Referral marketing is a great way to build your business, it’s easy and low risk. It’s also a natural aspect of providing great service to your existing clients. When people have a good experience, they’re happy to share it with friends and family. However, the opposite is also true: when a customer has a bad experience, he or she will tell friends and family.
Yelp! and other social media give customers a broad platform to share negative feedback, but they can also cast a positive spotlight on you when service is extraordinary.
Providing great service is key to getting referrals; however, it’s just half of the equation.
You need to introduce the idea of referrals to your clients, and then ask them if they’re willing to refer others to you (or refer you to others). Without you “planting the seed” of a referral, you’re unlikely to get them. Even if your client is enthusiastic about the service you provide, he or she may be reluctant to shout your praises without your encouragement.
12 tips on successful referral marketing for insurance professionals:
Helping one member of a family can often lead to other business with another family member . . . or a family friend. This could include writing a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy on a parent or grandparent, getting short-term coverage for a child (after he or she ages out on a parent’s plan but before eligibility kicks in on a new employer’s plan), etc.
2. Personalize Locally
Pharmacists, health practitioners, and workers in local health food or vitamin and nutrition stores come in contact with a lot of different people every day and throughout the month. Develop relationships with these folks and you could build a substantial pipeline of referrals. If you become a friend to these connectors, they could be your bridge to connect with many in the market for Medicare, Individual & Family Plan (IFP), and other coverage.
3. Referral Rewards
Establish a program that rewards those who share referrals with you. As word spreads, you may see your referrals increase.
4. Referral Cards/Notes
Create a “share a referral” card with your network – to make it easier for them to send potential new business your way. Show your appreciation for referrals by writing a thank you note whenever a referral is made.
5. Get Social
Connecting with your clients on social media – like Facebook and Twitter – can get you in front of their friends and family, which can lead to more new business.
6. Give Referrals
Offer to share referrals with your professional network; they may be more likely to share leads with you if you’re sharing them, too.
7. Educate Your Clients About Your Products
Remind your clients of all that you can do for them. While they may not need your help now, they may know someone who could benefit from your expertise.
8. Follow Up Throughout the Year
You cannot expect a referral from someone you barely know. Build a better relationship with your clients by staying in touch with them; the more touch points, the better the relationship and the greater their trust in you.
9. Thank New Clients/New Referrals with a Gift
Introduce reciprocity and stimulate more sales (and more referrals) with a thank you gift for new clients. It can work wonders.
10. Team Up with Other Businesses
Consider sharing advertising with others in similar markets who focus on the same demographic group. You can cross-promote to each other’s target customer list.
11. Email Marketing Automation
Schedule an automated follow-up email after a specific period of working with a client. For example, maybe send a message one month after the effective date of your customer’s first (or most-recent) policy. Or set up a triggered event message – signing on, one year renewal, etc.
12. Ask More Than Once
You may find your customers may say no the first time you ask . . . or even the first few times you ask. Don’t take it personally. Build the relationship, and you build trust. As time progresses, you’re more likely to see your referral business increase exponentially.
Quotit’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can aid you in your referral efforts by helping you implement an ongoing communication program with your prospects and clients. Quotit also delivers quoting – on and off of the state and federal exchanges – plus seamless online enrollment, the ability to track leads by source and status, automated follow-through with AutoResponders, and much more.
For more on building the foundation for successful referral marketing download our whitepaper, Referral Marketing Tips & Techniques.