having to ask?

Take the road less traveled and rather than ask for referrals, lead with generosity by way of your current thesis on one of the big market memes of the day. As you identify potential sphere's in your extended network, consider what each might find to be of value:

  • Perhaps it is providing insights on where the markets might head from here
  • Maybe it is a conversation on changes to investment strategies, given the uncertainty ahead regarding tax policy

Spheres of influence, just like many of your clients, want to look smart in their next conversations. You can help — and it just might turn into a conversation about you. Not because you asked for an introduction, rather because you brought them value and communicated in a way that was easy to understand and deploy.

Bottom line: Unless you have a unique relationship with a potential sphere of influence, lead with insights that are of value.