By referring their clients and contacts to you, referral partners help generate leads.
Individually and collectively, you and your referral partners make up a system that offers very significant benefits.
The most obvious of these benefits is the cross-referral of prospective clients.
Who Else Serves Your Clients?
Ideal partners are those service professionals who provide services that complement your services. Similarly, your services could complement the services that your referral partners provide.
If for example you provide management consulting services, potential referral partners might include other professionals such accountants, financial advisers, website designers.
Similarly, if you provide nutritional counseling and coaching services, your potential referral partners could include fitness trainers, health care providers and motivational coaches.
Ideally, you and your referral partners will refer clients to each other so that clients will receive the best of all possible service.
Identifying Potential Referral Partners
To build your network, start by identifying businesses in your niche market that offer the above, or similar, services.
This could involve re-examining your niche to learn what other businesses serve your ideal clients in that market.
If you don’t know the owners or the people who operate these businesses contact them as you would prospective clients.
Tell them about the concept of referral partners.
Explain that you would like to meet with them to discuss setting up such a relationship with them.
This will give them some background information on what you have in mind.
When you meet with your prospective partners ensure that they know the following information about you:
- what distinguishes you in the market
- how you serve clients
- what attracts clients to you
- the kinds of clients that you serve best
It’s also important to learn similar information about them and their service.
Exchange supplies of business cards, brochures and other appropriate marketing communications and advertising specialities.
This makes it easier for prospective clients to contact you or your partners.
Also exchange website addresses copies of newsletters to help your partners and their clients learn more about you and vice versa.
To Generate Referrals…Make Referrals
Referral relationships of this nature work when the parties make referrals to each other.
The stop working when one party expects to receive referrals from others without making referrals.
It’s that simple: if want to receive referrals, you must be prepared to make referrals.
And when you do receive referrals there are 2 important factors to remember.
First, your referral partners’ role is simply to make the referral. It remains your task to convert these leads to clients.
And second, once you have received a referral, thank the referring partner…and keep him or her up to date on the outcome.
This will demonstrate that you appreciate the referral…and leave the door open for more.
In some circumstances, it might also make sense to show your appreciation with an appropriate thank you gift.
If you ignore referrals…or take them for granted…it’s only a matter of time before your partners stop making referrals to you.
Helping Build Better Businesses
The true power of referral partners extends far beyond exchanging leads that generate new business.
These relationships allow you and your partners to help each other build and maintain profitable businesses by exchanging useful information.
As you and your partners continue to monitor what’s happening in your market, inevitably you and your partners will come across information that that will help each other.
Obviously by sharing this information, you will also help each other build better businesses.
Similarly, when building your own website, by sharing your research with your referral partners, you help them learn from your experience.
You could also invite them to prepare content for your site.
To help them prepare content, refer them to the same resources that use to prepare our own content.
Like you, they will benefit from pages on this site that address web content, and great web pages.
Whether by exchanging leads or sharing useful business information, referral partners can be a huge success factor in your business.