August 26, 2019 alexbranning

Episode 3-51: Referrals, Referrals, & More Referrals

Alex: Hey, what’s going on everyone? This is Alex Branning with the insurance marketing experts podcast. And today I’m proud to welcome my good friend Robert Breiner from Palmdale, California. I’ve actually known Robert for seven years. We have had a ton of fun together doing things with online marketing and more importantly, just living life. So I’ve been to his house, I’ve seen the way he does business and just a great genuine guy. He is famous in our local market for how he gets referrals. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So Robert, thank you so much for being on the podcast and let’s talk referrals.

Robert Breiner: Thank you. Yeah, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Yeah, so the you know, the simplest thing I’m really find out is that everyone out there is a secret agent, and this is weird, but see, I have these shirts that I buy from the company says state farm on it, and I wear it everyday of the week, even Saturdays and Sundays. And I’ll go to Costco or Sam’s Club. People go, oh, are you working? I said, just Sam. And they said, Oh, you know, I have an insurance question. I said, okay, no problem. You know, ask away. And they’ll ask me a question regarding whether it’s state farm or not state farm, I don’t care. And then I said by the way, here’s my business card and if you have any other questions, give me a call, be happy to answer for him. And believe it or not, I get a ton of referrals that way.

Robert Breiner: And it’s only only because I’m wearing a shirt that actually I can write off my income tax as uniform. So it was kind of a win win situation. Another thing I’ve kind of put together, which my business card, I don’t know if you can see, there’s not, is actually a poker chip, but I don’t know if that’s visible or not. But as a poker chip and on the back or on the front says don’t gamble on your insurance. And so this is actually my business card and on the backside it’s got the phone number of my office cause if you want to get ahold of me, you can call my office. It’s better to call my office cause they’re the ones that run the quotes. Another thing that I give away, and this is kind of a weird thing, but it’s a little jar opener or a beer opener.

Robert Breiner: You guys drink beer in. What I like about this is that this goes in the kitchen and so I don’t know if you realize it, but most of your buying power or buying decision maker is actually the women. And so you, you want to kind of stay in front of them as far as that. And then to go with that as well. I have this little conversion kitchen part helper. I know your wife’s a big, a big cook and this has got like a little couple of tips on like how many teaspoons equal to tablespoon and you know different measurements that women use all the time and guys if you’re up, if you’re a baker or a cook as well. But that is probably the starting point of how I get my referrals. Another trick that I did, which is kind of interesting.

Robert Breiner: So my name is Robert Breiner, but my family will middle name or name is Ramos. Okay. And Ramos is a Mexican name was like Smith in America. Gotcha. So it turns out that Palmdale is 64% Hispanic. So I’m thinking, well wait a minute, all the other guys have white guy names. I said, why don’t I just go ahead and use the family name? So I actually called compliance. I said, hey, family names dramas, kind of use it in my account, changed my name on my business cards website and said, yeah, we don’t care. As long as it’s legit, I don’t think beating charity. And so now I go by Robert Ramos Breiner – again because of if the time to Hispanic. They tended to want to work with somebody who’s like them. You know, like you want to do business with people you like know, and trust. And obviously if you’ve got a name that’s common and if you have the ability to take advantage of that as well, you know, certainly do so. And then, that’s great.

Alex: I love it. I love it. I love all the tips and all the little things that you give away. That’s brilliant. There’s just nothing like having a physical product of yours in your client’s house. Absolutely. Now you build a lot of referral relationships as well. I’m just amazed at how many people you know know you and send you business on a regular basis. Can you talk about how you’ve built that foundation of people just look to you as their insurance partner?

Robert Breiner: Well, obviously the, the biggest thing is, is probably Facebook. And if you go to my Facebook page, it’s not locked down. It’s open to everybody. I don’t limited to friends of friends, I don’t care. So you can see my stuff. And the weird part is, yeah, and the contact information, it says Robert Breiner insurance agent, here’s my phone number, here’s my address, address, how to get ahold of me. And then all my feeds, I always look for funny stuff. They all saying all saying funniest money. And so I’ll look for kind of clever photos or funny stuff. And I very seldom say anything about, hi, I’m an insurance agent. I’m really great. Come buy from me, which a lot of realtors do that which drives me crazy because I said I don’t care about you, you know, entertainment or give me something helpful. So a lot of times we’ll just put on Facebook something that I see.

