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Business Referral Tips

The company That Grows Without Advertising

Have you ever noticed the company that never advertises, yet continues to grow? Some companies accomplish so much without spending a dime on advertising. But how do they do it? What’s the trick?

LinkedIn Referrals

The answer to growing your business without a large advertising budget is referrals. Some businesses build their client base completely through referrals. We have compiled a list of some of most useful tricks for growing your business through referrals and we start with LinkedIn because it is the most successful place on the Internet with which to grow a referral base.

LinkedIn: Professional Referral Powerhouse

The powerhouse of professional networking is LinkedIn. There is no ad in a magazine that can replace the power of connections obtained through LinkedIn. Profiles on many social networking sites are useful, but LinkedIn provides interval success by serving as a platform in sustaining and building business relationships. By building a robust profile in LinkedIn, you build authenticity. By completing your LinkedIn profile, you provide an authoritative resource on your career. It helps you to control your identity online, even in Google. You can control the top results that people see in Google when searching by your name. In most cases, your LinkedIn profile will appear at the top of these search results. So, for this reason alone, you should have a 100% complete profile in LinkedIn.

Here’s how…

A 100% complete profile in LinkedIn includes:

an executive summary and skill set
a photo
education history
three recent positions
three recommendations from your connections

To get started, click “Edit Profile” from within LinkedIn.

Be more referable.

Sounds simple enough, but not everyone does this. And remember, nobody wants to refer their clients to a company that is non-responsive. It looks bad. So go to work on the customer experience and the transaction that your company provides. Always be extremely responsive to your clients, even if you do not have the answer or solution, respond to the client with “We’re on it” or “We are researching this issue and will keep you informed of our progress towards a resolution”. A quick response to a customer’s question makes a bold statement that your company is eager to please. Customers appreciate that and will tell their friends or family about the pleasant experience that they had with your business.

Make it an expectation.

Make it an expectation that every single one of your customers is going to be a referral source. Start talking about it in the lead conversion process, when you are selling to potential clients. Introduce the idea that “Within 90 days”, for example, “you’re going to be so happy that we are going to ask you to refer three people who need the same positive results from our company.” It;s a great marketing message that “You are going to be thrilled”.

Make it a practice to participate in LinkedIn groups and discussions.

When you join a LinkedIn group, be sure to specify that you want to receive emails from the group. Then, daily, scan those emails and if one of the current discussions is relevant to your skill set, chime in. Keep your comments short and professional. When composing your comments, make it a habit to regularly think in terms of gaining more referrals. Set goals for yourself each week and keep track of the number of referrals that you get.

Be specific when asking for a referral.

Be specific when asking for a referral. And always-remember to ask for referrals. Don’t be shy about it. A good example is, “Our best referral is a small business owner who… ” and ask your customers for three referrals “… so that we can make them a happy client.”

Be consistent when asking for referrals.

Make every client meeting an opportunity to collect referrals, but don’t bee too pushy or obvious.

Offer commissions or referral fees.

Have you ever seen companies that have a page on their site, in a very visible position, that says “Refer a friend and get $100”? Well, it works! Educate clients about your service and how you can help other businesses. And don’t forget to mention that by referring clients to your company, they are paid a referral fee. It’s a win-win for both parties. Reward your referral sources. Keep them informed of the progress and the satisfaction of the person to whom they referred to you.

Happy customers are the best referrals.

Ideal referrals come from happy customers. So make it a habit to over-deliver and your referral base will grow.

Follow up after a sale.

Follow up immediately after meeting a new referral. Ask that referral to personally meet for coffee or write a letter of introduction to begin the relationship.

Most sales people stop at the end of the sales process. They go through the same cycle of prospect, present, close, follow-up. That sales strategy has worked in the past, but to build your company, you need to build relationships and become known as an expert in your field. You need to be known as a person of value. If your customers value the knowledge and expertise you offer to them, then the easier it is going to be for you to maintain a relationship after the sale has been completed.

Business Referrals: Tips on Making the Most of Limited Networking Time

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.

Business Referrals – 5 Easy Steps To Increase Your List Of Referral Partners To 100

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!