When it comes to bringing more clients to your insurance agency, referrals are the most organic and inexpensive form of marketing out there. Many agents agree that referrals are their number one source for new business. Having existing customers recommend you to their friends and families is crucial for your ongoing success as an insurance agent.
Not only are referrals organic, but they're also much more likely to convert. They also typically stay longer and spend more than customers that you acquire using other means. Agents who get regular referrals build more stable businesses with higher revenues.
If you're not convinced, here are a few statistics to check out. Referred customers often spend up to 25% more on their initial purchase and are more likely to make repeat purchases in the future. What's more, the lifetime value of a referred customer is around 16% higher than customers you acquire elsewhere.
While referrals are an excellent source of business, many agents feel uncomfortable asking for them. No one wants to come off as pushy or irritating. The last thing you want to do is upset your existing clients. You might think that providing exceptional service is enough to encourage your customers to pass the word along to their friends and family members. That may be true in some instances, but it's not always the case.
The truth is, people are often more willing to talk about their negative experiences than their positive ones. It's not that your happy customers don't want to help you out. It's just that they're busy with their own lives. They're not thinking about helping you grow your business. You have to be willing to ask. Read on for tips on how to get more referrals and what you can do if you don't feel comfortable asking your existing clients for some help.
To gain more customers via referrals, you have to be willing to ask. Here are nine tips that can help make asking easier and more effective.
Your customers are your most important asset, not only for ongoing sales but also in terms of marketing. If you can get them to spread the word about you, it's more valuable than any form of self-promotion you can do.
To encourage your customers to tell their friends and families about you, though, you have to go above and beyond with exceptional, memorable service. No referral program will mean anything to your clients if your service isn't on point.
To provide exceptional customer service, consider doing some of the following:
When you provide consistent, top-notch service to your clients, they're much more likely to refer you to others they know, especially if you ask.
You may not be the only one doing the selling in your agency. If you've got sub-producers working for you, then you need to ensure they're able to deliver the same level of customer service you do.
This is true whether those producers are focused on sales, service, or both. They should be prepared to exceed customer expectations at any stage in the process so there's no drop-off in the customer experience. If you and your team reach that level consistently, your customers will be eager to tell others about your agency.
If you don't already have one, now is the time to create a complete product list that outlines everything you sell. Place that list on your website or refer your customers to it. Go above and beyond by walking them through it. It's a simple, effective way to make your clients aware of what you have to offer, and it can help with cross-selling.
That's not all, though. Your customers might not be shopping for homeowners, auto, or life insurance when they buy their particular policy, but they may know others who need those products. If you take the time to share all of your services, they'll know just who to send their friend or family member to for their insurance needs — you!
They say that timing is everything. This is certainly the case when it comes to asking for insurance referrals. Sure, what you ask and how you ask are vital. But knowing when to ask is just as important.
So, when should you ask for referrals? Start by making sure you know when not to ask. For instance, never ask for a referral during billing or as a customer is in the beginning stages of filing a claim. You also might not want to ask for a referral right after you underdelivered on a promise you made to your customer. After all, you wouldn't ask your boss for a raise right after you missed the mark with an important project.
Instead, try to time your requests appropriately. Wait until you know your client is feeling optimistic and happy with your service. If they're telling you what a great job you did, how happy they are, or how much they love your service, that's a green light to ask for a referral. When your client is expressing their satisfaction, seize the opportunity. If they're happy with what you did for them, ask them if they'd be willing to refer someone else they know who could benefit from what you have to offer.
One thing to keep in mind — you certainly can ask customers for referrals via an email or phone call. The best time to do it, however, is when you're face to face. Research has shown that people are 34 times more likely to say yes to an in-person request than one made over email.
If you're working with a team of producers, it may be helpful to create a system that stirs up a little healthy competition for referrals. To do that, you can track how many referrals each producer generates, along with the number of those referrals who actually become customers.
With that information, you can track conversion rates for every producer's referrals. Look for fun ways to reward producers who excel in this area or anyone who improves on their referral total or their conversion rate each quarter.
