insurance-marketingTo grow your business, you need new leads. For lead generation, few insurance marketing strategies can beat word-of-mouth advertising. So, the question becomes: how can you get leads while making use of word-of-mouth of mouth advertising? And the answer is simple: by asking for referrals.

Getting referrals is a key insurance marketing strategy. Despite this, many people are reluctant to ask for referrals. Maybe they’re shy. Maybe they’re worried about coming off as annoying. Maybe they’re discouraged by past failed attempts. We could list possible reasons all day, but if you want to achieve greater success, there’s no room for excuses. You need referrals, so it’s time to learn how to ask for them.

1. Be Referral-Worthy.

Great service is the foundation of referrals. When you know that you’ve done an excellent job in advising your clients, and you truly feel confident that no one else could serve them or their friends better, referrals come easier. When clients tell you how much they appreciate you, tell them that you’d appreciate the opportunity to help their friends too. Then, provide them with a few business cards. This should be a natural, easy process. When you’ve truly helped others, they want to tell their friends.

2. Get Established as a Contact on Clients’ Smartphones.

These days, one of the easiest ways to make a referral is to share a contact from your phone. So, it’s important to be a contact on your clients’ phones so they can easily share your information. Add this to the agenda of your first client meeting. While clients are with you, set them up as contacts on your phone. Then text them, so they can easily add you as a contact as well.

3. Provide Sharable Information.

Many people love sharing information. It’s pretty much the entire basis of social media. Take advantage of this by encouraging clients to share interesting articles, infographics and stats.  Have them link to your website or forward an email you’ve sent. This is a great way to get clients to spread the word about your services.

4. Develop a Good Script.

If you find yourself getting tongue-tied, a good script is the solution. Take time to think about what you want to say and how you want to start. Keep it positive and be direct. Also, don’t be afraid to say you’re asking for a favor. According to the Ben Franklin effect, asking for a favor actually makes people like you more.

5. Host Client Events.

When you invite your best clients to go wine tasting, fishing or sailing, they tell their friends. Those conversations often lead to referrals. Just remember, you don’t have to be fancy. Sometimes inviting clients to join in a charitable endeavor or a walk for a good cause is equally engaging and conversation-worthy.

6. Develop Centers of Influence.

Anyone who works with clients like yours could become a Center of Influence. Think about accountants, attorneys, bankers, realtors, other types of insurance agents and other professionals. Tell them that you’d love the opportunity to help their clients, and you’ll also send your clients their way if a need arises.

7. Automate Referral Reminders.

Add a line to your email signature, or a P.S. to your letters, inviting clients to refer you. You can also add a section to your website and a blurb at the bottom of your invoices.

8. Communicate Frequently.

Plan to connect with your clients every month. Some months, this may happen by sending a newsletter or connecting on a social channel. Other months, it should be more personal – such as sending a note with a link to a relevant article or an important financial tip. Remember birthdays and holidays too. If you are top-of-mind with your clients, they will be more likely to refer you.

The Bottom Line

Using the eight tips above, you can begin to use referrals as an effective insurance marketing tool. Never forget that you must provide consistently great service, communicate frequently, and show you really care. If you aren’t covering the basics, none of these tips will help you get referrals.

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