The Valuable Referral Source Most Insurance Agents Overlook

The Valuable Referral Source Most Insurance Agents Overlook

Thursday, June 18, 2015/Insureon Solutions, Marketing, Industry Tips

Somewhere out there is a bespectacled actuary toiling away at a spreadsheet, trying to calculate the risks for a compressed hydrogen car manufacturer / alpaca farmer. Perhaps that’s the dominant image of what the insurance industry is about, but as an agent, you know analyzing data is only half of the equation. The other half is people. Without relationships, your business would come to a dead stop.

But how well do you use your relationships? Too often, networking takes a backseat to cold calling and keychain giveaways. Tapping into your network, especially the professionals who have a list of valuable clients they already do business with, can be a much more efficient way to build your book. For example, this article from Forbes specifically recommends insurance agents build partnerships with accountants to gain referrals for high-net-worth clients.

An agency management system like Insureon Solutions can help you track clients and prospects, but it can't generate leads for you. So whether you find potential partners by digging through your current book or reaching out to professionals in your area, you might want to put networking higher on your to-do list.

Why Insurance Agents Need Referrals

Prospecting new clients is essential for growing your agency, but what do you do if marketing and advertising are not your forte? Luckily, earning referrals is not only a good way to generate leads, but it also falls right into your area of expertise – relationship building.

The people skills you’ve developed as an insurance agent can help you build reciprocal partnerships with other professionals. These partnerships can be valuable source of business because…

  • They have a low acquisition cost. The cost is little more than the time spent finding a valuable partner and the effort to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • They represent an enormous pool of candidates. Successful professionals have their own clients, many of whom may end up yours once you make the connection.
  • They bring in pre-qualified prospects. The fact that your associate already works with these clients speaks for their credibility. Knowing they are trustworthy may also make them easier to serve.
  • They offer a win-win-win for everyone involved. You and your partner add to your client list, and the clients receive services from reliable professionals.

Remember, when the referrals start coming in, mention that your agency management system includes a time-saving, universal application, which can help clients compare multiple options from multiple carriers.

How to Build Partnerships with Other Professionals

Like any relationship, a business partnership needs to be carefully tended. Here are some guidelines to help you develop profitable partnerships:

  • Identify potential partners. For some, any connection could be the right connection. But if you're targeting a particular market, say construction and contracting, you might want to research accountants who specialize in the industry.
  • Offer them value. LinkedIn has made it easier to connect with like-minded professionals; however, that means there could be 100 agents making the same move you are. Think about what you bring to the table in addition your book. Could you feature your new partner in a newsletter or blog post? Coordinate a webinar? Tweet links to their articles? Selecting the activities you already do makes this much easier.
  • Practice your pitch. You probably already have your insurance sales pitch down, but this is something new. Take the time to articulate your goals and try them out before you start networking.
  • Go where they are. Social media has its place, but in-person meetings, even informal ones, can leave a lasting impression. Consider attending trade association meetings and chamber of commerce events or joining a volunteer organization to increase your face time with the professionals you hope to collaborate with.
  • Make a consistent effort. The first contact is good, but it’s the follow-up that really matters. Every time a referral shows up in your agency, be sure to send at least a thank you email and remind your producers to do the same.

Looking for more tips on making connections? Check out “7 Ways to Network in the Insurance Industry.”