By Eric Waldowski
Businesses overwhelmingly benefit from referral business. TrustedChoice.com says that in the insurance industry, referral leads for new business close at over 50%, vs. less than a 20% top-end close rate on cold calling. We all ask for new business referrals every chance we get because we have proven time and time again how successful referrals can be. We should apply the same logic, processes, and incentives to referring new team members that we apply to new referral business. Add a referral link to your website or email signature for your current clients to submit a name and phone number for someone they think might be a great fit to work in your agency. Offer a small prize to the client that submits someone that gets hired. Maybe someone that has been in your book for years knows the perfect person to fit the role you are trying to fill.
When a current employee provides a referral, they are endorsing that person for the job. It is more than reasonable to think that someone referred by a top-performing employee with a strong team spirit is going to be a strong team player themselves. Team members create the culture of their teams, and their referrals can be one of the best sources for new talent. Team members who are motivated to succeed will want to surround themselves with more motivated people. By building a strong incentive program around employee referrals, team members will actively look to bring others similar to themselves into your agency. Incentives for the current employee that submitted the referral hire could be a payout of $500 30 days after the new hire has started and another $500 when the new team member has been onboard for 6 months. Make sure to offer incentives that are attractive to your current staff to build a successful internal referral process.
When sourcing referrals, make sure to look beyond just your office or agency. Our Business Process Administrator, Ashley, was a referral from Client Success Manager Eric Waldowski’s wife who had worked with Ashley in a prior customer service role. When Eric mentioned he was looking for a CSR to grow within IdealTraits, he was given Ashley’s contact info. We all know other people that have worked in our industries through personal networking and professional experience. If someone we know and trust is telling us that they have the right fit for our team, it should spark an immediate phone call at the very least. Never assume that someone who was referred to you is not interested in having a conversation. People we know well won’t offer up referrals lightly. They will want that person to succeed and for you to be successful too, making it a recipe for finding the right fit.
While it would be great to have a pipeline of qualified referrals at all times, it can be hard to build. Professional recruiters often make a point of asking for referrals from candidates they speak to as part of their process. Maybe you interview and offer a role to someone, but they decline for one reason or another. It can hurt to be that far into the recruiting process and see that candidate decline; so ask them for a referral. If they applied to work for you, and got to the interview process, odds are they may know one or more people with a similar background and skill set that may be a better fit for the role. In fact, we should even ask this question of a candidate that accepts an offer, if there are still other roles open. Use every opportunity to ask if someone knows someone else that would be a great fit.
Hiring is a massive task. Having some referrals to reach out to can kickstart some momentum in adding staff to your agency or business. Don’t underestimate how powerful referrals are for growing your staff; we know how quickly they can grow your book.