A widely held misconception by insurance agents is that referrals are a knee-jerk response to great customer service. Therefore, many agents give little thought to ways in which they can directly increase positive word-of-mouth – not knowing that, by in large, even the best agents are not being referred to others. In fact, the gap between your referral sources and happy customers could be larger than you expected. A 2010 Economics of Loyalty study performed by Advisor Impact and Vanguard found that in the financial services industry 83% of satisfied customers reported a willingness to recommend services to others, but only 29% of customers actually do so.
So why aren’t more of your clients referring you? Again, some do when the opportunity arises, assuming they trust you and are happy with your service – that is, you are referable. But the problem stems from the nature of purchasing an insurance policy. The decision to change or buy new insurance is almost always invoked by a change or event that requires swift action. In other words, the window of opportunity for an agent to capture a new client is relatively small. Unless a prospect mentions they are looking for recommendations for insurance to one of your promoters the opportunity is likely missed.
Give your promoters a reason to talk
Finding ways to get in front of your customers and inspire them to talk about you as much as possible will expand the opportunity to become referred. Consider being a proactive source of education and resources for your clients that they can share with others. The more you are mentioned in conversation the greater chance you have of becoming referred when their friends and family are in the market for insurance. By using your informed clients as ambassadors they will have far greater reach and influence than traditional marketing.
Keep it interesting and relevant
Look for subjects that your clients will find interesting. Consider your audience and ask yourself what they will share with others. For example, rather than outlining trends in the industry, find facts that will intrigue home or business owners. Separate personal and commercial lines and tailor your communication accordingly. Quick absorbing facts are best because they are easily recalled and sharable -especially those subjects that reach a wide range of people. The most effective are those that bring everyday subjects and insurance together. Jason Cass of JDC Insurance Group did a great job with his post talking about dog breeds and its impact on insurance. This is an interesting story which will bring insurance into everyday conversations.
Most importantly, ask yourself if the education you are providing is captivating enough to share with others. The goal is to get your clients to pass the information on to friends and family and inspire the question “where did you hear that?” If the audience is at all shopping around for insurance this is a perfect segue to a referral. The more people you reach with gripping and educational content – the more opportunities you create for referrals.
Check out more ways in which you can inspire your clients to talk about you via positive surprises.