Getting more referrals is NOT just about asking for them.
Although asking at the right time is critical to this process, referral culture is basically drawing a line in the sand and stating …
“My Business Will Be About Referrals, … AND … I will design and execute the best system for me and my team for attracting them into our agency.”
Most people receiving this message have already stopped reading because they think they “know about a successful referral system.” Most all of them are likely wrong in that assumption. I was guilty of this mindset for more almost two decades into my insurance career.
In 2004, 2-3% of our new business applications came from referrals. I drew that line in the sand, and in 2005 our new biz apps from our referral system were 18%. In 2012, I sold my agency to Wendy Murphy and our referrals accounted for over 1/3 of our new biz apps. Today, it’s about the same number.
Over 100 agents have shared with me similar success stories. Many more have complained to me or my team it doesn’t work for them. I do not buy it.
Your team plays a KEY ROLE in all of this, and here are some ideas for you and your team to turn into action:
- Every team member needs to know WHY you want to attract more referrals. What are the benefits to our agency? What are the benefits to your clients and centers of influence that refer you?
- Every action you and your team do in dealing with your clients either increases or decreases your refer-ability factor. From how they answer and talk on the phone, to returning calls as promised, to . . . everything. Therefore, your team is CRITICAL to attracting referrals.
- Coach and teach your team how to deal appropriately with clients that have concerns or are upset at the agency or the insurance companies we represent. Do they get defensive without even realizing it? Do they back away and are not really there for your client?
- When a team member senses a client may be unhappy with something, do they proactively help the client express their feelings? Or do they at least tell you about it right away?
- Your team should be trained to recognize the “magic words” or statements of expressing your agency’s value. They can plant a seed with a statement like, “we’re not secret agents, please tell your friends and family about us.” Or a more direct statement like the one that I prefer, “You know about our referral rewards program right?” These are just 2 simple scripts of 17+ we have available.
- Your team needs to know what you are doing to get more referrals, and have them hold you accountable for this new behavior. It is important that both you and your team can see each other’s reactions as you “switch” roles.
- Go through your Referral Rewards Program with all of your team and give them the numbers so they can fully see their role in this very important process that can change the dynamic of your business.
As I stated earlier, creating the referral culture in your agency starts with you. There are things you are going to have to do differently to build this incredibly valuable system. If you are willing to focus on this process, I guarantee you will build something that will change your business forever.