I’ve just been at an insurance conference in Quebec called MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table). MDRT is an association of the world’s top 1% of insurance brokers. I was asked up on stage to give my top tip to 600 advisors. I asked one simple question, ‘’Raise your hand if you ask for referrals at every single meeting you do?'' Only one person had their hand up and that person was me. Referrals are the most powerful way to build your business yet not even the best of the best know how to get them on an ongoing basis. The reality is, getting referrals is incredibly simple – all you need to do is ask. The problem is people don’t actually realise it’s that simple.
The power of referrals
Word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. If one of your clients tells their friend that you’re good at what you do - your hard work is done. Nothing can sell you better than a personal recommendation. By being referred you’re immediately seen as someone who is trustworthy. If people trust you, they’ll do business with you. This is where cold calling is difficult - it’s hard to establish trust with someone when they have no idea who you are and they know you want to take their money.
Personal recommendations attract quality clients
I find the best clients are the ones I secure through referral. Not only are they easier to sell to but they’re generally loyal, trust my advice and are a source of repeat business. With cold calling on the other hand - you have to work much harder to make a sale. Clients usually just want something because it’s cheap - there’s no relationship and not much loyalty.
The ‘referral strategy’
My business is built on personal recommendations and I was recently asked what my referral strategy is. It’s funny, even the term ‘referral strategy’ makes people think there are complicated techniques that you need to use to get referrals. I’m going to be really frank - there is no special strategy. If you want more sales or clients you just need to be a nice person - be honest, do a good job and ask for referrals - don’t be shy and don’t forget!
The best business is referral based. Don't wait for the phone to ring - ask for referrals because businesses don’t survive without clients. Don’t waste money on advertising - the gold is right under your nose.