The first time I heard this tip, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

Referrals are some of the best leads you’ll ever get. When you’re wanting to start a conversation about insurance, what better to break the ice than a personal recommendation from a trusted source? Best of all, they cost nothing but your time and effort – make a solid presentation, present something of value to your prospect, and reap the rewards. And when you get clients who refer you to new clients, who refer you to new clients, who refer you to new clients … well, we all want that!

But how do we as independent agents get these referrals? We’ve all gotten the same “marketing whitepaper” that advises us that we must ask, ask, ask for referrals, and that’s absolutely true. If you don’t ask for referrals, they’re not going to show up out of nowhere – referrals most certainly have to be requested to be received. But if you’ve read any sales materials whatsoever, you’ve already heard that a million times. So how about a genuinely useful tip for generating more referrals? We’ve got one, and you’ll even be able to go through your current book of business and grab a few referrals today if you like.

When you write a life insurance policy, you name a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) who will receive the payout upon the insured’s passing. Why not call those beneficiaries and give them a heads up? It’s a great, low pressure way to ease into a call – just let them know they’ve been named as the beneficiary of the policy and what steps they’d need to take in order to file a death claim if necessary. From there, it’s simple to transition into a discussion of their own insurance needs.

This “oh, by the way – who’s your insurance agent?” line is an example of a technique sometimes referred to as the Columbo Close. By opening the conversation with a discussion about the benefit of a life insurance policy, you’re establishing value in a clear and very personally relatable way. Then, when your “hand is on the doorknob,” ask about their own insurance coverage – it’s the perfect time to close the deal. And don’t forget to ask for referrals when you’re done!