How To Create Strategic Referral Sources and Referral Partnerships

Date August 14, 2010

Are referrals the life blood of your business?  Often times when I am consulting with businesses about referral marketing strategies they tell me that referrals are the top way they receive new customers.  When I follow up with follow-up-referrals-man-bull-hornmore questions about how they generate referrals I am shocked to discover many of these same businesses have no referral strategy in place.  The referrals they receive happen by chance and they have no system to encourage or increase referrals coming into their business.

If you are one of these companies that rely on new referral business you might consider creating strategic referral sources.  Strategic referral sources or referral partners are designed to create referral relationships where you and your partnering business give referrals to each other.  This may be a business in or out of your industry.  Here are a few examples:

  • Business attorneys referring Family Attorneys or Estate Planning Attorneys
  • CPA’s referring Bookkeepers
  • Dentists referring Family Photographers
  • Marketing Firms referring Social Media Firms
  • Insurance Brokers referring Financial  Planners

When meeting with possible referral sources it’s important to learn as much as you can to start the referral process.  Here are six questions you can ask your potential referral partners to insure success:

  1. Can you give me an example of your ideal client or customer?
  2. Please explain your biggest challenge in your business.
  3. Who is your best referral partner?
  4. What makes you or your company different from your competitors?
  5. Are you on Social Media?  Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter?  (make sure you connect with them)
  6. Is there anything more you would like to tell me about you or your company that might help me give you a referral?

At this point you should have everything you need to start referring this person or business.  I find the fastest way to start receiving referrals from a new referral source is to give them referrals as soon as possible.  I make it a point to seek out opportunities for them as I know the more business they receive from my network the more committed they will be to referring my business.

If you start creating referral partners as strategy you are guaranteed to grow your referral business!

Attracting New Customers and Increasing Your Referrals this Year!

Date January 6, 2010

Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Seasonal Parties are starting to become fond memories for most of us.  Many businesses are focused on the New Year and thinking about what to do different.  New Year Resolutions have come up in almost every conversation I have had this week with businesses owners.

moneytreeEverything from growing the business, increasing referrals, getting more involved with the community, attending more networking events, creating more systems, increasing marketing, adding more staff, and list goes on and on.  The greatest thing about all these conversations is how many businesses seem to really be thinking about what they can do different.  How they can really improve and grow their business this year.

For my businesses focus seems to be at the top of my list.  Really identifying where I need to spend my time and making sure I hold myself accountable to where my time is spent is number one for me!  I have really thought about what my highest income producing activities are for each of my businesses and where I want these businesses to go this year.  By doing this exercise I have now identified actionable items and activities which I should do each day to achieve these goals.  I am now in the process of listing these activities and creating daily, weekly, and monthly goals for each one.

Once this is complete I will have this document in front of me each day.  It will work like a check list insuring I am doing the action items and activities on a consistent basis which will lead to my desired results.

My questions for you are what are you thinking about this week?  What are you changing in your business to insure a great 2010?  Are you willing to take the steps necessary for your success?  Are you going to attend one more networking event each month this year?  Are you going to join BNI, LeTip, or you local Chamber of Commerce?  Are you going to learn more about Social Media and how to use Social Media in your business?  Are you going to follow up with every lead you receive?  Are you going to follow up with every person you meet?  Are you going to thank the customers that buy from you each month?  Are you going to create more meaningful relationships this year?

Take a moment and share with us what you are going to do to insure your success in 2010 by joining the conversation and leaving a comment!

Sending Holiday Cards to Your Customers is a Waste of Time!

Date December 10, 2009

Did I get your attention?  You only have a few days left to get this task done.  Are you are one of the many business owners or sales professionals who still have this task on your list?  You may even have a stack of holiday cards sitting on your desk ready to go.  But at some point in the past month or most likely many times you decided to put it off, wait until tomorrow, or maybe take care of writing and sending your holiday greeting cards over one of the past weekends.

And now you find yourself exactly where you don’t want to be, 15 days before the big holiday, no holiday greeting Holiday-cards-assortmentcards in the mail.  You have a decision to make…  Do you stop everything and send those holiday cards out or do you just forget about it?

The answer? STOP EVERYTHING AND GET IT DONE NOW! This may seem a bit crazy or even bias because you know I am a big SendOutCards user and often promote using SendOutCards on Follow Up Success.  Card sending is an important step in your follow up process and holiday card sending is almost at the top.

