Centers of influence are the difference between getting a fish and having a stocked pond in your backyard.

Many insurance agents confuse centers of influence with simply accountants or attorneys. Many times, centers of influence are prominent business owners, public officers, friends, etc. These people must know the importance of referrals, and the insurance agent must report back to them on his or her success or failure, and always must drop a note thanking them when he or she does business with a referral. (I enclose a $2 bill as a unique reminder.)

When meeting with a referral, the agent always should indicate how happy he is with the referral, thus setting the stage for additional referrals from the prospect, even if the agent doesn’t do business with the prospect.

The agent shouldn’t be afraid to refer clients to other clients. This is classic networking. If the agent expects clients to refer him, he must be willing to do the same.

The agent should introduce himself to a prospect as if the prospect is a center of influence. Prospects are more likely to meet with the agent when they feel he is not trying to sell them something, but pick their brains.

Most importantly, when a client refers a prospect, the agent must treat the prospect with the highest degree of professionalism. If the agent is unable to do business with the referral, the referral at least wants a good feeling about the way the agent does business. Guaranteed, the prospect will talk to the client. The referrer must feel that he or she is doing his friend or associate a favor by making the referral.

Asking for referrals will become second nature and provide the agent with more prospects than he is able to handle. If this becomes the case, the agent should indicate when or if he will be calling the referral.

Editor’s note: The preceding Million Dollar Sales Idea was originally published in the February 1992 issue of Life Insurance Selling.

For more Million Dollar Sales Ideas, click here.

For more on centers of influence, see:

Sales Sizzlers: Be a Center of Influence to Centers of Influence

Build influential partnerships

Create your own ‘Board of directors’