A survey of more than 1,500 adults in the UK found only 18 per cent of respondents who had never received financial advice would consider using an adviser recommended by a relative.
Ian Browne, retirement expert at Quilter, which commissioned the research in July, warned this could become an even greater problem in the new remote working environment.
He said: "It’s been several months since advisers and clients alike have had to change the way they interact and the overwhelming majority of advisers have adapted successfully to this new way of work.
"However, one area we know advisers are struggling with is gaining new clients.
"Video and phone calls works appropriately for relationships that already exist, but it is hard to build a rapport in this way."
Despite the low numbers who were open to an advice referral, 72 per cent of respondents agreed they would happily be involved in discussing their family’s plan for passing on wealth.
Quilter's research found adults who had worked with a financial adviser on inheritance plans were more likely to successfully refer relatives for new business.
Mr Browne said building relationships with their clients’ children and relatives was now "absolutely critical" for advisers.
He added: "It is an important door open to advisers and while families are still negotiating the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19, it is the perfect opportunity to engage and support these potential clients.
"Even for those advisers who are starting to think about retirement, having relationships with younger generations is vital when it comes to boosting the value of your business.
"Aside from the business perspective, this is an opportunity to close the advice gap and ensure more people are gaining valuable financial advice, which is vitally important at this point in time."
Martin Bamford, head of client education at Informed Choice, agreed advisers must invest more time and effort in establishing family relationships.
Mr Bamford said: "We know from experience that, when a primary client dies, money passed down to the next generation is quickly spent on debt repayment and other priorities.
"It's increasingly unusual for an adviser to retain management of assets as they move down the generations and with such a big focus in recent years on working with wealthy post-war baby boomer clients, the financial planning needs of the next generation can be overlooked.
"By including multi-generational wealth transfer in financial plans, you have an opportunity to meet other family members and coordinate plans across the generations."
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