Six keys to making yourself referable

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop


In the 1980s, I was very active in the Boy Scouts of America with my two sons Jeremy and Will. I was an active member on the board of trustees for the Methodist Church. Plus, I was moderating weekly LUTC classes (NAIFA), providing training in the Regional Metropolitan Branch Offices and attending every advanced sales training class offered by MetLife.

Even though I was working less than 20 hours per week on my sales and was taking most of the summer off each year (Boy Scout summer camp), I was still able to consistently earn a significant six-figure income.

How was I able to do all these things and still maintain my sales?

One of the secrets to my success was that within just 18 months of entering this business, I was getting the majority of my new sales from client referrals. And, I wasn't even asking for them!

The ability to consistently receive client referrals is why the very best producers, past and current leaders such as Ben Feldman, Norman G. Levine, Mehdi Fakharzadeh and Van Mueller, were all able to make over $1,000,000 each and every year!

If you want to achieve long-term success in this business, consistently earn a significant six-figure or even a seven-figure income, have more fun and work fewer hours, then you must find a way to stop prospecting. Isn't prospecting the most time consuming and frustrating part of your business? If all you had to do was to meet with qualified and motivated prospects, how many hours would you need to work each week?

How do you get people to refer their friends and family to you? If you want people to refer you to their friends and family without asking them for a referral, then you must make yourself referable.

There are six critical parts to making yourself referable, and they are actually very easy to implement.
  • You must solve a real, immediate problem that people have. You must get known for solving a specific problem for people and become known as the expert in your community. Consider, salesmen are the people who chase after us, hungry for a sale. Experts are people we actively seek out, money in hand. In my case, I became the recognized expert for helping families to qualify for college financial aid.
  • You must be doing a good, thorough fact-find with everyone. Help people to define and understand the problems they need and, most importantly, want to solve. Many people only have a vague idea of the problems they are facing and can get lost in what they are trying to solve, so that no solution seems to fit. You must help your prospects to get emotionally involved and show them you are more concerned about helping them to solve their problems, than you are about making a sale.
  • You must under-promise and over-deliver. Why do people buy from you? One of the major reasons is because they trust you. They believe what you say is what you mean. So, to become referable, you must exceed your customers' expectations by giving them more than you promise. Little things like answering your emails everyday, having a live person answering the phone when it rings, showing up to meetings on time and delivering when you say you will, can make your referability skyrocket. And, don't forget to conduct regular annual reviews with your clients.
  • You must follow-up on every part of the sales process. Make it easy for your clients to do business with you. Every part of a sales process, from the initial contact, to personally delivering the policy, are equally important. Following up makes your clients feel important. Following up shows that you care. As many of the top agent will tell you, the sale begins when the customer says yes."
  • You must keep in touch with your clients. In order to increase customer loyalty, get repeat sales and get referrals, the client needs to remember your name and need to know how to find you. The more you stay in contact with your customers, the stronger your relationship with them becomes. The stronger the relationship, the more business and referrals you can expect from them. So, stay in touch. Always. Are your sending your clients, family, friends, neighbors and prospects a monthly newsletter? If not, you are making a huge mistake.
  • You must become the recognized name in your local community. You don’t have to be rock star famous to bec recognized as an authority in your field. You just have to begin to get the word out. Your goal is to be the person that people think of whenever your field is mentioned. Offer a free educational workshop at your local library, church or community center. Get onto the community calendars, from newspapers to cable television. Call up your local news stations and offer yourself as the subject of an interview. One listing or call at a time, you’ll begin to make a name for yourself.

    And contribute to public discussions. Write letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines whenever they cover stories in your field. You may offer an alternate viewpoint or simply compliment them on a well-written article. The more people that see your name in connection with your subject, the more they’ll recognize you as an authority in your field.
You can make yourself referable and earn the significant six-figure income you've been dreaming about. Stop putting your emphasis on making a sale and instead, shift your efforts toward helping people and providing better service. Start building impeccable relationships with your clients so that they become long-term repeat buyers. Focus on your service and become the recognized name in your local community, and you will soon become incredibly referable as satisfied clients start to tell all their friends and family about how you have helped them.

Choosing between what pays well and what is right for the client is not an option. Just believe in what you do, be there for them and you will be rewarded. Remember, if you help enough people get what they want, then you'll get what you want.