Think about the last sale you closed. Do you remember how your new client was feeling when they signed the policies and made you their agent?
Chances are they were pleased, satisfied or delighted to be saving money, resolving a technical problem, or looking forward to support and service that had been lacking in their prior agent relationship. Otherwise why would they have given you their business?
What if, right there on the spot, you had asked:
“Now that we’ve…” – and here you remind them of the specific advantage(s) they’ve gotten by becoming your client – “can I ask a favor? Would you call one of your business contacts right now, let them know how we’ve helped you, and ask if they’d be open to meeting with me so I can provide a cost and coverage review for them too?”
Of course asking your clients for referrals isn’t anything new. Good agents do it all the time. But the key here is to leverage the immediate good will and enthusiasm people feel when they know they’ve gotten a better deal.
Timing may not be everything, but it often makes an appreciable difference in how people will respond. The best time to ask someone for something is when they’re feeling the satisfaction of having gotten something themselves. That’s the optimal time to activate the “law of reciprocity.” Our brains are programmed to return favors — to reciprocate when we ourselves have benefited.
You can use the principle of reciprocity to increase business referrals by being more generous with your own referrals and connecting individuals who’ll mutually benefit. Invite people to lunch at the restaurants you insure, and encourage customers and friends to book their holiday parties there as well.
In addition to restaurants, you’ll find many other kinds of businesses that may be great referral partners — janitorial services, commercial laundries, car rental places, health care facilities, retailers, catering companies, and more.
Facilitating connections among your clients makes everyone happy and inspires people to reciprocate as well.
Here also, the way you ask and the language you use can make a considerable difference in how people respond. Take this scenario:
I’d like to offer you a business referral. One of my other clients has a big holiday party every year and I’m going to ask them to call you. Can I ask you a favor in return?
Would you be willing to call a company from the local Chamber or one of your association members and ask if they’d let me provide them with a competitive insurance review?
And you don’t have to strategize the referrals you make as tit-for-tat barter. You can just be generous without expecting something in return. Sharing contacts more liberally will just naturally inspire the recipients to feel more generous themselves.