Getting Referrals: Proven Strategies for the Independent Insurance Agent

In the last blog, we examined why referrals are so important. Now, let’s look at some strategies for how to get the referrals you need to take your insurance sales to the next level.

Make Sure Your Info is Stored in Your Client’s Phone. In order to obtain a referral, your clients must be able to immediately access your contact information. So, do everything you can to make sure your information is on hand. Stress the importance of being able to contact you in case of an emergency, compliment their new haircut, bribe them with homemade cookies… do whatever it takes.

Create Referral Cards in Addition to Business Cards. For more traditional clients,make a separate card that reflects your business card’s design and has “Referred By:” printed on the back. Handwrite your client’s name in the blank space and hand them a few cards in person (don’t mail them) to make sure they get inside the customer’s wallet or purse.

Script Your Pitch and Practice It. Already uncomfortable asking for referrals? Read the first blog in this series. Still uncomfortable? Script your pitch and practice it until it’s as smooth as a baby’s bare bottom.

Give and You Shall Receive. This is a no-brainer for most of us in the industry, but sometimes a reminder doesn’t hurt (especially if you’re new to selling insurance). It is 100% a fact that the more referrals you give, the more you will receive. Consider Cialdini’s Principle of Reciprocity: “people are obliged to give back to others the form of a behavior, gift, or service that they have received first.” So be confident in the fact that you’ll receive referrals in return for introducing clients to insurance agents who specialize in other areas like Property & Casualty, for example.

Send Thank You Cards to Referrers. It’s no secret that people like to be recognized for their efforts. Take the time to send each person who refers you a thank you card and include some aforementioned referral cards so they have an easy way to continue sending business your way.

Document. How you choose to document your referrals is up to you – there’s no universal method that works for everyone. Whether you use a handwritten list or an Excel spreadsheet, the important thing is to document your referrals and always be aware of who is and who is not giving them. As you do this over time, you’ll have a better sense of who your main influencers are, what they have in common, and how you can make the most of these important relationships.

Proper Handling of Referrals. Selling Medicare Advantage plans can be a little different than other insurance products in that agents must adhere to guidelines set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It’s important to note that, as an agent who sells Medicare plans, you are not able to request prospects’ contact information; rather, the prospect must reach out to you first. So, if your current clients want to refer you, make sure they have the prospect contact you – this ensures you receive a compliant referral.

Entire books have been written about how to successfully obtain referrals and several are probably worth reading. But if you start with these core ideas and tactics, refine and build on them, and add different elements to create your own referral marketing method, then you’ll be well on your way to forming the rewarding career you want in insurance sales.

As a National Marketing Organization that works with over 5,000 independent agents, we understand the importance of cultivating referrals in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at or 888-745-2320.

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