People love free stuff, so rolling out some incentives could prove to be highly effective. Establish a referral program that offers rewards to your current customers when they refer people they know to your agency.
For every referral, offer a small gift or gift card to your clients. Another option to consider is making a charitable donation to a local nonprofit for the referrals you receive. Incentives like these can excite your loyal customers and turn them into brand ambassadors for your agency. Just be sure to check your state and local laws first. Some states have regulations regarding certain types of rewards.
The process of sending referrals your way should be straightforward for your clients. Don't make them search for the right information — make it loud and clear. Put referral links in your email signature, so all they have to do is click the link and fill out the referral info.
You can also create simple referral cards for your clients. These are similar to a business card but, in addition to your contact information, there's a space for your customer to write their name. They then give that card to their friend or family member, who presents it back to you when you meet with them. When you get the card back, you can reward the original customer for their referral.
Even if you don't use them in conjunction with a rewards program, referral cards can make it easier for your current clients to refer others to your agency.
As an insurance agent, you're part of your local business community. Valuing your part in that community can go a long way toward building your long-term success.
Your business relationships can be mutually beneficial, allowing you to send customers back and forth. Think about the local real estate agents, car dealerships, financial planners, and others whose customers need insurance. Likewise, your customers may need their services.
Taking time to build relationships with other local professionals who can refer their customers to you (and you to them) can be incredibly helpful. Carve out time in your schedule to attend networking events, trade shows, and other local opportunities. Carry extra business cards with you so that you can hand them out to other business owners you meet — and ask for their cards in return. Together, you can help one another grow and thrive.
If you're doing all of the above and generating a steady stream of referrals, that's great. But do you know how well that referral program is working? You need a simple system in place for measuring how effective your program is and how you can improve it.
Start by tracking the basics for your existing customers. How long are they staying with you? What have their claims experiences been like? Have they filed any complaints? Not only can you use this information to better serve that client, but you can also use it to determine which clients are happiest (aka, those most likely to give you a strong referral).
When it comes to the referrals themselves, be sure you're tracking which methods are working best. Which referral sources seem to generate the best leads? Which producers are most successful at following up? Are rewards effective? Gathering and analyzing data will help you to ensure you're making sound decisions for your insurance business.
It's natural to feel nervous asking your current customers for referrals. Most insurance agents feel a little awkward at first. The best way to get comfortable is to keep asking. As you continue practicing, asking will become more natural.
Now, keep in mind that asking for referrals, even if you've delivered exceptional customer service and nailed the timing, won't necessarily work immediately. But you do need to plant that seed in your customer's mind before you start seeing the fruits of your efforts. In other words, the more you introduce the idea of referrals to your customers, the more likely they'll be to take action.
Before you start asking customers, though, you should ask yourself a few questions:
Referrals are incredibly valuable. After all, they're the most inexpensive way to gain new, quality customers. Always show your appreciation to those clients who send new customers your way. You might also consider keeping them up to date with the progress you make assisting their referrals. Doing so can help to make them feel more involved and valued.
Another way to show appreciation for the referrals your customers provide is to send a personalized thank you message. Send them an email or mail a card that expresses your gratitude for their assistance, and let them know just how much their actions help your businesses. When your customers feel truly appreciated, they may be more likely to send even more referrals your way.
Generating leads through referrals can take some time. So long as you stick to it, though, you'll start to see your efforts pay off.
While referrals are an excellent way to earn more business, they're not your only option. When you're in between leads and referrals, you can leverage Nectar. Using Nectar, you can purchase quality leads for the products you sell.
Nectar doesn't buy leads from third-party sites and then resell them. Instead, we generate fresh leads using our own sources. We connect health, life, and Medicare insurance shoppers with you by matching what they're looking for with what you have to offer. After all, bringing together compatible customers and insurance agents makes the process better for both parties. Customers get a more personal, higher-quality experience, and the agent is more likely to gain new business. It's a win-win for everyone.
Are you interested in purchasing real-time insurance leads to help boost your business? Nectar makes the process easy. Sign up with Nectar today to get started.
This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.