Referrals. They are an ego boost, a testimonial that you’re doing a good job and one of the most cost-effective customer acquisition channels ever.
In the Life Insurance business, referrals are crucial marketing and business growth channels for Advisors. We need people to show that they trust us, and confidently pass us on to their friends and professional network. In an industry where trust is everything, word-of-mouth goes a long way, whether it’s positive or negative.
The crux: If your clients are leading you to more clients, then you’re doing something right. But if they’re not, then it’s likely that you’re overlooking a few aspects.
Whether you get referred on or not is dependent on a few different factors. Some of these factors are outside of your control. For instance, perhaps your client’s network doesn’t necessarily need your service.
But if you’ve got a right-fit client and you’re working with them, then they probably know other people like themselves. The good news is that you can take complete control over most of the factors that make you sought-after and referable.
Let’s take a look at what it takes for people to gladly pass your number on to people they know.
Make sure your clients are 100% convinced of your value
People are skeptical of who they hand off their valuable relationships to, so apart from doing a great job, you also need to be someone who they are sure would handle those relationships with the same great care that they do.
So before anything else, you need to be confident that you are providing something worth referring on. Perfect your product or service so that referring you on is almost natural.
Make sure your clients are convinced of your VALUES
Your work ethic, integrity, and reliability cannot come under question in the slightest if you want to get referred on.
It could be something as simple as showing up on time. While I might be patient with you and understand why you arrived a few minutes late, I might not feel comfortable passing you along to a busy business person whose time is precious.
Tightening up your customer service from every angle is an essential base to build an effective referral network on.
Follow through on your commitments
This is a big one: Do what you say you will do. If you just talk big, draw a great picture but don’t deliver on the promise, then it’s all just shallow sales talk.
Your existing clients might not stick around too long themselves in that case, let alone pass you on to others.
So when you commit, whether it’s the promise of a follow-up, or delivering on a project, be sure to follow through. Always finish what you start.
Common courtesy goes a long way
Remember that you are never too busy to be nice. Be polite, respectful, and mindful of anyone you work with.
It might be worthwhile to note here that being nice is easy when the person on the other end is, too. But if you find yourself referred to a rather demanding or unpleasant client, you’ll need to turn up the tact.
Never change your respectful, amicable approach, and be especially careful of how you handle, enter, or even choose to exit the relationship. Gentle does it!
I recall an incident where I asked a promising Junior Advisor to join me for a client meeting. This client and I had decided that we would soon part ways because our approach to investments was too different. It was a “happy divorce” for valid reasons that we both saw, and I wanted to help find him another Life Insurance Advisor.
And I thought this particular Junior Advisor might be a good future fit. The young Advisor was extremely excited at the prospect; this would be a big client for him if it happened.
But he wasn’t excited enough to show up on time. Five minutes into our meeting, he sped towards our table in full-sprint, suit flying and briefcase flailing. He hastily cut into our conversation, apologized over and over, and went on to explain the bad traffic situation that had delayed him.
My client was a multi-business owner, and a stickler for time. This was not going to fly with him, and I know this was a no-go right away. The Junior Advisor ruined his chance before he even got it.
As trivial as little things like running a few minutes late or sending an email a week late seem, they dent your client’s ‘refer-ability confidence.’ There’s a reason why one of the most common survey questions is, ‘Would you refer us to someone you know?’
It’s the one answer that tells you all you need to know about your product or service.
On this note, I must say that I’ve managed to work exclusively on referrals for the last 18 of my 20 years in business. I depend solely on my existing clientele to introduce me to my right fit clients – people who they think I will get along with well and people to whom they think I can add value
Referrals have been such a core tool for me that over the last 18 years, I have never made a ‘cold call’, and I’ve never spent money on advertising for new business either.
What do you look for in someone that you’re willing to refer on? More importantly, what is a total no-no trait that will keep you from referring someone on?