Would you like to multiply the number of leads that you get from your ideal target customers while spending little or no money? Who wouldn’t, right? If that sounds like the description of the perfect marketing technique to you, then you really ought to consider adding referral partners to your marketing lead generation tool kit.
Referral Partners are other professionals who provide services to your target clients but are not competitive with you, such as landscapers, plumbers, designers and realtors. Since these folks are meeting regularly with your target clients they have the potential to find leads for you on a regular basis, and you can do the same for them. Referral Partner marketing is a win-win for you and your referral partner, and it has the potential to create a steady stream of leads to your business.
Interested? Here are the 7 steps that you need to take to build your business with referral partners:
1. Define the customers you are targeting in detail. The referral sources for residential and commercial customers may not be the same so define each one separately.
2. Brainstorm other service providers who might also be working with the same target customers as you but don’t directly compete with you. There are so many people who provide residential and commercial building services that your list should be a long one.
3. Locate specific people or companies in each of the service provider categories that you have chosen. It is important that you find people who are servicing the same target customers as you do. For example, if you target million dollar homes, in specific neighborhoods, find providers who do the same. You can do this by networking or by finding providers that you see in the neighborhoods when you are working on your jobs.
4. Call them up and introduce yourself. Say “I have an idea that can help promote your business” or “I’d like to get together and explore how we might help each other do more business.” They will be interested in talking to you. Set up a time to meet.
5. When you meet:
a. Talk about them first, what they do, what they are trying to achieve and what help do they need to get there. This will help you better understand how you can help each other and make your referral relationship a win for both of you.
b. Talk about you and your business and your needs and goals.
c. Explore ways that you can help each other. The possibilities are endless! Here are a few:
i. Lead sharing.
ii. Lead sharing with monetary incentive (if it doesn’t look like an even trade).
iii. Cross promote each other to your clients through your email lists.
iv. Trade guest spots in each other’s newsletters to give each other exposure.
v. Give each other coupons to give to your respective clients.
vi. Trade introductions to other referral partners you know.
vii. Create a lead sharing group with other providers.
d. Agree on how you will help each other and set up some initial goals and actions before you finish the meeting, e.g. “Let’s make a goal to get each other one referral in the next month to try this arrangement out. Then let’s get back together in a month and see how it is working.”
6. Consistently care for and feed your partnerships to grow them over time. This is critical! For your referral partnerships to be the most effective, you must keep in touch with your partners to stay top of mind, build trust and to make sure that the relationship is working for both of you. I recommend that you meet in person at least quarterly and touch base at least once or twice a quarter for reasons other than referral. Every time my clients touch base, the leads start to flow again. Here are some things that you can do to keep in touch:
o A quick touch base call
o Send an article you saw that they might be interested in
o Share a resource: a new idea, a website, an app, a book, a person, a webinar, a newsletter
o Send them an invitation to a networking event that they might want to go to
o Send a thank you note when they send a referral or a small gift
7. Every six months or so, pare down your list to remove any partners that didn’t pan out.
If you consistently follow the seven steps that I have laid out here, you will create a highly effective, low cost flow of high quality leads to help you grow your business.
So what are you waiting for?
About the Author
Bill Silverman is the owner of Springboard Business Coaching. He is dedicated to helping you propel your business to the next level of growth and profit while you work less. He can be reached at (856) 751-1989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.