Referrals are the best way to generate new business. Unlike cold calls, a referral from a current client is akin to an automatic seal of approval. You’ll still need a good pitch and tailored products and services for all your clients’ needs, but a recommendation from a current client makes your job so much easier.
But you can’t assume your current clients will take the initiative and spread the word about you all on their own. It’s smart to take a strategic and proactive approach when it comes to obtaining referrals. You’ll need to know how to best capitalize on relationships, in other words, in order to generate more leads.
Here are the top five tips for driving your business with more referrals.
1. Use your experience
You’ve developed a rapport with your clients. You’ve probably worked with some of them for a number of years. Always keep these lines of communication open, and remember to reach out to your trusted clients to ask them how your service has been. You should touch base throughout the year — not just during policy review and renewal time. Take the time to listen to their concerns. When you go the extra mile, they’ll be much more likely to refer you to someone they know.
2. Do them a favor
If you want to generate new leads, it’s smart to learn how referrals happen. It’s all about relationships: If you work with business clients, send potential clients and customers their way. These high-influence clients are much more likely to reciprocate than initiate. And when it’s time to ask for the referral, use the direct approach, especially with people you know and respect.
3. Advice for new advisors
If you’re focused on growing your referral stream, you’ll need to do a bit of legwork — and have a lot of patience. New advisors should realize that it can take time to generate strong leads. Practice your pitch again and again; you’ll need the confidence and polish when you reach out to your friends, family and professional connections. And don’t forget to use LinkedIn to snag new prospects. Reach out to your connections on social media, too, to generate new leads.
4. Remember to network
Whether you’re a new or seasoned advisor, it pays to develop community ties by attending local business and trade events. Work with professional and charitable organizations that you respect. Once you’re involved, don’t sit on the sidelines; take a leadership role. If you’re a recognized and respected name, you’ll be welcome to ask for referrals once the time is right.
5. Take a proactive approach
Boost your referral stream by reaching out to the businesses you use — your bank, your lawyer, your accounting firm. They’re the ones who know your agency inside and out, so don’t be afraid to ask for their business — and a referral to their clients, family and friends, too.
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