Select Investor Profilechevron

What type of investor are you?

Individual Investor
Institutional Investor
phone iconContact
pdf download icon

A 5-Step Process for Client Referrals

2 human silhouettes side-by-side

Looking to grow your client base? Don’t dismiss the power of referrals.

Research from CEG Insights found that, on average, 43.9 percent of advisors’ best clients come from client referrals. That means the prospects most likely to be the right fit for your business may only be an ask away.1

However, only two-thirds (67.8 percent) of advisors actively solicit referrals – which means that nearly a third are leaving a glaring opportunity for growth on the table.1

Asking clients for referrals can be a delicate process. This five-step approach can make the conversation easier.

1. Emphasize the importance of a second opinion.

There’s no need to directly solicit referrals at this point. Simply highlight the significance of a second opinion when it comes to financial decision-making – and point out that you can offer a fresh perspective on someone’s financial goals, strategies, and overall wealth management.

2. Position referrals as an extension of the second-opinion service.

The key to this approach is to frame your second opinion as a unique, flat-fee service; it’s an opportunity for your clients’ friends, family, or colleagues to receive an objective evaluation of their financial situations and potential improvements.

3. Request referrals with confidence.

If you believe a client is highly satisfied with your support and values your expertise, you should make a clear request for referrals.

When the timing feels right, remind your client of the second-opinion service and ask them if anyone in their network would benefit from your help. Note that this opportunity may present itself in routine conversation when a client offhandedly mentions a contact experiencing a particular milestone event (e.g., starting a family) or financial situation (e.g., planning for retirement).

4. Provide referral materials.

Make it easy for clients to provide referrals. Have readily-accessible materials your clients can share with referrals – a printed brochure, a digital flyer, or a webpage dedicated to referral business. Ensure each piece features information about you, your firm, your process, and your contact information. If someone reaches out, be sure to respond in a timely manner – first impressions matter!

5. Express appreciation.

Express appreciation throughout this journey. It will only serve to deepen the relationships you have with your clients. Start by thanking them for even considering referring their contacts to you. If their referrals do become clients, show your gratitude. Consider sending a note and gift of thanks, tailored to the individual client (e.g., a gift card to their favorite restaurant, a bottle of their favorite wine, etc.). Then, be sure to treat your new client with the highest level of professionalism and care – because with every new client comes the opportunity for additional referral business.

Not only do referrals require little-to-no financial investment, they’re typically very warm leads. Don’t miss an opportunity to create new relationships and gain assets – build your referral process today.

Harbor Capital Advisors

Harbor Capital Advisors is an asset manager known for curating an intentionally select suite of active ETFs from boutique managers. Advisors looking for distinct and differentiated investment options for their clients’ portfolios often connect with our passionate obsession to find what we believe to be the best – bold solutions that have the potential to produce compelling, risk-adjusted returns.

For more information, visit

Important Information

1 CEG Insights, “Beyond Wealth: How Advisors Can Drive Organic Growth by Empowering Investors’ Best Lives.”


These survey results come from CEG Insights, “Beyond Wealth: How Advisors Can Drive Organic Growth by Empowering Investors’ Best Lives.”

Investors surveyed: 250 investors with $100,000 to $1 million in investable assets; 1,000 investors with more than $1 million in investable assets. Issues investigated: Goals and values of wealthy households and how they define financial success, including familial, charitable and estate planning goals; action steps for advisors and providers for assisting their clients in meeting their objectives. Timeframe: July 2023.

Investing entails risks and there can be no assurance that any investment will achieve profits or avoid incurring losses.

This information has been created by Harbor Capital Advisors for Financial Professionals. It’s important to consult directly with your firm’s compliance department to obtain precise advice based on their policies, procedures, and any industry-specific regulations.


Blue Background

Connect with us | LinkedIn Logo IconLinktree icon to podcast media links

Harbor Funds Distributors, Inc. is the Distributor of the Harbor Mutual Funds.
Foreside Fund Services, LLC is the Distributor of the Harbor ETFs.
FINRA Brokercheck logo in white color

Investing involves risk and the potential loss of capital.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of a fund before investing. To obtain a summary prospectus or prospectus for this and other information, click here or call 800-422-1050. Read it carefully before investing.

All trademarks or product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2024 Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc. All rights reserved.