Aug 21, 2008

  1. joshril

    joshril Guru

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    I have been receiving quite a few referrals lately (which is a good thing), and I thought I would start a general discussion/best practices thread on this.

    Basically, all I have been doing differently to get them is to ask... I've always received a few here and there, but would rarely ask. I guess my mentality was that "they already decided to buy from me, I'm just greedy if I ask for a referral." It has recently hit me that if they have chosen me as their agent, why wouldn't they recommend me to a friend?

    Anyway, I am opening this up to hear some ideas on referral gathering and maybe even some of us old guys can get back to the basics...
    joshril, Aug 21, 2008
  2. Frank Stastny

    Frank Stastny Guru

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    Everyone laughs at "the basics" but they have worked for a very long time. A shout out to the "new kids" that poo poo the use of them I have a news flash. They are still working.

    People still like personal service and they love to feel like you know them and really care.

    I work in the senior market and in the last 18 months I have written a lot of Med Supp policies on the children of people I wrote Med Supps for in the early and mid 90's who are still my clients.

    The referrals don't just come automatically and not necessarily just because you ask for them. People give an agent referrals because they both like their agent and, most importantly, because the agent has provided excellent customer service and they trust the agent.

    I believe the key to getting referrals is staying in touch with your clients. I send them birthday letters, not cards, news letters that have nothing to do with insurance, letters on the anniversary of their policy and at least once a year an informational piece about what is going on with Medicare.

    At the bottom of each correspondence I send to them I add a PS saying, "If I can ever be of help please call me anytime toll-free at 1-877-633-0808. Or, If you know anyone else I can help with their insurance needs please give them my number."

    I have never asked for referrals, especially when I'm in the home writing the application. I believe that people give referrals because I have given them quality service and earned their trust. That doesn't happen on the first meeting.

  3. Bob_The_Insurance_Guy

    Bob_The_Insurance_Guy Guru

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    Be Seen.

    Two very important words.

    As most of you know, I facilitate the Decatur Career Networking Group, that meets every Tuesday evening. The website has a link for STM Medical (me as the agent), and for Avia Dental and Vision Plans (me as the agent).

    When everyone goes around and does their 30 second introduction, I go last. Over the past 18 months of running the program, I have 4 health insurance clients, two Medicare plans (one Med Supp and one Medicare Advantage), and two life insurance cases. Not to mention the 12 STM Medicals. Of those STM's 9 found jobs within 3 months.

    I also visit a larger Job Networking Group to promote my group, share job leads, and tell them what I do. Tomorrow, I am attending that meeting, and afterwards, meeting with two of it's attendees for family health plans.

    I also visit and call on Financial Planners on a bi-weekly basis, just keeping them up to speed on what is going in with Health Insurance and Medicare, in general.

    I am meeting with a FP on Tuesday, to put him on a Med Supp, his wife on a MAPD, and for a small group for her Real Estate Company.

    Be Seen.

    Out of sight, out of mind.

    One thing that the facilitator at the Fuddrucker's Friday Job Networking meeting talks about is "Know, Like, Trust". For a job seeker, in order for someone to refer you to a company, or someone in a company, they have to know you, like you, and trust that you won't burn that bridge for them. The same holds true for us. Yes, many of our clients know us and like us. It's the trust part that takes more time, and is like fighting a ghost to get to.

    Also, the first and third Wednesday at the Department of Labor, down the street from where I live, they hold a Professional Executive Networking meeting, called the PEN group. I attend there on a regular basis, and, as a matter of fact, I will be their speaker on Wednesday, Sept. 3rd.

    You see, unemployed people:
    • won't be unemployed forever
    • know other unemployed, and employed, people
    • will give you referrals to companies they've interviewed with that don't offer group plans - great opportunity for list bill or group HSA, etc.
    • have family members that need your services, and don't want to shop on the internet. they'd rather have someone they know, like, and trust
    That's how I get referrals. I do not do the Tom Hopkins, "let's get out the phone book and find your bowling buddies" method. I ask, then stay in touch.

    Now, that's what works for me. That is not to say that it is THE way to do it. I've never won a trip, or a laptop, for most policies sold by a company. What I have, in return, is faithful clientelle, that know me, like me, and for the most part, trust me.

    I can live with that.