Pursuing new business leads through established clients is a great tactic to employ. Oftentimes, those deals are more likely to close since there’s already a certain level of trust—based on the established credibility—between you and that referred prospect.
Tips for increasing customer referrals
1. Refine your target list. Instead of asking all of your clients for a referral, focus on those that you already have a strong relationship with. Since they trust you and can vouch for your demeanor, they’ll be more likely to refer you and your agency to others. If your agency uses account health scores, tap those accounts that have the top scores for referrals, since they likely best represent your ideal customer.
2. Ask directly. You don’t get what you don’t ask for—so ask! A good time to make a referral request is directly after you’ve delivered a good experience, perhaps after a renewal or when you’ve helped a client save money. It’s as simple as asking, “Do you know anybody who needs help with insurance?”
3. Make the ask personal. Don’t send a generic request to a bunch of contacts. Try sending direct emails or picking up the phone, and remind them of the highlights of your relationship.
4. Make it easy. Hand out business cards or prepaid postcards that include your contact information, the agency’s logo, and a spot that says: “Referred by _________.”
5. Offer an incentive. While you can’t offer a discount on a policy for a referral, you may be able to offer a small incentive such as a gift card, gift, or a charitable donation in their name. You may even want to develop a rewards program for referrals. Be sure to research the laws in your state regarding paying referral bonuses to clients.
6. Add a refer-a-friend feature to your website. Add a page, form, or link to your website that allows visitors to submit the email address of a friend or generate a personalized referral link that they can share. Your website administrator can help you do this.
7. Provide an optional script. Provide your clients with a script so they can easily copy, paste, and send it to their referral. Make sure the script includes a call to action that explains what the contact should do if they are interested in talking with you (for example, call John at 123-456-7890 or click here to visit our website).
8. Make your email signature work for you. Your outgoing email signature is prime real estate. Add a “Forward My Contact Information” call to action to help the recipient to recommend you to others.
9. Establish a two-way street. Refer business to other companies that you know and trust. This can include accountants, attorneys, banks, car dealerships, contractors, financial planners, home builders, and real estate agents. Make sure the person you refer mentions your name. Creating an ecosystem of referrals can help your own business grow—as well as your clients’ businesses.
10. Leverage LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for finding prospects, making connections, and getting introduced to potential clients. LinkedIn has a useful feature that can help you get referrals. When you look at the profile of someone you’re not connected with, LinkedIn will show you if you have any connections in common. Consider asking that mutual connection to make an introduction to the prospect. Make sure that your profile is up-to-date first.
11. Ask clients to like your agency’s Facebook page. If your agency has a business page on Facebook (and it should), ask your clients to like the page. The average Facebook user has more than 150 friends, and many may be potential clients. Once a client likes your page, they’ll see your content more often—and if you post quality content, they may share it with their friends.
12. Follow up quickly. Once you get a referral, honor the trust your current client put in you by following up with the prospect that same day, if possible.
13. Thank your referral sources. Encourages clients to refer additional prospects by showing you appreciate their previous referrals to your agency. Whether it’s a call, email, or handwritten note, be sure to thank them when they send a referral your way.
Mining your current clients for new ones is a great way to leverage the relationships and trusted brand you’ve created for your agency. Good luck!
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