Every time you ask your client for a referral, you are asking them to spend their social capital-or the trust they have built with another individual. Hannah and I have also highlighted the fact that the more specific you are with referral requests to a client, the higher the probability you will get the referral. A generic referral, by contrast, will usually only get the typical reply:  "Nothing comes to mind now, let me get back to you." 

Ideally, an advisor wants to target qualified prospects in a client's social circle. But that's easier said than done. Ultra-high-net-worth clients typically don't have a LinkedIn profile, where you can sort through all their professional and business connections. There are services that can help you chart out a client's social map, but they are not completely reliable, and could easily result in your asking for a referral to the wrong person-wasting your client's social capital in the process.

Perhaps the best way to mine an ultra-high-net-worth client for prospects is to seek out referrals that require them to use the least amount of social capital possible. This involves creating social events or opportunities where introductions are easy. It also gets back to the trust factor, because the better you know your clients' hobbies and passions, the easier it is to get such events in motion.

If, for example, you or your firm supports similar charities to your clients', it may be an opportunity for your client to introduce you to other qualified prospects that support the same charities. 

Building an event around clients' passions, particularly those they share with friends, is the key. One-of-a-kind experiences can also make perfect settings for clients to offer up introductions. As an extreme example, arranging a private tour of the Sistine Chapel for a client who is an avid fan of Leonardo De Vinci makes it easy for him or her to invite friends and family.

Once you have a client, be aware of the social capital he expends each time he makes a referral, and be a good steward by helping him minimize that cost.

And always remember to not waste his precious time.

David Friedman ([email protected]) is co-founder and president of Wealth-X.

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