Every insurance agent marketing their agency knows a referral is golden. Actually, some of the most successful agents I've talked to market their agency via word-of-mouth referrals and nothing else.

If you are one of these competent agents – read no more. If you're not among those blessed with an overflow of referral-based clients, we have a few tips to help you gain some "non-traditional" referrals.

What if Google and Yahoo and MSN became another source of referrals? Granted, the search engines are not human, so there is not the traditional "Word-of-Mouth" involved in this type of insurance referral. But these search engines are big, and they are trusted by millions of people each day. While a recommendation from Google or Yahoo may not carry the same weight as a mention from the friend of a prospect, these search engines certainly have a much wider range of potential people that touch than any human.

The idea of ​​weight or strength of a recommendation is important. A verbal tip from another person will almost always be worth more than any search-based statement on the internet. However, the effort required to get the referral from another person is greatly based on the perception of the referring party: are you worthy of being reminded to a friend? Are your customer service, your rates, your claims service all delivering well enough in the mind of the referrer to make you worthy of mention? Hopefully the answer is yes; and you are using your skill as an insurance agent and a salesperson to make sure those factors are presented in a positive fashion to your referral base.

However, there are cases where the search engines may be the only referral source you have. What about when a person moves to a new town, without knowing anyone they can lean on for advice on insurance? Increasingly, the search engines are a resource that people go to when they either do not want to bother anyone because they are afraid or shy (yes, there are people like that) or find themselves in a new situation.

But the search engines have no idea how good your claims service is, or how great your rates are, or how fantastic a job you do in looking out for a customer. The search engines, although trusted by hundreds of millions of people, are suddenly rating you on an entirely different basis than your clients. And you need to learn how they rate you to succeed in marketing your insurance agency .