By Deb Walton, Chief Gift Officer & Queen of Client Courting

When you think of a “Happy Accident” you might not think of having a result like the one that State Farm Agent Jeff Kolp had—a huge spike in referral business in July—more than double his annual average. All because a gift meant for someone else ended up at his home.

One day last October, a package showed up at Jeff’s home, but it was addressed to someone who didn’t live there. Jeff set it aside thinking he’d deal with it later. Soon he received a phone call from Indy City Gifts’ Chief Gift Officer, Deb Walton, apologizing for the mistaken delivery. She encouraged him to go ahead and enjoy the contents of the box.

Jeff was impressed with the presentation and personalized branding of the gift, not to mention the taste of the delicious shortbread cookies. It got him thinking about what he could do for his own business. “So many things don’t feel genuine,” he says.

Authenticity was a key factor for him. “It reinforces what we try to do in our business—build relationships on trust. When you think of insurance, it’s not the brightest part of your day,” he adds. “If they have bought insurance as a commodity, we try to overcome that negative impression.”

So Jeff and his team started a referral program with Indy City Gifts. Their goal was to introduce themselves to potential business partners. “We stuck our toe in the water, and then a whole foot and pretty soon you are in the bathtub,” he says. Although it took a few months to get “all the way in the tub,” by July the results were obvious. From January to June, the average referral rate was 5%. In July, the referral rate spiked to 10%.

With thousands of other insurance agents in Central Indiana, Jeff knows that standing out in this crowded field is critical, “You’ve got to be out there marketing and drawing in new people,” he says. The Indy City Gift referral program allows him to have a product that has been branded specifically for his company and delivered directly into the hands of a person who can send him more business. “You can see that specific referral and can see that it helps,” says Jeff.

He also recognizes that there are additional benefits to having a referral program with Indy City Gifts. “Because we have this program set up, other people in the office are more active about soliciting referrals. The sales team knows it is there and using it is comfortable and easy.” The much higher referral rate has certainly made the on-going investment in the program profitable and productive for this 10-year-old business.

Pro Tip: Jeff has found that leaving behind a gift when making a sales call is a great reason to make a follow up phone call to ask if your prospect received and enjoyed their cookies. “They remember you,” he says.

If you are interested in starting a customized referral program for your company, give Chief Gift Officer Deb Walton a call today at 317-782-4438 and start working on your increased referral rate!

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