One of the least expensive marketing strategies is to develop a team of referral buddies who share business referrals with you. Although such a strategy can be low-cost, it can take quite a bit of time to build and nourish the relationships of your team members. Essentially, your referral buddies become your sales force, just as you become a member of each of their sales teams. As you’re building your team and more and more business is coming your way, the time you have for networking tends to decrease, so it pays to use your networking time more effectively. Here are a few tips on how you can make the most of your limited networking time.
Less is more.
Business people do not always need a large following in order to make a good living. I know a mortgage broker who works with only about a dozen real estate agents and a small support team, consisting of a home inspector, property appraiser, insurance agent, and lawyer. He receives about 10-15 referrals a month from his referral team and half that from his existing clients. He makes two calls per day to his clients and meets his referral buddies every quarter for training. And his business is doing very well indeed.
Focus on filling gaps in your referral network.
Take a good look at the people who are on your referral team. Who is missing? Do your friends ask you if you know a good plumber, or chiropractor, or housekeeper? If so, start looking for those types of people. If you know what you’re looking for, you won’t waste your time at networking events.
Look for more of what’s working for you.
One of my business associates told me that he didn’t understand how my mortgage broker friend could be working with so many realtors. If the premise of referral marketing is to share referrals, there was no way the mortgage broker could find enough referrals for all of the realtors on his team. He has a good point. The mortgage broker probably can’t. But as long as he is solving problems for the agents, he’ll continue to get referrals from them. He does two things very well. He almost always finds a mortgage for the clients of his real estate agents, which is important to them because their paychecks depend on it. And he introduces his people to them by running a top-notch property investment seminar, to which a real estate agent also invites his existing clients. Each seminar usually results in one or two closed deals. Win, win, win.
If you are like most entrepreneurs or small business owners, you’re busy, busy, busy. If your low-cost, referral-based strategy got you where you are today, please carry on with it. Just make the few necessary adjustments to make the best use of your time for the greatest benefit.