Getting Referrals

Discussion in 'General Insurance Agent Discussions' started by Frank Stastny, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    As all of you know referrals, when you can get them, are the best and easiest way to increase your business. I always ask for them when I make a sale but most of the time the client is either reluctant to give me names or claims that they really canÂ’t think of anyone. I have found a much more effective way of getting referrals from clients.

    Each year I send at least three personalized and signed letters to my clients.

    A birthday letter with a cartoon at the top I created using clip art. I have found that a letter gets a much better response than a birthday card. It appears that it is something I created just for them and it is a lot more personal and a lot less expensive. I get substantially more phone calls from clients thanking me for their birthday letter than I did when I just sent cards.

    A letter one month before the anniversary date of their policy telling them they are about to celebrate their _____ year as a member of our (name of insurance company or agency) family. I also tell them that the policy they have is still the one that best suits their needs and if that ever changes I will contact them to discuss other options.

    The third letter is sent around the first of the year and it simply tells them about things Jacqueline, my wife, and I have been doing during the past year. (We got a new dog last year so I sent a picture of Jacqueline holding her new puppy at the top of the letter.) Nothing about insurance, just a letter from a “friend” of theirs. I take a very personal approach to selling. I want them to know who I am and that I do have a life outside of selling insurance. This has helped me dramatically increased my persistency. If they think of you as a “friend” they will be a lot less likely to cancel your policy when another agent contacts them.

    At the bottom of each letter I add a postscript telling them to call anytime I can be of help and to please pass my number on to anyone they know who I can help with their insurance needs. Just that brief statement has brought me more referrals, good ones, than any other method I have tried.

    I believe the key to retaining clients and getting good referrals is staying in touch with your clients. Put yourself in your clientÂ’s place. If you buy a policy and you never hear from that agent again, how loyal are you going to be to that agent? My clients buy their insurance from me, not from a company. I want them to be MY clients, not the companies clients.

    I get a printed, not even signed, birthday card from my P&C agent every year. It is sent out by the company, not the agent. It goes in the trash, as far as IÂ’m concerned they might as well have saved the time and postage.

    It is much easier to spend a little time retaining an existing client than it is going out and trying to find a new one.

    If you would like to see one of the birthday letters I send, e-mail me with Birthday Letter in the subject line. Send your e-mail to [email protected] .

    Frank
     
  2. Guest
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    Guest Guest

    That's a good approach to personal service.

    but, since it's a thread on referrals--is your method bringing in referrals?
     
  3. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy
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    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

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    Let's see, what should I have to eat today?

    Green eggs and SPAM?
    Liverwurst and SPAM?
    YIO and SPAM?

    Frank, go back to the other forum (led by Barney, I think his name is), and leave us to discuss real topics and come up with real solutions.
     
  4. Guest
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    Guest Guest

    Why is his post spam? His 'technique' might be simplistic, but perhaps he has a 'killer' letter that work better than anything anyone else has.... and he offered it. I asked for it. Of course if he uses that as an excuse to spam me latter I'll just see to it that his IP address is on all the blacklists and that will disable him for a while.

    Having been a programmer for 25 years and having a deep understanding of how the net work has a few advantages!! (You'd be surprised how many people (in late 50s and early 60s) would pay me to set up their computers and home networks... maybe I'm in the worng biz? :-))

    Al
     
  5. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    Yes, the postscript that I ad at the bottom of each letter brings me a lot of referrals. Much more than any other method I have tried. It keeps my name in front of the client and in their mind.

    The letters are a way of "gently" asking for a referral. It doesn't put the client on the spot and make them feel that they are being pressured to give an insurance agent the names and phone numbers of their friends.

    When the subject of insurance comes up in a conversation my client is much more apt to suggest giving me a call to see if I can help their friend out if I have been providing excellent service.

    You can have a dynamite sales presentation but if you don't ask for the sale you probably aren't going to get a check. The same is true with referrals. If you don't ask for them you probably are not going to get any.

    I believe that asking for referrals should be an on going process, not just when you make a sale. This is a way to keep asking for them without sending a letter requesting your client send you six names of people who you can contact. In my experience clients are very reluctant to do that.

    Bob, I'm sorry you don't believe that the thread has any value.
     
  6. cod8825
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    cod8825 Expert

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    Frank,

    I think that is a very nonabbresive method to building your business. If I might ask what lines do you sell and what methods do you use for prospecting for new clients or are you at the point where all of your new business is from referrals.

    Last question I noticed you where in Missery :lol:
    Just kidding Missouri where at I am in Kansas City. Maybe you might have a pointer to tell about your marketing methods. Just a thought
     
  7. Frank Stastny
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    Frank Stastny Guru

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    cod8825,
    Two years ago we moved from St. Louis to Calwood, a little town seven miles east of Fulton. I can't see my neighbors and rush hour consists of few pickups and a tractor or two.

    Right now I mostly work in the senior market, med supp and LTC. I have other projects that also keep me pretty busy. :)

    A good portion of my business is referrals. However, I also recycle leads I have received in the past. It isn't uncommon for me to make a sale from a lead that I received anywhere from six months to as long as two to three years ago. I occasionally buy leads but also concentrate on leads that I already have.

    At the risk of being accused of spamming, I use a computer program that has a prospects database that allows me to retain every lead I have received. I literally have every lead at my fingertips. Just because a prospect isn't interested when you initially contact him, doesn't mean that in the future his situation may not have changed.

    The guy who made disparaging remarks about your heritage the first time you called may welcome your call with open arms a year from now.

    Leads are too expensive to just throw them in a box if a sale isn't made. You should at least give that lead a second chance in six to twelve months. You may have caught the person on a really bad day.

    Keeping track of the company prospects currently have their insurance with when you make the initial call is also very valuable. If you hear that their company has just had a huge premium increase or is cancelling their policy, that former "cold" lead all of a sudden becomes "steaming hot".

    In one month I sold almost $80,000.00 of med supp insurance by being able to re-contact prospects I had talked to who had an HMO for their med supp insurance. It was almost like that HMO giving me a list of their clients.

    The HMO was cancelling people in a six county area around St. Louis in January of that year. All I did is print out a list of everyone I talked to over the past several years who told me they had that HMO and I gave them a call. It was the easiest month of selling I have ever had, and the most profitable.

    Wishing all of you a Happy Holiday Season and a Very Successful New Year.

    Merry Christmas

    Frank
     
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