Master Your Closing Follow-Up to Generate More Referrals

Generate client referrals

No matter how long you’ve been selling health insurance and employee benefits, you probably know that referrals are important to your business. They can bring you high-quality leads at a low cost. Plus, if you nurture referrals, they can fill your business pipeline for years to come.

Consider these referral statistics:

  • Nielsen says that 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, and they are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend.
  • 81% of consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts, as compared to 78% persuaded by posts by the brands they follow on social media. (Marketforce)
  • Research by the Boston Consulting Group found consumers rely on word-of-mouth up to 10 times more than paid media.
  • Harvard Business Review says referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value as compared to non-referred ones.
  • A referred customer is 18% more loyal than a customer acquired by other means. Referred customers are four times more likely to refer others to your brand. (Annex Cloud)

If you successfully work with a business owner to quote and enroll their employees in a group health plan, saving them money in the process, you’ve created an excellent opportunity to turn that happy client into a referral source.

What to Do to Encourage Referrals

Throughout the sales process, it’s important to ask your clients for feedback to ensure their ongoing happiness. This demonstrates your concern and care for the business owner and employees as you move through the sales process – from education to engagement, and from quote to enrollment and close. You might consider a post-sale survey or phone call to seek feedback on all that worked well – and anything that did not go quite as well as expected. This will help you improve and ensure an even more successful process in your next effort.

A post-sale thank-you gift can help you express your appreciation for your client’s business and set the stage for additional outreach in the future. If you built a connection with your client learned anything during your conversations with the owner or benefits manager about their hobbies or outside interests, you might consider whether that information can help you find the right gift. You want something that reflects your diligence in getting to know them and their business. Your gift should be personal, professional, and memorable. It should be something that reflects well on you and your agency – and creates a positive, lasting impression. That can help you when you reach out again in the future for a testimonial or referral.

Again, your timing is critical. You want to ask for referrals after you’ve proven yourself. Your client needs to feel confident that you’ll be able to deliver comparable five-star service to those they refer. If you successfully score a referral, follow up right away. You don’t want to risk a lead going stale because of your delayed outreach.

Consider an added reward for those who share referrals. At a minimum, send a written thank you and say how much you appreciate their business and the referral.

If you add something new to your portfolio in the months or year ahead, consider reaching out again to share the news and ask if they know others who might be interested. If any referrals become clients, be sure to let your client know, so they are aware of your successful outreach and new client relationship.

In considering your reward options, look at your existing client roster to see if they might sell a gift card or a gift basket that you can use to incentivize more referrals. You can then build a stronger connection to another client from whom you might seek a referral in the future.

Asking for referrals – especially in the beginning – can be challenging. However, it does become easier over time, especially when you’re able to prove your value to those you serve.



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