Robert Breiner: I take a lot of pictures cause people like the visual effect and see something on the road that’s weird or goofy. Take a picture of it, post it on Facebook. And if you go to my Facebook page, it’s Robert Briner and you can see the kind of the stuff that I do and copies. He goes borrowing, I don’t care. You had saw all these, that’s all good for everybody. Interesting part. I’m also Instagram. Okay, let me back up. Facebook is good for the older folks. When I say older, I’m saying 35 to 80 or 90 now. Instagram seems to be the younger folks thing. I’m believing that as a photographer you would think I’d be all over Instagram, but I’ve only posted something for photos and I’ve got like 2000 followers of up before photos and they’re not that good of photos. They’re just, I just testing gap, but I don’t know how to use it.

Robert Breiner: I’ll go to, it’s actually, I have to have my 12 year old. I said, hey, how do I post on Instagram? Cause it was a big Instagrammer guy. And he goes, okay, you got to push this. You got to push that and hit the plus buying. I don’t know. So he walks through it. So I got four photos thanks to my 12 year old. So that’s the magic there. So Facebook really good. Stay away from the political stuff. No one likes that. No one cares. You’re not gonna make a difference. A political, when I say political gun stuff, once again, you’re going to have people that love guns. You have people, I hate guns. You’re not going to convince them to change the mind because of what your views are. So I tried to stay away from that. You know, that type of thing.

Robert Breiner: And obviously another thing I use Facebook for is I check in a lot and I say checking a lot. I tried to go to mom and pop restaurants, my wife and I, we go to lunch every day and we tried to go to a mom and pop shops that where we could promote them. And people say, well you know, you’re always eating lunch. I said, I know I’m always using lunch cause that’s what we do. But if you notice that I’m checking into like a new restaurant or has a restaurant that’s fairly new, it’s mom and pop. I don’t promote Denny’s or McDonald’s cause it’s no one cares about that. But if you can find a hidden gem and you promote it, number one, people see that with a photo, by the way, with a photo then. And then I’ve always, I’ve heard feedbacks that, you know what, I didn’t know where to go for lunch. And I saw your photo of the Mexican restaurant that you went to Devil’s street. And we went there to try it out for the first time and we loved it. So there again, you know, Facebook uses you, you’re basically using Facebook to market for free. Now I know you can do Facebook ads. I’ve tried that in the past. I didn’t have a lot of success for that because I don’t think people go to Facebook to buy stuff. They, they, they go to Facebook to, to get entertained.

Alex: Yeah. That’s what we found too. People do not go on Facebook or Instagram to buy insurance. So we use our giveaway funnel for that. That makes sense. But let’s talk about your referral partners also that are, that are, you know, working with your clients and sending you clients. Right. A lot with real estate agents. I mean, I remember going into real estate, I would go into a real estate office on Monday and you’d be there and then I’d go to a different real estate office on Wednesday and there’s Robert Breiner. I’m like, this guy is everywhere.

Robert Breiner: And, and believe it or not, I get more referrals from mortgage people. Okay. It’s kind of weird because you’d think there’s, I don’t know how many, there’s, I think in the antelope valley, my market area, there’s probably 2000 realtors that are paying their annual dues and a mortgage people, I think there might be maybe a hundred of them in the antelope valley. And so for some reason they send me more business than, than the real estate people. And I think because they need that to get paid and close. Whereas with a realtor, they get the listing, they put it on the mls, and then they look for the next deal. Yeah. So the not working the file as diligently as a lender when even though there’s still no one gets paid totally. They close escrow. Right. It turns out that the mortgage people are more, more file sensitive to making sure that the insurance is there.

Robert Breiner: And so we get a lot of referrals. And then, by the way, I also have the referral program and it’s a, it’s a, it’s a fake $10 bill and it’s a, it says, tell a friend and receive a gift card. So if someone calls us up for a quote or you refer somebody to us, we say, Hey, by the way, how to, what do we think of the referral? We always assume that you found us a referral not to the phone book or not welcome by being on like that anymore, but oh but anywhere else. So we say our word track is who do we thank for this referral and assuming that there’s a referral model. And I said, oh by the way, my neighbor or my hairdresser, Sally said, you’re God’s great, you know, good price, good prices and you guys are using to work with.

