Does asking for referrals make your palms sweat and your heart race? If the answer is yes, you're not alone—many insurance agents are nervous about asking for referrals out of fear that they'll damage relationships with existing clients.
But ultimately, agents who do not cross the referral threshold are depriving themselves of new business. According to a recent survey by marketing consultation firm Strategic Impact, almost 80 percent of respondents (consisting of investment and insurance professionals) relied on referrals as their primary source of generating new business.
To help you get a firm handle on asking for referrals, we at InsureMe have compiled some tips from the pros who know how to ask for referrals—and expand their clientele!
Tune Into the Client's Communication Style
Understanding your client's communication style can help you recognize their openness to your goal of cultivating new business through referrals.
If the client is generally soft-spoken or hesitant regarding business transactions, just be honest. You might start by telling them that referrals are very important to the growth of your business and you would like to develop it with people like them. Remind the client of the benefits of your services and ask if they can think of anyone who would be interested in receiving the same benefits as they do.
Confirm Your Value
If you truly can't gauge your client's style of communication, confirm the value in you and your work by asking the client how they think you're doing when it comes to maintaining a healthy business relationship.
If your client answers enthusiastically or positively in any way, proceed asking—as above—if they know anyone who could benefit from your services. If your client answers indifferently or negatively, proceed with caution or hold off all together and try this tactic with them later down the line.
Make the Most of Meetings
Any time you have personal contact with your client is a great time to ask for referrals. Once you've gone over any updates or changes in your client's policy, simply reiterate the successes and highlights of your business relationship and ask them if they have friends or family who could benefit from your services. Take down names and contact information and get selling!
Practice on Low-Risk Clients
Asking for referrals takes confidence and enthusiasm—and that takes practice. Get that practice with clients that won't drastically impact your business if the relationship is adversely affected. Once you've acquired a few referrals and achieved a considerable level of confidence, move your way up to "medium-risk" clients and get a few more referrals before tackling your heavy-hitters.
It's important to consistently thank your clients for their business. Sending appreciatory emails, cards and gift certificates are some ideas for thanking your clients. Making your existing clients feel that they are your top priority will increase their chances of promoting your services to friends and family.
It's also appropriate to thank clients who've given you referrals. Some agents like to send a gift; others just send a note of gratitude. Some agents wait to see if the referral develops into a new client and send a larger gift of thanks. While the gesture is up to you, do thank your existing clients and let them know how much you value their referrals.??
Start Receiving Personal Referrals Today!
While there are various tactics to employ for successfully acquiring referrals, it's ultimately up to you to find which methods work best for you. Don't let another referral slip away—use the tips above to obtain more referrals and turn them into new clients!