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 more 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:
- Can you give me an example of your ideal client or customer?
- Please explain your biggest challenge in your business.
- Who is your best referral partner?
- What makes you or your company different from your competitors?
- Are you on Social Media? Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter? (make sure you connect with them)
- 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!