How To Create Strategic Referral Sources and Referral Partnerships

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!

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

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!