The cost of acquiring new clients is extremely high. Further complicating matters is the difficulty quantifying your return on investment from dollars spent on marketing. Understanding the fruits of your marketing labor could take weeks, months, or even years.
But there is one sure-fire way to populate your sales funnel with highly qualified prospects without the cost…
Getting a referral is relatively simple as all you need to do is ask for them. But, to take your referral marketing to the next level requires some planning and strategy. Just as you get what you pay for, when asking for referrals you will get what you ask for.
Here are three referral tips to jump-start your sales efforts.
Ask to be Referred
How often has a client’s mind drawn blank when asking them for referrals? It is astounding how clients seemingly forget everyone they know when posed with the referral question. To combat our clients’ short-term memory, bring a short list of individuals they may already know and ask for the referral.
Keep notes on the vendors and customers your clients serve. For example, your local restaurant owner may source food locally, have a favorite contractor, or hire a professional cleaning company. During your next visit, mention that one of their vendors is a prospect of yours and that you would love to have them personally introduce you.
If you have provided value to your client, they would be no reason for them to say no. And, nothing beats being personally introduced to your next potential client!
Look Left, Look Right
Next time you visit a client, take special note of which businesses are located immediately to their left and right. Don’t forget to check above and below too if your client is located in a multi-story building.
Do a little research on your client’s neighbors. You want to learn who the owner or decision maker is and ultimately if they fit your definition of an ideal prospect. If their neighbors fit the bill, ask your insured if it would be okay to use them as a reference. Better yet, ask them for an introduction on your next visit.
Because your client may not have the same relationship with their neighbors as they do their own vendors and clients, be prepared to offer immediate value to them. For example, provide free information on security tips, ways to reduce insurance premiums, or how to prepare for the coming season (hurricane, winter, monsoon, etc.).
Insurance agents can effectively build their own referral machines by leveraging today’s technology. From email to social media, the opportunities are practically endless.
Consider referral strategies such as:
- Online contest: Serve up a prize to those on social media to the individual who generates the most likes, shares, or retweets. Your name will get spread among the friends and family of current clients.
- Offer free reviews: Offer a free insurance review to anyone who inputs your name into the comments of a social media post. Social media users who respond will be identified as prospects who can marketed to in the future.
- Ask every time: As an agent, you are constantly in touch with your clients. By using pre-formatted templates and simple copy-and-paste, every communication is an opportunity to ask for referrals. Ask for referrals in your email signature, invoices, and auto-responders. Your habit of asking for referrals will eventually turn into your clients’ habit of always referring you.
The importance of gathering referrals cannot be overstated. But referrals do not carry any value without a persistent, yet professional follow up process. This is perhaps where the latest technology really shines. Significant growth through referrals is possible by engaging with the right contact management system to automate your prospecting efforts.
The key to obtaining high-quality referrals requires a bit legwork on your part.
A strong referral is definitely not anyone who can fog up a mirror. High-quality referrals are those who meet the definition of your ideal prospect. More specifically, individuals or businesses whose current situation will provide you and your agency the highest profit potential.
This explains why you never want to ask for referrals blindly. Instead, you want to set the barometer of whom you want as a referral. Research your clients’ vendors and neighbors before asking for the referral. When painting them a picture, lead them toward the type of prospect you have always wanted to pursue.
And, if you are having difficulty determining who your ideal prospect should look like, use the 80/20 rule. Ask for referrals of those who look like your top clients and watch your book of business skyrocket!
Independent insurance agents use Agentero to boost their revenue, save time, and deliver a superior customer experience. We integrate with your current technology to modernize your operations and position you for growth. Check out our website to learn more.