If you share content with clients to educate or add value to the relationship this may sound familiar: 

    • You work with clients – lots of them - who think you’re wonderful. Nice.
    • Those clients are very comfortable providing you with referrals. Also, nice.
    • To make referrals easy, you create - or curate - content and share that with your clients in the hopes they will pass that along to friends and family. Good idea.
    • But they don’t. That’s a problem.

    The question is why? We know that it’s not a lack of motivation to help you grow the business; clients are happy to see you grow. The friction is created when you assume (or hope?) that your clients will share your content as a way to introduce you to their friends and family. They don’t. 

    Referral Friction Point #2: Your Clients Simply Aren’t Sharing Your Content 

    The simple truth is that your clients don’t know who would be interested in most of the content they receive. And it's not their job to work that out. I’d suggest that you need to make that obvious.   

    Help Clients Spread the Word 

    Removing this point of friction starts by getting comfortable with the fact that clients aren’t sharing your content to help you, but to help the people they care about. That means you need to get very intentional about providing them with content that:

    1. They want to share
    2. Would be of interest to very specific people they know (because the topic makes it obvious) 

    Absolute Engagement’s research shows that 76% of clients (who don’t refer) say they don’t know who to refer. The same is true when it comes to sharing your content. 

    So, I’d suggest that it’s your role to put content in their hands that makes it very easy for them to share with the right people. 

    We Don’t Share ‘Generic’ 

    I’m not that different from your clients. I’m happy to refer friends and family to a great adviser. But if I receive a financial/market/budget update, it doesn’t make it further than my inbox. 

    It’s not that I’m unwilling to share content. It’s simply that I don’t know who would find it of interest. I don’t have a running list of people in my head who I talk to about the latest budget updates.   

    But I do have a running list of people with whom I might share information on: 

    • Hiking trails 
    • Recipes 
    • Design tips 
    • Mental health during Covid 
    • Parenting strategies 

    You remove this point of friction if you send me good information on the right topics.   

    If you send me a link to a parenting podcast, for example, my immediate thought will be “so and so would love this.” 

    In no world have I ever said “that’s a really insightful piece on investment strategies; I think I’ll send this out to my personal network just in case someone is interested.”   

    You’re far better off if I share a targeted article or resource with two people than with none. 

    Take Action 

    So, what to do? 

    Many of our clients gather direct input from their clients on their real interests and that will put you at a distinct advantage. But let’s assume, for a moment, that you don’t have that luxury. 

    1. Think about five of your best clients and the last review meeting you had with each of them. Identify what you talked about beyond investments and planning.
    2. Select three of the most common themes.
    3. Identify one article, podcast, Ted Talk or resource for each of the three themes. Get the team involved and use Google as a simple starting point.
    4. Send a note to your clients with a link to the resource. If the topic is targeted (e.g., parenting strategies) then isolate those clients for whom the article will be a fit, otherwise you run the risk of appearing tone deaf. 

    Helpful hint. When you’re sending the link, provide them with some context as to why you thought it would be helpful.  This ensures they know it was intentional. 

    Here’s an example:


    Two Types of Content 

    Does that mean you should stop sending the market, budget and financial updates? Absolutely not.   

    There is content that’s designed specifically to support your clients, based on the work that you’re doing together. However, you should also identify and share content that will support your engagement and referral efforts.   

    Two different objectives and two different types of content.

    Julie Littlechild is the Founder & CEO of Absolute Engagement, a firm that helps advisers use direct input and feedback from clients to drive engagement and growth.  You can learn more here.

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