Getting clients as a referral from a trusted professional brings qualified, trusting new clients without any acquiring cost. This is a great reason why creating relationships with complementary service providers is extremely beneficial as a business building practice.
One referral is worth more than 1000 people seeing your ad. Why? A referred client comes ready to enjoy, is part of a network, is three times more likely to refer you to someone else if you meet or exceed their expectations.
Many service providers are asked by their clients who they should go to for complementary services, if you’d like to be in their list of recommendations, they need to know you!
Here’s how you start.
5 Ways to Build Your Referral Network
1. Join and become ACTIVE in 2 associations.
Choose an association that is related to your industry or field, and another that has more of a general business focus. You’ll meet experts in your specific market in the first type, and mix with successful entrepreneurs from all areas in the other kind. Each will provide valuable contacts. Look on Meetup.com and local facebook groups for groups that service the same customers as you.
2. Share your knowledge freely.
Consider giving presentations at no charge for a local Chamber of Commerce or other associations in which you participate. Donate samples of your product or service for fundraisers. Volunteer to write articles for smaller publications that reach your target audience. All these activities serve to increase your visibility while giving you an opportunity to showcase your expertise and generate good will.
3. Give referrals!
It’s important to actively be giving recommendations! [bctt tweet=”A referral network depends on YOU giving and connecting as more than half the equation.”] This not only highlights your credibility and connections, but it’s also likely to generate in-kind referrals on the part of those colleagues and associates for whom you’ve generated business. Remember, what goes around, comes around.
4. Do a good job for your clients.
This strategy may sound like common sense, but it’s the most powerful one of all. When you do a good job for your clients, they not only bring you repeat business, but will send other business your way as well. Work hard to follow up with not only your client but thank those that referred you. Taking the time to send a little appreciation will cement that relationship well beyond their first referral.
Many entrepreneurs continually pass up this golden opportunity to build their business. Train yourself at the conclusion of a successful project to ask for your client’s business again, and to suggest that they pass along your name to others. Be sure your customers know that the experience of working with them was one you’d like to repeat, and that you’d like more customers just like them!
An active business referral network is the basis for many profitable businesses. Especially for new business owners, work on building your network, rather than building your business. Having a vibrant network online and offline will create a business. Build referrals and reviews, and your business will flourish.