Robert Breiner: So we send Sally a $10 Gift Card and then if the client buys from us, we send Sally a thank you card with a $20 gift card. So I would still compliant. I guess in California you’re allowed to give away up to $25 at a time. So we have the thank you one for 10 down the road. If they buy, we say thank you again for the referral. Keep us in mind for any other referrals. So that’s, that’s a big plus. And I’ll tell you another one, another kind of a cool secret that I’ve been using for years and don’t want seems to get this one. So I’m a state farm agent. So driving around, I’ll see a farmer’s agent or I’ll see a liberty mutual agent or I’ll see somebody else. I’ll actually stop buying, introduced myself to those guys. And people go, wow, that’s true.

Robert Breiner: Come to the competition. Why would you do that? I go, they’re not my competition. Because if someone moves from out of the area to Palmdale and they’ve decided, well, now’s a good time to get close. But they’ve been with state farm for so long or any other company, they have a longevity discounts. So they might get a quote from farmers and farmers are going to be, you know, 300 bucks more than state farm. They’re going to go, well, you know, we’re expensive. We know we can’t beat you because you’ve got this longevity discount. But here’s the state farm guy down the street. That’s a pretty nice and not met him personally. I know him personally. Give him a call and we get a ton of referrals from other companies and vice versa. So vice versa, we have a situation where we don’t, we’re not real popular on drunk drivers.

Robert Breiner: We don’t insure those. So other companies have a market for that. And so if someone comes in and say, I’ve got a drunk driving, I’ve got three of them, I need insurance. I said like, Hey, you kind of have the wrong place, but you might want to give these guys a call. I don’t know how, I don’t know the pricing, but at least it’s an option and you can kind of run from there and that’s awesome. Now how does that work to relationships with the mortgage guys? Cause you mentioned you get a lot of you get alum from them. What does that look like? Do you have a system? I do have, I say, well it’s the gift cards, number one. And then also there’s a company I use out there, I’m sure you’re familiar with, it’s called sendoutcards. And the way send out cards works.

Robert Breiner: It’s a greeting card company that you go online and you build a database and it saves it for you and you put birthdays, anniversaries and you have notes. And what I do is I try to send a card to them every, you know, four times, five times a year. And it’s just a thank you card that comes in the mail. It’s direct mail, comes with a real stamp, real greeting card in the mail. It’s a physical card. And it’s weird because last couple of years of notice that direct mail is picking up again, I think people, people are tired of the digital stuff. I never, I get all the time e cards and because of bugs and viruses, I never opened him up cause I don’t want, I don’t want the problems associated with any potential acts or viruses that get on my system.

Robert Breiner: So I don’t do that. Greeting card comes in the mail and no problem. And it comes with a real stamp, real address. And you know, we say thank you as well. So that comes, you know, as a way of staying in touch number one. And then also a pop popping by stop by and say hi. We do that all the time. One time I’ll do like at least once a week I’ll stop by a crispy cream and get a dozen donuts and I have a sticker that’s my business card and I just stick it on the box and we’ll stop by any one of them. Mortgage places, real estate places drop off a dozen donuts. Usually it’s in the morning around 10 o’clock ish. So we’ll do that. And there again, they see the donuts is there. It’s a, it’s a physical contact. To me, I like face to face. I don’t know. Everybody does that, but it’s not that hard. It’s actually pretty easy to like talking to people.

Alex: Yeah. I love it. I love it. Last but not least, Robert, I really appreciate the time with us, man. No problem. For the insurance agent that is just entering the market, there’s a lot of new people that I talked to that are like, right, I’m new in the insurance business. What would you recommend? What’s the like three or five things that you would recommend that they start doing to grow their business?

Robert Breiner: Okay. Right off the bat where this get a shirt, you can do a name badge if you don’t have access to this or you want to spend the money. What I did when I what I usually do is I just buy the shirts at a Costco or like 15 bucks. Nice. And I take, I take them to an embroiderer and they do it for like eight bucks. So I’m into it for like enough for 30 bucks. And that was great. But then I found out state farm has these shirts too and they’re about the same price. I just order it and it’s done and it comes in the mail two or three days later. So I would definitely wear the shirt. Obviously carry it. And it’s another thing that’s weird. I can’t tell you how many business owners I meet see my shirt and go, oh, you know, I’m, I’m whatever.

