Are You Referable?
With the holidays approaching, most people focus that much more on friends and family, and I find it’s a good time to consider your clients a little more, as well. Perhaps a card or a personal email wishing them well, even a company newsletter full of great information to help them start the New Year. After all, like any other small business, ours is centered on relationships. We’ve got to maintain strong ties to our clients while building our books and growing our agencies.
Having built 3 agencies from scratch, and helped plenty of other agents do the same, I know referrals are an important part of the insurance business. I find a good question to ask myself this time of year is, Am I referable? Have I provided the level of service that not only makes folks feel comfortable referring me but they might even feel compelled to? This got me thinking, it’s all about word of mouth.
If I like a product, I tell everyone I know about it. For me it’s the computer program, Evernote. I introduced the entire Hometown Quotes’ office to it! We all know there’s a lot of programs out there, so what makes Evernote stick out? It works! I use it all the time, because I like to write, and I’m not always online. Evernote allows me to take notes any time and transfer them across my devices as soon as I have an internet connection. So when I get off a plane or step back into the office, Evernote automatically syncs up my writing, keeping my notes and ideas in the same place (instead of scribbled on scraps of paper or various note features on my phone). This helps me stay connected with my office and my HTQ agents.
When I find a product or idea that works, it’s exciting! I can’t wait to tell everyone about it, because I’ve found something worthwhile, and that’s true value. So how can you create a similar reaction for your customers?
1. They like your product: Like my experience with Evernote, if your clients love that you’ve explained to them the importance of Uninsured Motorist protection, for example, that’s a product they can really use! Plus, that’s the type of service the internet or an insurance kiosk can’t deliver. It’s a common misperception that value equals a reduction in price. It’s true, you can certainly earn referrals that way, but you’ll get more by offering something your clients are excited about.
After all, anyone can call an 800 number for a quote, but very rarely will a customer be told why Uninsured Motorist Protection, for example, is important. P&C agents immediately recognize the value of this, and arming your clients with the right coverage in the event of serious physical harm is providing a value your clients will be willing to pay for. Not to mention, that’s a product they’re likely to ensure their friends and family have, as well (along with talking about the great agent who made sure they were covered) because you’re not only providing them with something they need but helping them understand why it’s important.
2. They like having a local agent: Customers have a lot of options when it comes to insurance, particularly when “seemingly” similar companies compete for their business. If a potential client can find insurance online, why would they spend time with you? Because you’re local! You know the community and the risk factors specific to their area: weather patterns, flooding hazards, even the fire department locations. Moreover, you’re able to provide them the type of service a call center cannot. For example, I once had a client call me while their house was on fire. The home was still burning when I arrived at the scene. I not only gave my clients peace of mind that their claim would be filed promptly, but I was also there to help soothe nerves, as well. Having a local agent in times of crisis is priceless.
3. Bragging Rights: “I just got the best deal on…” People love telling family, friends, and their social network about a great bargain or the unbelievable service they received. I read an online post from a woman who raved about her insurance company, because that company had paid for her missing cookies after a storm ruined the family RV. Great service is often unexpected as more customers shop online, but you can bring back the type of personalized, storefront experience they won’t forget, and your clients will likely go out of their way to tell others about you!
4. People Like to Help! Don’t be afraid to ask (sometimes that’s all it takes). If your clients like your service, they’ll believe in you and want to help you succeed. Let them know that when they give you a referral, they’re helping you grow your agency, as well as nurturing a local business in their area, which enhances their community.
*Remember, when you provide your clients with the type of legendary service that only a local agent can give, it’s not just a policy, it’s protection, and that’s value! (P.S. If you like this content, feel free to refer us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. And, seriously, Try Evernote: I love it!)