If you’re still relying on referrals as the easiest way to gain prospects and drive sales, it’s time to step out of the dark ages.
This traditional style of selling life insurance was a good idea – in theory.
Unfortunately, you were probably taught that the only one way to do it was by asking a new client for a referral – right after the sale.
If you are like most agents, you shied away from this strategy.
And rightly so. You’re basking in your “bird in the hand” and don’t want to chance looking for “two in the bush.”
You don’t feel comfortable pushing your new client for this information on the heels of having just sold a policy.
And because of this, referrals generally work for a select few – agents who were simply bolder than the rest of us.
Don’t give them up all together
Referrals are still a strong way to get your next client.
You just need to change tactics.
You don’t have to – and you shouldn’t – ask for those three names at the end of your sale.
Don’t get me wrong, your clients — current and former — are your best, most logical source of referrals.
They know how you work, what your ideal client looks like and how you added value for them.
But while customers make up the top tier of your referral network, there is untapped potential for lead generation in every area of your life.
You are connected to more referral sources than you realize. And, there are new tools that can help you as well.
Changing your approach
Here’s how to build a strong referral network:
Identify referral sources that you’re already close to but may not realize it, rather than asking for names just from your new customers.
These people may not already be clients but that doesn’t matter. The names that you can get from your clients will definitely provide a “warm” introduction for you.
But so can approaching other referral sources who are like-minded and share in your natural, everyday cultural, geographic and special-interest areas.
This will create an instant connection between you and prospects, will result in potential warm leads that will more than likely have a positive response to the idea of what you do.
Think about people you know with whom you share the same cultural background, political agenda, or passion for travel or sports as you.
Because of this, they already feel an immediate connection to you, and as an extension, so will the people they know.
This results in a natural liking, inclination or feeling of identification.
Use this advantage to reach out to them to ask for referrals.
Social media strategies
And what better way to identify the “connections” that you have with possible referral sources than through social media!
Yep! Welcome to the 21st century and a new and innovative way to identify potential referral sources.
Social media is a great way for you to find out the people you know who will identify most with the prospects you most want to meet.
How it works
A good example is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a good platform for referral selling research, but it’s not the place to ask for referrals.
A LinkedIn connection is not a relationship; it’s a contact name.
Granted, everyone’s connected to people with whom they have actual relationships, but many people accept every LinkedIn invitation – even those from perfect strangers.
That’s why you should always conduct your due diligence before asking for referrals.
Until you actually talk to potential referral sources, you don’t know how these people are connected to their prospects.
Even if the referral sources do have strong enough relationships to provide referrals, you still have to make the business case for why referral sources should introduce you.
So, by all means, use LinkedIn to learn more about the networks of your referral sources.
Then, in the end, pick up the phone and ask for those referrals.
You do have a phone, don’t you?