Robert Breiner: I’m an optometrist or I’m a chiropractor. And I said, oh here’s my card. I go, let me get your card so I can touch, keep in touch with you. That’s an ou cards. I left those at the office. Why would you not carry your business cards with me? I mean it, I, you know, I have my business cards in my pocket. It goes on my nightstand and when I go to bed in the morning, when I put my new shirt on, I got the business cards in there and we’re good to go. So that’s number one on number two, get involved in different chambers. If you go to Facebook and there again, this is a kind of a good source. You can do a event guys, go to the events in your area. Oh, nice. And pick, I tried to do obviously events that deal real estate chamber of Commerce some fundraisers and that way I can get referrals.

Robert Breiner: I mean, you can do other events like the fair and the fairs going on right now. And if I go, I’ll still still wear my state farm shirt even though I’m at the fair, you know, go home with my kids. Just to have a good time, but it still leads up to questions and interest. And by having a shirt with a thing on it, it makes you approach it. Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s the thing. And if you’re talk to strangers and you have a state farm shirt on the guy, okay, he’s an insurance guy. He’s supposed to talk to people. That’s what he does for a living. So that makes it thinks of the you know, going to the different events. Like I say, chambers is a big one. A networking events go to all those. And now the key is, and I, and you got to be careful on this one.

Robert Breiner: You want to be interested, not interesting. What I mean by that is that you want to ask the other person what they do as like, Hey, Alex, you know, Alex branding and branding here. What does that mean? Or what do you do? And then you can tell me what you do, how your work is like that. And so you want to keep being interested in them. Eventually they’re going to say, well, except you, if they’re smart, they’ll say, tell me about what you do or how does or how’d you get an insurance business or, and that’s even a great question too, is like, Hey Alex, how’d you get into the marketing business? You know, cause then you got something to talk about. People say, well, I dunno what to say. And I said, well, I’m talking about them. Ask them how they got to their business.

Robert Breiner: I mean, that’s it. I’m actually kind of curious how people get into different businesses. You know, there’ll be, like example, I do head shots for realtors, I’m a photographer and now I’m starting to see people retiring. I did a head headshot for a guy who’s 20 years LAPD and that was going into real estate because he’s retiring, getting his pension and going into real estate. I said, why? I mean, why are you going into real estate? And especially if you’re, your retirement goes, well, I don’t want to sit around and watch TV all day. I want to do something. And real estate seems like I have some flexibility being a realtor. The flexibility to do actually do what I want to do. So if you have photography skills offer head shots for realtors, then one needs, everyone needs a headshot. A, they need to be updated every two or three years.

Robert Breiner: And I tell people the reason you need to update every two to three years is because if you have a photo from the 1980s glamour shot and you know, and you’ve aged 40 years and you haven’t changed your fit and you haven’t changed your picture, what that tells me and your clients is that if you’re going to lie to me about your picture, what else are you going to lie to me about? So you want to update your photo rep either professionally. I don’t know that that’s expensive now cause everyone’s got cameras. I’m like I say up to get your phone to keep it up, keep it current and that way out. Nothing I do also consistently is, except for Facebook I use the same photo for everything. So whether I have a Linkedin Instagram this Webinar, I use the same photo for all different platforms.

Robert Breiner: So people can see me on Linkedin, they can see me on Instagram, they can see me on other social medias and the photos the same. So it’s not confusing. Nice. Nice. Now with the photos that you take for realtors, you turn that into referrals. Oh, this is the report. Is there a plan? Oh, there was a plan. No, there’s not. It’s not by accident. Well, the biggest one is they’ll say, okay you know, what do I owe you? I said this, I go really easy. That doesn’t, it doesn’t cost anything. I said, here’s two business cards. When you get a buyer that’s looking to buy a house, you need to Ha, you need to give this to them and have them call my office. They don’t have to buy it. So I want you to pass out two cards and tell them to call my office for a quarter. I could do, I could do that. And that works great. We’ve gotten a lot of success with that as well. I love it. That’s brilliant. So Robert, man, thank you so much for all the problems. I really appreciate it. It was great having you on and I look forward to chatting with you soon, man. I’ll talk to you later. You’ve got my friend. Until next time, we’ll see you later on.


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