While many financial advisors realize that client referrals are critical to a firm's growth, nearly half of advisors queried admitted they've asked only a small percentage of their clients for a referral, according to an SEI Quick Poll released Monday.

Additionally, only one in five advisors said that seeking referrals is a "regular routine and a key reason of my success."

"It's clear that the majority of advisors aren't capitalizing on the valuable opportunity sitting right in front of them," said John Anderson, head of practice management solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

The survey, completed by 210 advisors, was conducted during a recent SEI Advisor Network webinar on building client referrals, which also included the distribution of a whitepaper on the topic, "Turbo-charging Client Referrals."

As part of the whitepaper, SEI identified these top tips advisors should follow to generate both referrals and introductions:

* Engage Your Clients--Engaged clients are an advisor's greatest advocate. They believe in what advisors do, are committed to their success and, with coaching, can provide a steady stream of qualified prospects.

* Follow the Three W's--Successful referral-only practices always have the three W's (who, what, when) on their mind. These advisors develop and follow client profiles, knowing who they want to attract in terms of demographics, occupation, lifestyle, and personality.

* Leverage Technology--Social networking tools are an advisor's best friend. With LinkedIn's "People You May Know" tool, advisors can discover and vet potential prospects through connections to a client.

* Do Your Homework--When approaching a client, it's important to be prepared. First, consider asking for introductions, not just referrals. Second, it's best to work from a script, or at least practice ahead of time.