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In a recent webinar, Cross Selling and Referrals, Melanie Needham, President, MRD Training & Consulting, outlined the importance of cross selling at opportune moments and highlighted the best time to ask for a referral—when your value as a broker is highest.

Brokers understand the importance of network-based marketing and word-of-mouth, hence the popularity of the referral promo—Get a $10 Tim Horton’s Gift Card if you refer a Friend or Family Member! But as the customer experience improves, the perception of how valuable that experience is increases right alongside it.

Cross selling and referrals often go hand-in-hand for exactly this reason.

Once you’ve satisfied your client’s initial needs, it’s the best opportunity to cross sell them, based on their specific needs. The more products or services a client buys at one place, the greater their loyalty is to the business.

“Effective alternative product offering is the best way to minimize the competition,” says Melanie.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Remember that asking a question isn’t imposing—you’re coming from a helpful place
  • Ask clients if they’re aware you can also help them with their business insurance or auto insurance—something your brokerage offers that they don’t currently use you for
  • Let clients know why it would make sense for them to add policies—to make sure there aren’t any gaps in coverage, for consistency, to receive a discount, etc.

If you’ve assisted a customer beyond their expectations, they’re much more inclined to refer your business. “It’s a safe bet because they’re expecting their friend or family member will come back and receive that same great service they received,” says Melanie.

As brokers we sometimes feel uncomfortable or needy asking for referrals, but we shouldn’t. Remember, it’s all about timing. By making sure customers are satisfied throughout the experience, it’s easy to gauge how things are going. Ask questions like Do you have any questions so far? or Was I able to take care of everything for you? The more you bring the customer right alongside you throughout the process, the more satisfied they’re likely to be.

Clients don’t often know you’re open to referrals or you’re looking to grow your business. Anytime a client says Thank you, I appreciate it, or This was great—these are the perfect prompts to ask for a referral and a potential opportunity to serve a new client.