As a member of the Marketing Department here at Senior Benefit Services the number one question we hear from new agents calling in is, “do you have any leads?” Well, the honest answer is “no, I don’t have any leads in my back pocket.” However, we do have suggestions on how to obtain leads. Our Marketers always strongly encourage creating a Social Media presence (preferably Facebook, but more on that later), creating a website, sending direct mailers, or obtaining a mailing list for your area for door knocking. Perhaps you like cold calling? …that’s true for almost no one.
The point is there are ways to obtain leads, but the best way to continue your success with new business is to always ask for …referrals! But many agents simply don’t ask for referrals leaving potential business on the table. You worked so hard to get the leads in front of you that are now your clients, so you might as well ask if they know others that could use your help. A lot of agents get caught up because they don’t know HOW to ask for referrals. If this is a problem for you below are a few pointers to keep in mind when asking for referrals.
Maybe you know to ask for referrals but trying to figure out an appropriate time can be difficult. Getting a compliment from your client is a good clue that they are willing to share your business information with friends and family. If you receive a compliment for your service quickly respond with a “thank you” followed by a referral request. For example, “I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?” Take notice of the question here… “Anyone else who can benefit from my services” …this makes the lead much more approachable since you’re not demanding for new people but instead asking how you can help. If your client can think of someone that can benefit then make sure to hand them 3 business cards, 1 for them and 2 for friends or family members. It’s important to not pressure them into handing over names and phone numbers on the spot. By having them contact the referral first, it gives them a chance to share their positive experience, rather than you cold calling your client’s friend. If they’re not comfortable with referring someone then how about asking for a testimonial for the service you provided. And it never hurts to leave behind the extra business cards if they change their mind.
You won’t receive a bunch of referrals by asking one client. You need to ask every client that you meet and that are happy with the service you provided. Make it a habit to “ask” and incorporate it into your talking points with your client. Before you let your client walk out the door make a point to say something along the lines of “I appreciate you taking the time to see me today. Here’s my card and 2 more for anyone that you think might benefit from meeting with me as well.” This simple referral conversation will eventually become second nature to you at the end of every appointment.
Incorporate a Web Presence
There’s more to referrals than just asking for them face to face. More seniors, especially the Baby Boomers, are using technology to contact a business or service. If you’re an agent that does most of your sales over the phone or you forget to ask your client directly for referrals during the appointment, you can always follow up in an email to make sure they are satisfied with the service you provided and in the process, ask if they would refer your business to others. Again, have them consider writing a testimonial for you to post on your website. Or they could write a review at their leisure on Facebook, Google, or even Yelp.
I previously mentioned that Facebook is a great place to connect with clients. Turns out it’s the most popular social network among seniors and consistently growing every year since 2012. So it might be an advantage to create a Facebook business profile for clients to easily contact you and make connections instantly with client referrals online. Think of your Facebook page as a digital business card that you can instantly send out to potential new clients. If your clients have Facebook as well, why not ask for a photo? Snap a quick shot of you with your happy clients, and then share it on your business Facebook page. Tell them to be on the lookout for their post and to “like it” or “comment” on their photo. When they do this they’ll be referring you to all their Facebook friends because the photo you posted will now show up in their friends’ news feeds as well.
Recognize and THANK Your Referral Sources
This should seem obvious to do, but many agents forget about this crucial step. If you have a referral, and especially if you receive business from this referral, make sure to write a “thank you” to your client. You could also send them a small gift of appreciation, such as a $5 gift card to Starbucks for a cup of coffee. This small gesture will show how much you appreciate your client and the business they provided. Plus it will give your client the incentive to give you additional referrals in the future. Be sure to include some extra business cards attached to the note and gift card as well!
From what we’ve seen time and time again in the field referrals are the BEST ways to obtain more leads and increase your business. Give these suggestions a try and let us know how it’s worked out for you. If you have your own advice on how to obtain more quality leads feel free to share in the comments below!
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- Katie, Sehl. “27 Facebook Demographics That Matter to Marketers in 2020.” Hootsuite Social Media Management, 20 Dec. 2019, blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-demographics/.
- Inc.com Staff. “How to Get Customer Referrals.” Inc.com N.p.,27 Aug. 2010. Web
- Silverstein, Ray. “Get More Referrals by Asking.” Entrepreneur. N.p., n.d. Web.