Here are my top three reasons why you should stop everything and send out your holiday greeting cards now:

  1. Appreciating your customers and prospects – Every single one of your customers enjoys being appreciated and the holidays is a great time to say thank you for the past business you have received.  Prospects can easily be turned into customers by simply saying thank you for learning more about you and your business while wishing for them a great holiday with family and friends.
  2. Reestablishing the business relationship – One of my goals for 2010 is to create stronger relationships with my customers and prospects.  By sending holiday cards I will reestablish past relationships that I may have let slip through the cracks.  This is important when you reach out to past customers or prospects in the New Year as you will have recent contact.
  3. Top of Mind Awareness – This is the big one!  Creating top of mind awareness with your customers and prospects when they are surrounded by their closest friends and family is an essential step in your follow up and referral strategy.  If you are top of mind with your customer or prospect they are more likely to bring you and your business up in conversation or think about you for a potential referral.

Hopefully I have encouraged you to take action!  Maybe, you have already picked up that box of holiday cards from your desk or floor and have starting filling them out.  Possibly, you have too many cards to send and feel hopeless!  If you are feeling hopeless SendOutCards would be the best gift to give yourself this holiday season!  With my help within a few hours you can have all of your holiday cards in the mail each personalized with your message.  To learn more about SendOutCards or to set up your account visit my Follow Up Tools page or contact me.  I am more than happy to help you through this process!

Whether you use SendOutCards, go buy cards from the store, or use the cards you already have, just get it done!  Stop everything and do this now!  I promise you it’s worth the time.

Do you have great business success stories from sending cards?  Please tell us all about it by leaving a comment!

Follow Up Tools: Creating A Simple Newsletter Opt In Form For Your Website

Date December 2, 2009

There should be no question in your mind that email is a powerful follow up tool for your business and should be included in your follow up strategy.  Creating a list of customers, prospects, and referral sources who have asked you to market to them with email by requesting to be on your newsletter or specials list is brilliant!  In fact why not take a moment to subscribe to my Follow Up Success Newsletter now!

With your email list you have the ability to:

  • Follow up with past customers
  • Announce new product releases
  • Educate past and current customers
  • Continue to market additional products and services
  • Share success stories with your product or service
  • Maintain top of mind awareness
  • Create additional referral opportunities

Now is the time to start creating a list for your business.  There are many options available when deciding which email service to use for your list.  I use and recommend both AWeber and iContact with my websites.  These are two great companies to use and are pretty similar.  Look into each of them and decide which one will work best for you or opt into the form below and learn more about how AWeber might work for your business:


Now You Can Multiply Profits AND Automate Your Business

AWeber’s email marketing software makes it easy.

Learn how they can do it for you, too.

Take A Free Test Drive Today!

AWeber just made it really easy to create great looking newsletter opt in forms for your website or blog!  Released just in the past few weeks you can now go to your AWeber account and create a new form using one of the many templates available.  Choose from many great categories like automotive, corporate, retail, money, real estate, and more.  Learn more about the AWeber options by visiting Shawn Collins Affiliate Marketing Blog.

Watch this video to learn how you can create a new form from your existing AWeber account:

You will need to set up your AWeber account to use the form generator but I promise it will be worth it!

Send Thanksgiving Cards to Follow Up With Your Clients!

Date November 9, 2009

There are many reasons to send greeting cards to your customers. General follow up thank you cards, birthday cards, customer appreciation cards, and of course holiday cards. All of these customer follow up greeting cards should be a standard marketing practice for any business.

thanksgiving-greeting-cardOne of my favorite opportunities to reach out to existing customers and create stronger relationships is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving after all is all about gratitude and what better way to show gratitude to your customers than by sending them a Thanksgiving card and letting them know how much you appreciate their business?

I truly believe in sending Thanksgiving cards to follow up with your customers and prospects. In fact I have recent memories of handwriting over 500 Thanksgiving cards to my clients not too long ago. This was a huge and exhausting task with each card containing two or three lines of personalized text. I spent well over two months completing this process! And while I was all gung-ho to send out holiday greeting cards to my clients as well… It was just not going to happen. I had all the holiday cards on my desk but could not get them completed in the two remaining weeks I had left. At the time I remember thinking there must be a better to get this done… Of course there is a better way and I discovered it about six months later. The next time I mailed Thanksgiving cards to my clients I sent 600 and did them all in about four hours instead of two months! I used an incredible system called SendOutCards and you can learn more about this process by visiting my Follow Up Tools page.

There are many reasons to send out Thanksgiving cards to your clients, prospects, and referral sources. The main one being appreciation. Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated and when you do this your clients will do more business with you, prospects will start doing business with you, and your referral sources will send you even more referrals.

Now is the time! Start following up with your customers and prospects today with Thanksgiving cards!