Agents are always asking us about leads. Where do we buy leads? Who sells the best leads? How can I spend lots and lots of money on leads? It’s true that most forms of prospecting have some kind of price tag attached, but the best leads in the world are free. I’m talking, of course, about referrals. They’re the leads that your leads generate, and they can do amazing things for your business. Let’s talk about three things you can do to gather more referrals starting now.

1. Ask

Ask for them. Seriously, this is the biggest mistake that both new and seasoned agents make when it comes to referral gathering, and it’s costing you money. You may have given an amazing presentation, and your prospects (soon to be clients) may be openly weeping in awe at the power of your words. They may sign the application with vim and vigor. They may write you a check for their first month’s premium with unabashed glee. They may add you to their Christmas card list and send you a fruitcake every year from now until kingdom come. But they’re still not going to say “you know, my sister could use something like this” unless you bring it up first. You want to get a referral? Ask for it.

2. Ask more

You’re not asking enough. Don’t just ask for referrals if the presentation ends in a sale.

The purpose of a presentation is to establish the value of a given solution to a given problem. If someone is concerned about the financial burden that their funeral costs may represent to their loved ones, then maybe you’ll present a final expense product. In that discussion, you are going to talk about the value of that FE plan. It may work out that your plan isn’t a good fit for whatever reason – not every presentation results in a sale. However, that doesn’t diminish the value of your offerings. Ask your prospect, “even though you don’t feel this plan is right for you, have I shown you how it could be of value to someone in a different situation? Who do you know that could benefit from that value?” Even if your original prospect doesn’t buy, you’ve still taken the time to educate them on the value of what you have to offer. There’s no harm in asking for a referral to someone they know that could make use of that value. It works more often than you might expect.

3. No, really, ask

Ask every time. You’ve gone through at least a little bit of a fact finder and you know something about your client. Don’t ask if they know anyone – they do. Ask who they know from the civic organization they mentioned, or the church they spoke about so lovingly, or their brother that you talked about. When you make a sale, call the policy beneficiaries and let them know how to file a claim against the policy – and talk to them about their own coverage, too. Then ask them for referrals. Ask. Ask. Ask, and you shall receive.