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Seven Business and Referral Tips for the Holidays

Holiday time is fast approaching and you will likely have increased opportunity to talk about your valuable work with friends and family. How you talk about the work you do can lead to business opportunities and referrals.

Below are seven ideas to help you in this area. If you work on a team or in an office with other advisors, build a sales meeting or training session around these ideas with time for script development and role play.


1.  Have a clear, succinct and confident answer for the question:  “What are you doing these days?” Make this value-oriented. Tell a story about someone you helped recently (without revealing proprietary information, of course). If the story is related in some way to this person’s situation, all the better.

2.  Have an interesting answer—maybe with a short success story—for the question, “How’s business?” Don’t just say “great” and leave it at that. Say “great” and explain why. Have an example of the valuable work you do ready to tell.

3.  Be prepared to talk about why you are excited about the work you’re doing. I recommend this be centered around the importance of your work you do for others. Wear your passion for helping others on your sleeve.

4.  While you may not want to go into a lot of detail with your value discussion (unless someone is very interested), you can use this holiday-event conversation to get an agreement to meet later to explain your value more completely.

5.  If you have a good relationship with a friend or family member, you can suggest the possibility of an introduction to someone you already know in their life who might appreciate your work. Say something like, “Mark, I was thinking about Laura Smith and how I might be a great resource for her. You know her, right?  Would you feel comfortable putting in a good word for me with her sometime soon?”

6.  If you are invited to a client’s holiday event, get permission to tell others, if it comes up in conversation, that you are his or her financial advisor (or whatever term you use). At the event, ask people how they know the host(s) and invariably it will come back to you. However, be careful! You’re not there to sell, but you can use steps 1, 2 and 3 from above.

7.  Rather than hosting one large client appreciation event, consider hosting two to three smaller ones so you can make better connections with everyone. Big events don’t lead to great connections. The point of a business event isn’t to impress people with your success or wave at your guests because you don’t have time to visit with them. The point of an event is to connect with people and build a relationship with them.


In conclusion, enjoy the holiday season that is almost upon us. Be safe and have fun!


About Bill Cates

Bill Cates
Bill Cates is the President of Referral Coach International.  His trademarked Referral Advantage™ Program has been featured in such publications as Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Selling Power and Research Magazine, and his own business success has been featured in Money Magazine. Bill is a regular contributing editor for many financial services publications. Visit his Web site at Bill Cates, author of “Get More Referrals Now!” and “Don’t Keep Me a Secret!” is offering you a free copy of his report “7 Deadly Referral Mistakes” as well as a subscription to his free referral newsletter with 30,000+ subscribers. (What do they know that you don’t?)  Go to  To contact Bill, send him an email at or call (301) 497-2200.

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