The Gentle Art of Insurance Referral Marketing
There’s a powerful force we instinctively use every day when we make decisions. It’s a force that business marketers want to tap into, because it can create powerful, profound results — And it’s a force you can take advantage of when it comes to selling insurance.
What is that force? One simple word — Trust.
More specifically, building trust by having people recommend your insurance products and services to others. The fancy-schmancy marketing term for this is “Customer advocate led referral marketing” but that’s entirely too much of a mouthful. What you need to know is that encouraging and incentivizing your insurance clients to refer their friends, family, and associates can get you plenty of new business, stat.
So, how do you go about doing just that? Glad you asked…
Learn about your existing customers. The first thing you need to do is to find out all about your existing customers — Who they are, what they do, the things they care about, what they need insurance for, and the lines of business they have with you.
Although you’re aiming to build an emotion (trust), ironically, it’s from cold, hard data you’ll be able to find the people who will speak up for you. Once you know who they are, you can start communicating with and incentivizing them.
Look for long-time clients, those who you solved a messy claims issue for – The ones who drank your proverbial Kool-Aid. They’re the ones who love you and wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere unless the zombie apocalypse forced them to (and even then, who doesn’t need insurance against zombie attacks?)
Provide truly exceptional customer experiences. Trust starts by making your insurance clients feel great — That means providing them with fantastic customer service, getting a deep understanding of their needs, speaking to them as individuals, and having a personal touch.
Maybe that’s sending them a card during the festive season or on their birthday, perhaps it’s notifying them about new insurance options that would give them better coverage or save them money. Essentially, anything that adds value is going to give them the warm fuzzies. And warm fuzzies equal glowing referrals.
Incentivizing your customers. We are all busy people! In the cold, hard world of business, that means you often have to provide strong incentives for people to recommend and refer their friends and family. Now, those incentives are often cash rewards or money off, but you can also offer vouchers and coupons, entry into competitions, specialized insurance, or other unique opportunities.
Sadly, people aren’t going to refer just because they really, really like you (although that definitely helps) — You have to give them a little extra. Big tip here – check with your State Insurance Department on the rules and regulations for your state regarding any type of incentive program. Often you can provide referrals but it can’t be contingent on the sale. So regardless, if there is a sale, the incentive must be rewarded.
Make it easy for them to make a referral. In marketing, friction (making something harder for someone) is always a bad thing. That means if you want to get insurance referrals, you have to make it easy-peasy. How you do that depends on how you want people to refer.
If they’re doing it through social media or email, have a unique referral link they can send to friends. If it’s going to be over the phone, have a special number they can call. Doing it via an online form? Have a specific section where they can enter referrer details. The art here is to not make your customer or prospective customer think too much.
Say Thank You. Lastly, always personally follow up with the people who made a referral and thank them. This is important, not just because they made the effort (and people like to know they’re appreciated) but because it creates positive reinforcement. In other words, the more you thank people, the more positive they’ll feel about your insurance business, and the more they’ll recommend you.