How to Communicate About Your Advisory Board and Drive Referrals


John Gugle‘s experience is typical of advisors who effectively engage a client advisory board. In an interview last spring, he reported “the best referrals we have gotten have come from board members.” We hear this a lot,
and it is great – but limited. If you have a dozen clients on your advisory board, you will have strong referral sources among those 12 people. But that may be only about 10% of your client base.

Here is the challenge: how can you package the experience of the advisory board and get better referrals from the other 90% of your clients? The answer is an effective communication strategy.

There are four opportunities to communicate about your client advisory board. Each provides a fresh chance to initiate a conversation about your client orientation and your service, and to provide another reason to recommend you to new prospects.

Each of these opportunities can be expressed in multiple ways. They can be the basis of an article in your client newsletter or on your website, they can be the subject of a press release, or they can be added to the end of meetings with clients or centers of influence. The key idea is that you take what happens in the advisory board and translate it to more people than can participate in the board itself at any one particular time.

The first opportunity to communicate about the board is to broadcast its existence. We have heard from many advisors that the mere fact that they have created an advisory board attract positive attention.

The next chance is to publicize the feedback you received from your board. It is proof that you are listening to your clients and looking for ways to improve. You can offer a summary of the issues raised by the board and that you will consider what to do based on the feedback.

Third, you can announce plans for improvements you intend to make, following the suggestions of your board. You might describe generally what changes you plan to implement, and invite additional feedback.

Finally, unveil the actions you took based on the feedback you received. This is the most powerful of all of these communication opportunities. The commitment to steer your practice in the direction your clients have suggested is the strongest statement you can make about your dedication to providing your best clients an experience that is tailored to their wants and needs.

The client advisory board is the most powerful tool for soliciting actionable client feedback. Because of this, board members are usually the top referral orders for the firm. Communicating the outcomes of your advisory board can help each client and centers of influence get a little taste of the advisory board experience, and you can help them become better referral sources as well.

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