A friend of mine, Jerry Foster, wrote a book called, Small Changes, Big Results in which he lays out a concept called the Vector Principal. Summarized, he tells how a vector change in the direction of your life or business of even one degree, when expanded over time, can have profound changes in your life.
At Rocket Referrals, our first six months was spent observing the habits of highly successful insurance companies; those with strong relationships that created the fertile fields in which referrals grew. We found that these companies weren’t necessarily head-and-shoulders above the competition when it came to sales, but that they had implemented vector changes which charted them on the path to success.
One sentence I remember sticks with me as an example of such a vector change: “Who was it that referred you to us? I’d like to send them a Thank You!”
This is emblematic of how changing one sentence can change the course of your business. Most people, when I ask if they know where their referrals are coming from, indicate that they ask new clients/prospects “Where did you hear about us?”
What they should be asking is “Who was it that referred you to us? I’d like to send them a Thank You!”
While a seemingly insignificant tweak, let’s put ourselves for a second in the mind of the listener. What do they hear when you say the latter?
1) They hear that you are assuming that they came from referral. Their interpretation of this assumption is that you are doing something right and being rewarded with referrals.
2) They hear you want to follow up with your referral sources and give them a proper thank you. This psychologically makes them feel that you have attention to detail and that you truly appreciate those people who take the time to help you grow your business.
The net effect of this vector change is that your new clients feel reinforced in their buying decision, they feel better about your company and they are more apt to make referrals when the opportunity arises.
When I was an agent, I was so focused on production and hunting and gathering that I was too busy to cultivate the relationships even with loyal clients which would have organically grown referrals. Now, after watching those who are successful, I have found small changes that make a world of difference. Here are some that you can implement today:
1) Identify top promoters among your clients and find a way to thank them consistently. Not only does it reinforce their behavior, but it also gets you operating from a place of love and gratitude which has physiological benefits to you personally. A good way to start is to find those people who have taken time out of their day to provide testimonials for your website and left reviews for your insurance company on Google and Facebook.
2) Consistency is key. Best practices for a healthy business require consistency, just like a good diet and exercise for you personally. Some agencies look at referrals like yo-yo diets, looking for a quick fix. Long-term success means building systems around you that support your weaknesses and allow you to focus on your unique ability activities. If you haven’t already, read Michael Gerber’s The EMyth Revisited.
3.) Integration. In the world of information technology, you hear a buzz word a lot: “siloed”. This comes from old grain silos where everything was housed vertically. Your knowledge about your clients needs to be integrated into the way you communicate with them. Loyalty surveys (Net Promoter Score) are a great example of how large companies are collecting information on who their most loyal clients are.
I know a Nationwide agency that provides their agents the results of Loyalty Surveys so they know their top promoters, but, according to their agents, the information never gets integrated into emails or other types of communication. You must find a way to integrate and infuse your knowledge with your business practices to become wildly successful.
I urge you to pick something small and make a vector change today. Your future self will be all smiles.