Do you obtain much of your business through referrals from others-from people who know, trust, and like you?
Is your network of referral partners producing the number of referrals you want?
Do you want to increase the size and quality of your referral partner network?
Getting business by referral from other people is one of the best ways to grow your business. If you want to earn more business by referral, you have to be involved in a referral partner network that is large enough so it can provide you with a steady stream of new business. Referral partners are people who are in touch with your prospective clients on a regular basis.
For example, if a business provides web site design services to small business, their referral partners may include graphic artists, copywriters, business coaches, etc.
Get the picture?
By actively seeking out referral partners, you will increase your chances of developing relationships with people who can refer business to you on a regular basis.
A network of 100 referral partners is usually large enough to provide you with enough business. Yet, is not too large that you can’t handle staying in touch with them—perhaps monthly with an eZine publication, or meeting them quarterly for coffee or lunch.
Building Your Referral Partner List
Here are the 5 steps you can take to build your referral partner list:
Think about who your potential client is, and brainstorm what type of business services they need to operate their business. This information will give you clues about what other professional categories may be good referral partners. Develop a list of 10 professional categories.
For each professional category you identified, actively seek to make the acquaintance of 10 people. There’s a good chance you already know people in these occupations. If you need more individuals to increase your list to 10, ask current business associates if they know individuals they would recommend. Then, ask them if they would introduce these people to you.
Schedule a time to meet with your potential referral partners. Meeting these individuals provides you an opportunity to tell them about your products and services, and their benefits. It also gives potential partners the opportunity to tell you about their products and services, as well. At your meetings, provide prospective referral partners specific details about your market niche so they will be able to quickly identify if a prospect is right for your business. For example, if you are seeking businesses that generate $1M to $5M in revenues, and operate in the metalworking industry, give your referral partner this information.
When you meet someone who seems willing to send you referrals, add their name to your referral partner list until eventually you attain 10 people x 10 occupations = 100 referral partners
Once you have 100 names on your referral partner list, and you’ve made acquaintances, develop your tactics for how you will stay in touch and build relationships. Some ideas about how to do this are; develop a tickler file to remind you to contact and meet them, send out a monthly eZine to keep your business top-of-mind, attend networking functions they may attend, send greeting cards, or invite them to a cocktail or holiday party. The methods you can use to keep in touch are endless! TIP: Contact your referral partners at least one time every three months-once a month is even better!