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Tips on asking for a referral to a potential client or peer

By July 1, 2020April 13th, 2022No Comments

My boss asked me to write something relevant to GE and link it back to the insurance industry.

So i thought, since GE is all about asking for support, the immediate relevance of this for insurance intermediaries is… referrals! Specifically, how to ask for them.

Smart right? Lol. Don’t laugh please. Support a bit.

So the general election fever has hit the Surer office as well (and this writer).

When you think about elections, regardless in Singapore or anywhere else in the world, we are essentially talking about one thing – getting the support (and votes) of your audience.

As such, we thought it will be quite apt for us to write about ‘winning support’ in the context of an insurance intermediary’s work.

At the end of the day getting customer referrals is as important, or arguably more important than prospecting to generate new business.

But… how do you go about prompting your clients or peers to refer business to you? 

Here is our take on how you can plan for such… 

Identifying your current ‘supporters’

First thing’s first…

For a referral to happen, you would first need to identify the person who might be willing to refer you to someone i.e. your supporter or advocate.

In the context of GE, this will be something like identifying (or rearranging 🙃) a GRC that parties feel they might have the best chance to influence.

One quick way any intermediary can do so, without much hassle would be to reach out to your existing set of clients with a survey.

You might be thinking… har? Survey? I’m also not say some big company?

You can ‘angle’ your survey as one that is asking your client to help you improve. 

For example ‘Hey John, Hope you have been well. I am looking to improve my service to you and all my other clients and it will be really helpful if you can provide me with some feedback on my services via this survey.’

The survey can be very quickly created via multiple free survey platforms out there like google forms, jotform or typeform.

It could also be as simple as asking the questions directly in your message to the client.

You may choose to send this via email or other chat platforms you deem best.

Regardless of the channel you use, an important question to ask would be ‘are you happy enough with my service to recommend me to your friends and family?’

Depending on the other questions you might ask in your survey… the answer to this question will immediately help you identify your ‘supporters’.

This will be the ‘GRC’ you want to ‘fight for’.

This is also a great way to not be overly intrusive – your clients can choose to ignore this message (and if they do, you know who IS NOT your supporter anyways) or they can respond at a time convenient to them.

Give them a reason

So, you have identified your ‘supporters’. 

How do you then finesse your way into asking for referrals from them?

While sometimes, and depending on how close or how confident you are of your relationship with the client, a straightforward ‘do you have any friends you think I can offer my services to?’, might suffice, in most cases, providing a reason for your client to refer your services works best.

Just like the manifesto of a political party. When I act as an advocator for a particular party, I want to be able to share the reasons why.

A reason for them to act on your behalf can come in many forms.

Some could be in terms of incentives. ‘Get a free umbrella when you refer my services to your friend today’ is one example. Of course, use this reason wisely – the incentive needs to be relevant if not you might come across as ‘try hard’ or ‘cheapo’.

You could also share the latest news on policy coverage or product with your clients and ask them if this is something that their network, friends or family might be interested in. 

Why is this a ‘reason’ you may ask? 

We live in a world where having and sharing ‘new’ or ‘first-hand’ information is something valuable. Think about it… why do you forward / share articles with your circle of friends?

Give business back to them

While in one context, you might be the salesperson, do not forget that in other situations, you might be the customer.

If your client is running a business, for example, a restaurant, take the effort (if you genuinely feel it is a good restaurant that is) to start this culture of referral by sharing with your own network about it.

The important thing about doing this is to not be shy to show that you are helping this client in his own business. 

This could be in the form of using your own social media and tagging this client in your share or, texting the client to let them know that they might expect some friends of yours visiting their restaurant.

Even if the client is not a business owner, there are many other ways in which you can show your support. If the client works in the marketing industry, help by sharing some of the campaigns his/her company is running.

Essentially, what you want to do is to show that you are willing to give as much as you are asking and that it is a mutually beneficial relationship! 

The next time this client comes across someone who might need your insurance services, you can bet your name will rank high up their list.

Make them proud

For a client to be an advocate of your service, you are essentially asking the client to put his reputation and credibility on the line as well.

So, when a client actually does so and refers business to you, MAKE THEM PROUD!

Let them be able to tell this friend ‘Eh, I told you right? John solid right? He settle everything swee swee one’

Sort of like a ‘see I told you vote PAPA is good right? Immediately got lift upgrade’

Remember that you can now enter into a conversation with a referral with a much friendlier tone and totally do so!

You would want to give them the impression that you are willing to service this referral like a friend – this could possibly make the referral feel slightly more special.

Of course, do not just pay lip service… 

While it is obviously essential that you treat every client with the utmost care, if there was ever going to be a ranking of priority clients, these referred clients should be higher up that ladder.

Stay connected

One of the key reasons someone gets referred or not could have nothing to do with that person’s service or capability.

It could just be because he/she was not top-of-mind at that point in time.

While many can argue that if you provide stellar service, you will always be remembered. 

We agree.

But you will do your cause a lot of good by staying connected anyway!

You would expect the party you have voted into power for your constituency to be present not only during elections right?

Staying connected does not have to be intrusive or ‘stalkerish’.

On social media, if facebook or instagram might be a little too personal, then try linkedin. If they are working for a particular company, follow their work – it could be subscribing to their blog or using the app they have a part in building, marketing or working at.

And at relevant times, comment, feedback or like mentioned in a point above, share their work.

While most part of this article has been dedicated to tips on asking for referrals from clients, we understand that referrals also mean a lot in the General Insurance industry between intermediaries as well.

One quick way to start doing so is putting yourself ‘out there’.

Tell fellow intermediaries that you are available to help with their referral requests via Surer!

Here at Surer, we have what we call a ‘Referral Circle’.

All users of Surer can start searching for and adding other intermediaries into their ‘Referral Circle’ where…

Every. Single. User. On. Surer. Is. An. Intermediary.

What this means is that by being a user of Surer, you are automatically making yourself available (but not obligated of course) for potential referrals from other intermediaries.

Once you are part of another intermediary’s ‘Referral Circle’ that intermediary can then send you referral requests – and the two of you can start working on a deal, track the progress and close it together via Surer!

Below is a demo of how this works (it takes all of 9 seconds – it is that simple!)

Of course, and especially when it comes to referrals, we make it abundantly clear in our platform usage guidelines that due diligence is still required on the part of all agents to inform their clients of such and for the client to be left in no doubt.

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