The Art Of Asking For A Referral
Asking for referrals should be one of the easiest parts of your job. After all, you’re talking to a customer, who trusts you enough to put their whole world in your hands. Somehow even though it SHOULD be easy, something about picking up the phone to call for a referral can make you feel nervous. Flashbacks to asking Molly Fitzpatrick to the prom kind of nervous. If you don’t ask, the answer is no by default, so why not take the chance? Don’t worry, take a deep breath, and look through these tips to help make sure Molly says yes.
- 1. Make asking a part of the acquisition process.
When you have an insurance lead that has decided to become a customer, don’t wait to work the question into conversation. Ask them point blank if they know of anyone that could benefit from doing business with you. Posing this question now isn’t even about getting an immediate yes. It’s about letting the customer — who’s already thinking about their own security — know that you would like to bring that same level of certainty to the people in their lives. They may not get back with you in the next two weeks, but if it’s in their minds and you do right by them, then you can bank on it that they’ll recommend you whenever their own inner circle of friends and family have insurance needs and don’t know where to start.
- 2. Pounce on moments of customer satisfaction.
Did you just guide your customers through a particularly trying claim? Maybe you simply ran into them at the grocery store and found out you had a similar interest while engaged in conversation? Regardless of how it happens, watch out for the positive moments that you have with a client, and don’t let it slip by without pouncing on the referral question. As with item one, don’t panic if they say, “Not anyone I know of, but I’ll definitely keep an ear to the ground for you.” Referral requests are at their most effective when you put a lot of them out there into the world and then focus on other lead generation channels until one pays off.
- 3. Set goals/quotas for yourself.
How do you know how many referral requests you have to make before you get a yes? You don’t unless you keep track of that sort of thing. That’s why we recommend setting goals and quotas for your efforts. Start by asking 10 people for referrals during the week. That’s two times per day on a 5-day workweek that you have to ask a simple question: Do you know of anyone in your circle of friends and family, who needs insurance or could benefit from what I have to offer? Two times. Forty-eight words. Considering that the average human being can speak up to 10,000 words per minute, that’s an incredibly small commitment of time and effort. From there, see how often your referrals pay off. If it’s one in 10, then try asking for 20 referrals per week and see what happens. You’ll never know until you try, try, try again.
- 4. Be a giver.
Train yourself to do things for other people without expecting anything in return. This is one of the purest and most effective ways to get referrals. The only trouble with this is that it’s a behavior you can’t often quantify. But it will result in some extremely loyal customers, who are always ready with a referral when the opportunity presents itself. It will also make you feel better about yourself.
- 5. Don’t beat around the bush.
The more you build up asking for a referral in your mind, the more difficult it will be to follow through and the more stilted it will sound when you do. Don’t bother getting your feet wet. Just jump right in and ask. You may stumble over the words and delivery the first few times, but each time it will get easier and smoother.
Asking people for a referral may not be the make-or-break on your success, but it’s certainly an easier way to make a living provided that you put in the time and effort to lay a firm foundation. By following the tips above, we believe you can do just that. Good luck!