When you’re an insurance broker, the extent to which you can generate referrals can have a huge effect on your bottom line. And if you’re too busy to seek recommendations from current clients and others, you’re probably missing out on significant opportunities to grow your business.
Copious research backs up the importance of referrals. For example, Social Media Today reports that U.S. marketers rank referrals as the second-best source of high-quality leads, and 54% report that referral programs generate a lower cost-per-lead than other channels. Among B2B marketers, 78% say referral programs generate good or excellent leads.
“Referral programs are a bigger deal than some companies may realize,” writes Grace Miller on AnnexCloud.com. “Every day, billions of recommendations happen just because someone likes a product or a service and tells someone, who then tells someone else, who in turn tells someone else. Chances are your satisfied customers are talking about your brand right now, but are you giving their advocacy the attention it deserves?”
In that spirit, here are suggestions for driving referrals within your brokerage.
Be clear on your competitive differentiators
In any messaging in which you request referrals, briefly remind people why they would want to refer you to people they care about. If you’re confident you can save those people money or provide them better value with your insurance products and expertise, say so.
Make referrals super easy
The less effort your customers need to expend to make a recommendation, the more apt they are to follow through. Make sure your business cards and/or fliers are effortless to obtain, and that your digital messaging (emails, texts, social media posts, etc.) is brief, relevant, visually appealing and ultra-easy to share.
Explain how referrals will be handled
Some people will hesitate to refer you because they don’t want their friends, acquaintances or loved ones to receive unwanted sales pitches. Be clear on how you plan to follow up with referrals (hint: in polite and nonconfrontational ways), and follow up by ensuring referrals are treated as VIPs.
Seek relationships with families
Suggest products to clients that may be able to help their family members; if you can build trust and credibility, you may be able to become the “brokerage of record” for extended families.
Optimize transactional relationships
Think about the other professionals you come across in your personal routines, such as health practitioners, pharmacists, bankers, retailers, teachers, clergy and financial consultants. Developing relationships with people who already work with you in other capacities could greatly expand your range of both customers and referrals.
Offer referral rewards
Widen your possibilities by establishing some kind of reward (perhaps an insurance discount, gift card or monetary reward) for anyone else who refers a customer who consults with you. To make redemption easier, you may even wish to print cards featuring your logo, agency contact information and a line that says: “Referred by _________."
Enthusiastically acknowledge all referrals
People like to know when they’re doing good deeds. Make sure you send a handwritten thank-you note to anyone who refers you to convey your genuine appreciation. You may also wish to publicly thank those people on your Facebook page.
Maximize social media
Connecting with clients as much as possible on your social media sites increases the odds your messaging will end up being seen by their friends, acquaintances and family members.
Do unto others …
Whenever possible, reciprocate with others by offering to recommend their professional services to your own contacts. In the best-case scenarios, your mutual referrals will be a win-win for all.
Remind clients of your other products
Some may be unaware that you offer goods and services other than those they’re already buying.
Cross-promote yourself with other businesses
Identify companies that target themselves toward the same audience(s) as you and arrange cross-marketing programs. Consider working with financial planners, HR services, estate attorneys, etc.
Consider email automation
These marketing programs automatically email your customers at certain intervals (or after certain triggers) to remind them of how much you would appreciate their recommendations.
Talk to the experts at Ochs (651-665-3789) for more targeted strategies on boosting referral rates for your brokerage.