Do you feel your referral strategy isn’t working? There are many misconceptions around referral programs for insurance agencies.
After studying referrals in the insurance industry for 10+ years, we've found that there are several reasons why people will and won’t recommend their agent.
What doesn’t work
Let’s start with strategies that don’t work. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t recommend their insurance agent because of these reasons:
- Their insurance agent directly asked them for a referral.
- Their insurance agent said something like, "don't keep us secret" or "a referral is the best form of compliment.”
- Their agent included a "refer me" button or hyperlink in their email signature block.
- Their agent offered an incentive for a referral, like a $20 gift card.
Most people don’t know which of their friends are currently shopping for insurance, so asking directly for a referral is unlikely to lead to new business. People rarely look at email signatures unless they’re scanning for a phone number. Don’t rely on your email signature to generate referrals. Gift cards are effective at showing appreciation after clients refer others to you but should never be positioned as the incentive for someone to send a client your way.
Instead of relying on the same old referral strategies that haven’t worked in the past, focus on the reasons customers are most likely to recommend your agency:
- They want to help their friends, family or colleagues.
- They had a positive experience with their insurance agent worthy of sharing with others.
- They know their insurance agent appreciates their referrals.
Let’s explore each of these reasons in more detail.
People want to help friends and family who need insurance
People need to believe you will take care of anyone they send to your agency. When someone recommends your agency, they expect their friends and family to receive the same level of service they receive themselves.
Your customers will occasionally have conversations about insurance in everyday life, for example, when one of their friends complains about their insurance provider. In moments like these, you want your customers to speak up and recommend your agency.
To make that happen, keep a close eye on and respond to NPS® surveys and customer feedback.
Thank your promoters and follow up with detractors. Reach out to customers proactively throughout the year with personalized, valuable communication. When you send a welcome card, mention your willingness to take care of their friends and family.
Your clients will remember all of that when someone asks them for a recommendation.
People had a positive interaction with their insurance agent
People only tend to bring up the topic of insurance with others when they've recently had a positive or negative experience with their agent. By creating more positive experiences for customers throughout the year, you increase the chances they'll bring you up in conversation and refer others to you proactively.
Send handwritten cards for their birthday, the holidays or just to thank them for being a loyal customer. These personal and mostly unexpected touchpoints show appreciation and ask for nothing in return. They are an investment in client relationships that create experiences customers are likely to tell others about.