The success of an independent insurance agency depends on how well you maneuver around the never-ending cycle of reaching and converting clients. Growing a client base comes down to marketing and referrals. Marketing is the key to signing your first group of clients, and once you start to build a client list, you should immediately start leveraging clients to act as a gateway to referral partners.
Meeting referral partners
Networking groups and events are a great source for meeting other professionals who could be potential referral partners. However, networking events only initiate the introduction. Once you are in front of other professionals that could become valuable referral partners, it’s up to you to sell your potential and worth. Any referral partnership needs to be a give and take.
Participating in professional networking events or joining local chapters of a networking group will prove your ambition and passion; it won’t show proof of your value; that’s where using valuable clients as referrals for valuable referral partners comes into play.
Clients are a gateway to referral partners
The value of a client goes beyond the number of policies they are holding and their growth potential. Clients also have marketing value for your agency. They embody your abilities and prove your value, something that referral partners will want to see upfront before considering a partnership.
Showing a client list that is in line with the ideal clients of a referral partner is a good start, but coming in with a personal referral from a client will hold much more weight. A client who is willing to introduce you to their financial planner, mortgage broker, real estate agent, etc., is proof that you have clients who are willing to vouch for your abilities.
Happy clients will always be your best growth resource, so take advantage.
Asking clients for referrals
Asking a client for referrals is a delicate process. You don’t want to seem pushy, desperate, or awkward. Before you push out an email blast to all clients asking them to open up their professional network, take a minute to evaluate your relationship with each client. A brand new client relationship may need a bit more nurturing before you ask for a referral. However, a client relationship that feels solid is ripe for you to take the next step.
Once you’ve identified the right clients, be confident and transparent when you ask. Your clients are also professionals and decision-makers; they know the name of the game. If they are truly happy with the value you have provided them, they will want to refer you to their network. If a client is hesitant to give you a referral, it may be time for you to re-evaluate your process and determine why, but that’s a topic for another time.
AAI is a professional network helping independent insurance agents grow their business bigger, faster, more efficiently. Contact us for more information on the benefits of joining our network.