Every agent spends a significant portion of his or her time thinking about, reading about, and planning (or executing plans!) to increase sales. It’s what all of us want as agents because, after all, more sales mean more commissions, which means more security for our pocketbooks and our families. One of the most important ways to get more business is to ask for referrals. But if you read articles about this topic, you’ll notice a theme telling you to ask for referrals, but no one ever tells you how to do this. No more! RBI is here to end this trend. Our tutorial will teach you to increase your sales with referrals that empower your business to the next level. Here’s our top 3 recommendations, plus our bonus round for agents that want to build a referral system they can “wind up and walk away.”
“Increase your sales with referrals that empower your business!”
Number 1: Learn to pre-qualify clients
Charlie Ferrell, RBI’s National Sales Manager, is fantastic at getting referrals. We asked him for his best advice on how to build a referral base he doesn’t have to think about every day and his number one piece of advice was to pre-qualify every client before the end of the appointment, whether you sell them a plan or not. Charlie does this by understanding that every appointment with every client is about education. “If you are educating your clients on how Medicare works, it leads seamlessly into asking the question at the end, ‘Have I helped you understand Medicare better?‘” Charlie says. “If I have done my job right, my clients know what their options are, so when I hand them a business card and say, ‘Please give this to anyone that you know who could use my services,’ the response is always positive.” To implement this strategy, you should make sure that you do a good job educating your clients in Medicare before you present individual plans. You’ll spend a little more time with each client, but you’ll build a strong and loyal client base. This makes asking for the referral at the end of the appointment more natural.
Number 2: Make yourself accessible
“The key to good referrals is ease of contact for your clients,” says Rob Bever, RBI’s Director of Compliance. “With the CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines, most of my referrals come outside of appointments these days, usually within 1 week of my follow-ups.” What are those follow-ups? Rob says he hands out “piles of business cards” and reaches out to his clients with follow-up letters, birthday cards and other types of letters. He usually get some referrals about a week after his birthday card or other letter reaches his client. “If my clients have 20 business cards on hand and I’ve told them, ‘If you have any friends or neighbors who have been having trouble with their insurance, have them call me,’ I’ll get referrals that way.” The bottom line? Stay in contact with your clients through phone calls, letters and other outreach. Clients can’t refer friends to you if they don’t have a way of contacting you.
Number 3: Emphasis on value
James Gramp, RBI’s Sales Coordinator extraordinaire, says his “ask” always focuses on the value he brings to the table. “If I have done my job in the appointment, the closing statement is easy enough. I usually say something like ‘If you have friends or know someone with questions about Medicare, I’m happy to help. My services are completely free, they can just give me a call.” Jim says he always makes sure to emphasize that he is available for questions, and that he is there to serve his clients’ needs without a price tag. Pro tip: “Make sure referrals from your clients know that they have to call you due to government regulations. I usually state that explicitly in my appointments so there is no confusion,” James says.
Bonus round: Provide exceptional service and your referrals will come to you
Bob Bever, RBI’s managing member, has been in the insurance industry for over 35 years. His expertise is invaluable for picking up referrals that empower. Here’s his take, “Building your business by referrals really comes down to one statement: be the best agent that you can be. I always leave 4 or 5 business cards with my clients and tell them if they have any issues to call my mobile number. But if you build that expectation you have to fulfill it as well. Be what you advertise. My success came to me because I was willing to answer my phone anytime day or night and provide service to my clients right then.” Bob shares that when you take the time to build a rapport with your clients and then give the best customer service possible, your clients will talk about their experiences. “I still get referrals from some of my clients that I first got in the 1990’s.”
Did you like our referral advice? Do you have advice of your own? Call us at 1-800-997-3107 and tell us how you work to expand your business! If you like this article, chances are good you’ll like this one and this one. Not yet an RBI agent? Check out our list of carriers to get started contracting today!
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