building your referral network

Part of running a successful insurance agency is building a strong referral network. This should consist of both happy clients as well as others in related industries. For example, you will likely want to have mortgage brokers, realtors, and more in your referral network.

Of course, the roles that you search for in your referral network will depend on the type of insurance you sell. If you only sell car insurance, working with a realtor may not bring you as much value. That being said, adding more people to your network is always helpful. After all, you never know when the cost of auto insurance will come up while someone is searching for a new house.

The following tips will help you build your referral network.

Bring Value to the Partnership

Referral networking should be a two-way street. You hope to get referrals from the other party, but what will you bring to the table? In many cases, it can be as simple as referrals to them when the opportunity arises.

That being said, it is helpful to think outside the box. Figure out what unique trait you have that can help them grow their business and offer that in exchange.

Look for Newer Realtors

As a general rule of thumb, you will have better luck forming a partnership with a new realtor or lender than one who is already established. After all, if they are established, they likely already have partnerships and a referral network in place.

As a bonus, working with new realtors makes it easier to add value to the relationship. For example, you can give them insights into home insurance or help them understand other things that may still be new to them.

Remember to Stay Engaged

As with any other type of networking, your insurance agency’s referral partnerships will require regular engagement. You have to find a balance, ensuring your relationship stays strong without being overwhelming.

Part of this involves showing a real interest in their business. They can likely tell whether you are sincere. Remember that you should care about your partners and their business; this is one of the things you should be bringing to the table.

Including an Initial Follow-up

Part of staying engaged is following up with the broker, lender, or another person after the initial meeting. Wait about three days and call them. This will ensure that you stay in their minds past the initial period.

Know What Not to Talk About

As you develop your partnerships for referrals, there are a few things you want to avoid mentioning.

Your Rates

It may seem smart to highlight your competitive rates, but this is not the time or place. If you mention how low your rates are, lenders or realtors may assume you have lower-quality service than others. Or they will just remember that you are the least expensive and only send you clients on a tighter budget.

Your Fast Turnaround

Yes, a quick turnaround time is great, but this is another thing not to mention to your referral network – at least not initially. You can mention that you do your best to always respond in a timely manner, but you don’t want to set unrealistic expectations, either. Remember, if you under promise and over deliver, you always look like the hero.

Nurture Your Clients

Remember that your referral network is not just made up of other local businesses, like mortgage lenders or realtors. It will also feature your satisfied clients.

To take advantage of this, you need to ensure that your clients have a great experience. Start with simple actions like choosing the right software to give clients access to their policy information. Jenesis, for example, has a convenient client portal that puts everything your clients need in one place.

For the most referrals, start your clients off on the right foot with a great onboarding process. This should include packets of relevant information and ample opportunities for questions.

You also want to check in with your clients regularly to ensure that they are happy with your service. After all, you can’t improve in an area that frustrates clients if you aren’t aware of the issue.

The goal here is to give your clients as great of an experience as possible. That will lead to referrals, as well as better client retention.

Don’t Forget to Ask for Referrals and Reviews

Don’t just assume that if your clients are happy, they will refer you. Go ahead and ask them for reviews and referrals. Just remember not to be too pushy about this. An automatic email campaign is one great way to ask for reviews.

Conclusion

Establishing a referral network will help bring a steady stream of referrals to your insurance agency. Learning how to cultivate partnerships and where to look for them will give you a head start on building your network.

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