Health insurance agencies and brokerages—and, really, every small business, for that matter—are focused on landing more clients and growing their operations.
To do this, they invest in marketing and advertising, and they hire effective sales teams that focus exclusively on closing more deals.
It turns out that there’s another way to grow your business—one that’s more cost-effective and, with the right approach, requires fewer resources to get done the right way.
By building a robust insurance referral marketing engine that encourages your most enthusiastic supporters to sell your business on your behalf, you can quickly and rapidly scale your company—without so much as lifting a finger once the program is in place.
Why is that?
Research suggests that we’re much more likely to be persuaded to buy something or do business with someone based on recommendations from people we know. In fact, one study found that 84 percent of people trust recommendations that come from their peers.
Add it all up, and if you can convince your happiest clients to sell your business to the folks in their network, you can land more and more clients without much heavy lifting.
But how exactly can you convince clients to refer business your way? Let’s take a look at six ways to get referrals from your current clients.
1. Come up with a referral plan
You can’t just decide to launch a referral marketing program and expect to get fantastic results. Like with anything else, the more planning you put into it, the better you can expect to wind up on the other side.
So first things first: Come up with a referral plan that makes sense for your business. Determine what you need to do to get your customers interested in referring your business in the first place.
For insurance agencies and brokerages, that starts with adding value for clients and meeting their needs. Because the needs of every business are different, where you go from there will vary. Research your options, see what kinds of referral marketing strategies might work, and create a plan that makes the most sense for your business.
2. Set goals
Once you’ve put together a referral marketing plan, you need to figure out how, specifically, you’re going to measure its effectiveness. After all, your goal should be to continuously improve your plan so you can continue growing your business.
The easiest way to do that is by outlining specific goals and seeing how you measure up against them at specific intervals—like once a month or once a quarter.
For example, if you’ve just launched your referral program, you might be satisfied with landing one or two new clients a month. Once you’ve met that goal, maybe you’ll aim for five new clients a month, and so on.
3. Offer incentives
You might be one of the lucky ones who are able to convince customers to go to bat for them out of the kindness of their own hearts. But time is finite, and—if we’re being honest—it’s unlikely that most people would volunteer their time on a regular basis if they’re not getting anything out of it.
An easy way to encourage your clientele to evangelize on your behalf is by offering incentives to do so. It doesn’t have to be anything major, either. Maybe you can fork over something like a $10 Starbucks gift card for every successful referral.
A little incentive can go a long way toward convincing your clients to spread the word on a regular basis.
4. Deliver a great experience
Let’s take a step back. Just because you have a business doesn’t mean your clients are going to automatically be keen on referring you to their friends and colleagues.
In order to make your agency or brokerage viable for referral marketing to begin with, you need to deliver an exemplary client experience in each interaction.
To do that, position yourself as a trusted adviser by anticipating clients’ needs and communicating with them frequently about changes in health insurance laws and regulations.
5. Ask enthusiastic customers
Some of your clients may very well be happy with the services you offer. But they might be too busy or too private to want to refer your business to people in their networks.
Instead of just asking any old customer to participate in your referral program, start with the folks who are the biggest fans of your company. Odds are that you know who at least a few of these clients are off the top of your head.
6. Advertise your referral program
Your clients won’t know your insurance referral marketing program exists unless you tell them about it.
It might seem obvious, but it’s something you don’t want to overlook: Grow your referral marketing program by advertising it on your website through blog posts, via email marketing, and on social media. The more clients who learn about your referral marketing program, the more clients who will likely participate in your program.
The bottom line?
It might take some time to launch and grow a successful referral marketing program. But with enough patience and the right approach, you can encourage your clients to sell on your behalf—growing your agency or brokerage in an incredibly cost-effective way.