The core thesis behind the NPS is that there’s one question you can ask clients that reveals what they really think of your business. Here’s how you can use it to ramp up referrals.

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You may or may not have heard about the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which has developed an almost cult-like status and following among some of the top brands in the world.

Whether you’re individual agent or a large private bank, everyone can learn from the philosophy and principles underlying the growth in popularity around the NPS over the past decade.

One question that uncovers customer satisfaction: Would you refer me?

The core thesis behind the NPS is that there is one question you can ask a customer or client that cuts to the heart of understanding your client’s real view of you — “On a zero-to-10 scale, how likely is it that you would recommend us (or this product/service/brand) to a friend or colleague?”

You can understand why a wave of popularity and following emerged around the NPS. The approach that one question can reveal what your clients really thinks of you is simple. The more customers answer this question positively, the higher your NPS.

How can individual agents use the NPS?

There’s dual opportunity in implementing this type of survey template. Not only does it help you understand your clients and fine-tune your offering, it also helps lay the foundation for you to be more proactive and systematic in building your business.

By using a scaled-down version of the NPS, individual agents can get clients’ “permission” for a referral before actually doing it.

Most referral requests are done the wrong way

Unfortunately, even when individuals do ask for referrals or introductions, they usually go about it the wrong way, using generic questions as a way to hedge against fear of damaging the relationship.

Wrongfully believing that an open-ended referral will help them avoid being offensive to their client, they ask: Do you know anyone who … ” The typical response they receive is: “Let me think about that and get back to you.” Then, the agent wonders how often to follow up in order to track down that referral. Here’s a more specific example. 

The wrong way to ask for a referral

“Joe, thank you for taking our NPS. We really appreciate your relationship and business. Thank you also for indicating that you would be willing to refer our business. With that in mind, is there anyone that you can think of who might need help in buying or selling?”

The right way to ask for a referral

“Joe, thank you for responding to my survey and being willing to make a referral. With that in mind, I know you’re on the board of the Miami Children’s Hospital, and I’m attending the gala in the fall and wondered if you wouldn’t mind making an introduction to Sharon, Jim and Lucius, who are on the board as well.”

What’s often overlooked in the open-ended approach is that it actually forces your client to do your work in assessing their relational networks to uncover your next prospect. At WealthQuotient, we believe your key ambassadors want to help you, but they don’t want to work to do it.

The data shows giving someone a specific referral request versus an open-ended one increases the probability exponentially of getting a specific response. 

Simple action plan for agents

Here is a simple way to implement this type of survey using Google Forms or Microsoft Forms. These are the steps you need to follow. 

  1. Select an online survey platform. There are many options to choose from, both paid and free. A few examples include: SurveyMonkey (paid), Google Forms (free) and Microsoft Forms (free).
  2. Draft the questions you’d like to ask through your designated online survey platform.
  3. Determine who you’ll be reaching out to. Which one of your relationships or clients will you be sending the survey to?
  4. Send an email to your clients letting them know that you are sending out a one- to two-question survey and would appreciate their response.
  5. Send your survey link!
  6. Assess the results. Most of the online survey tools are connected to a virtual version of Sheets (Google) and/or Excel (Microsoft) that automatically compiles and aggregates this data.
  7. Map potential prospects connected via boards and friendship associations who you would like to meet. You can conduct this research yourself or use other providers.
  8. Select the specific prospects you’re going to ask for a referral from their overall connections network. Conduct Google and other public searches around names to narrow it down to the few specific prospects.
  9. Ask for the introduction. Draft what you’re going to say and who specifically you want to meet.

How to get started during the pandemic

Now is the perfect time to get organized and configure this type of survey for when the impact of the pandemic subsides. Having this ready will help you rekindle and accelerate the growth of your business.

The other quick-start option is to make sure that you’re asking the following question at every closing: “Thank you for giving me the privilege of helping you buy/sell your house. As you may know, my business grows by referrals. In several months from now, I’m going to be circling to ask for some specific referrals. Would that be agreeable?”

Implementing this type of process will not only provide you valuable feedback and insight into your brand and service, but it will also lay the groundwork for being more proactive and systematic in your referrals requests while actually getting concrete responses.

David Friedman is the co-founder of WealthQuotient. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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