Margie Barrie, a veteran long-term care insurance (LTCI) agent, marketer and educator, has been writing articles about long-term care (LTC) planning and related issues for years.
Today, she looks into a question about persuading clients to help bring in other potential clients.
Question: I want to increase the number of client referrals. Right now what I’m doing is not working. What advice can you provide?
Answer: This question is from me. I know I’m doing a good job providing long-term care (LTC) planning solutions for my clients. Yet, when I ask clients to give me referrals, often the reply is that they’re uncomfortable doing that. So my focus this summer is figuring out how to make this part of my practice not just successful, but incredibly successful.
For help, I contacted Bill Cates, president of Referral Coach International and the author of three books on how to acquire more and better clients through referrals.
Working with him, I realized that I needed to take a step back and set the stage for asking. So this column is the first of two parts. This part focuses more on setting the stage; next month’s column will focus on what to say and action ideas.
According to Bill, a recent study indicated that only 20 percent of satisfied clients gave a referral in the preceding 12 months. So if satisfied and loyal clients don’t generally give referrals, who does? The answer is: Engaged Clients give referrals.
Therefore, my first challenge is to develop two new processes to create Engaged Clients:
To create engagement with my new clients as quickly as possible.
To re-engage existing clients. (I admit I’ve done a really bad job with that.)
The next step is to implement what Bill calls his “VIPs” method for asking for referrals. The goal is to strengthen the relationship, thus expanding the opportunity to obtain referrals and introductions.
Here’s his VIPs Method™:
V: Have Value discussions. This includes periodically checking in and asking for feedback. Astudy showed that 72 percent of clients who gave referrals were asked for feedback.
I: Treat the request for referrals with Importance.
P: Get Permission to brainstorm.
S: Suggest names and categories.