Do you still get that jittery feeling, stomach all tied up in a knot when your conversation with a prospect or a client is winding down and coming to an end… and you know it is time for you to perform the inevitable – ask for referral!
Many of us still do. It isn’t easy sitting across from a client or prospect we want to impress by looking confident, then suddenly, out of nowhere, come out and ask them for the names of their friends and not appearing desperate while doing so.!
The truth is, we only appear to be desperate because we think it is a desperate act. It isn’t. Especially if done right. And this is just what we will be touching on right now.
So when it comes to referral marketing, here’s what you need to know:
1. It’s completely natural
The rest of the tips here won’t work until you’ve mastered this first one because it has everything to do with your mindset and attitude. Understand that asking for referral is a part of the sales process and that the process isn’t complete if you don’t carry it out. Instead of thinking of it as a desperate and embarrassing act, see it as a way for you to extend your noble service to a wider network of people. And you are starting with your client’s friends.
Key point here: You are offering a noble service that adds value and enriches lives. Be proud!
2. Make it impossible for them to refuse
Imagine going to a restaurant and had the best meal of your entire life! Wouldn’t you want to shout about it so that the whole world would know?
More often than not, people are hesitant in giving out referrals because they aren’t convince of the service offered. The only way to avoid this is by giving your clients top-notch service, each time, every time so they cannot say no to you when you ask for referral.
Yes, be just like that best meal in the example above!
3. Make it easy for your clients to refer you
Perhaps a friend asks your client for the name of a good insurance agent and the client immediately thought of you! Great job agent! You must have really left a positive impression on your client. But wait, what if he/ she scrolls his or her contact list in her phone and couldn’t find your number? “Oh well” he or she said to the friend, “I’ll look for it later,” and never did. Ouch.
So make it easy for your client to refer you. If your name is long and complicated and no one seems to be able to remember, try using a short and friendly nickname, like Joe or Edi. Print fun referral cards (not the boring call cards our agency print for us) for your clients to hand out. Or make use of an mobile app like iBantu that can act as a digital business card that clients can easily share with their friends!
Come on agents, time to get creative!
4. Be precise with your request
Don’t just ask for referrals, but ask for the right referrals! “Do you have any friends you can think of who might want to buy insurance?” is not the question you should be asking. Before you ask, you should first identify the type of referrals you want from your client.
If the client is a 30 year old, well to do, just married man, whom you just sold a life insurance policy to, you may want to ask him if he has any friends who may also benefit from the same plan, or are looking to start investing for the future. Explain a little bit about these other plans and who they are best for, it will help your client in narrowing down a few specific individuals.
When you give quality input when asking for referral, you will get quality referrals in return!
5. Show your appreciation
Be sure to show your clients how much you appreciate them for all the referrals they have given you. It can be something really small, like a RM30 Starbucks member card all wrapped neatly with little bows and ribbons with a nicely printed note that says “Thank You”.
And if you have managed to close a big sale with one of your clients’ referred friend, take your client out for a nice meal, or present them with a personalized gift that they would be proud to carry with them everywhere they go and show off to their friends – like an organizer or leather name card holder. And before you know it – more people start calling you up!
Make it thoughtful, it’s not about how much it costs.