Your client has generously provided you with a referral and given you a few key pieces of information to help you in your initial conversation with that prospect.

The process of contacting the referred individual is one that you must approach carefully, says to Sara Gilbert, founder of Strategist Business Development in Montreal.

You must adhere to two sets of federal legislation that regulate the way you can contact others for the purposes of business. You have to comply with the National Do Not Call List (DNCL), which governs telecommunications, and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which covers electronic communications such as emails and text messages,

Gilbert describes two steps that will help ensure you contact referrals legally:

1. Start with an email
While you may be comfortable picking up the phone for the first contact with a referral, Gilbert recommends starting with an email. Email makes it easier to remain compliant with federal regulations and allows you to prepare the referral for a future conversation.

Using email means you avoid having to determine whether the referral is on the DNCL, which prohibits you from calling or faxing anyone who has registered his or her phone number on that list and has not provided you with direct consent. A client referring a friend or family member to you does not signify direct consent, according a document released by the Investment Industry Association of Canada after the rules were published in 2007.

CASL allows you to send one email to a referral, with certain conditions. Your message must clearly state the name of the client who referred this person to you. You also must fully identify yourself with your mailing address and an option for the recipient to refuse any future emails from you.

For example, in your email to Mr. Smith, who is being referred to you, you would: introduce yourself with your full name and the name of your practice; mention that Mr. Smith’s friend, Ms. Johnson, suggested that you get in touch; and ask Mr. Smith if you can call him in two days at 7 p.m.

This provides Mr. Smith with some time to learn more about you through online research and perhaps talk to another advisor.

2. Suggest a meeting
Once you have your referred prospect on the phone, you can use the details you learned about his or her interests as a way to start the conversation. However, your ultimate goal is to schedule a meeting for a more substantial discussion regarding the referral’s financial situation, Gilbert says.

You can tell the referral: “My client mentioned you’re going through a particular situation and thought I could help you since I helped her with similar circumstances. How about we meet?”

This is the second part in a three-part series on contacting referrals.

Next: Tips for remaining professional when you get in touch.