Cultivating referral sources that send along quality leads on a regular basis is the ideal of all independent professionals. While a modest referral network can be built through good work, thinking more strategically about your referral approach can boost results greatly.
I've depended on referrals for more than twenty years. One commonality among my top recurring referral sources is that I help *them* do more business: I can help their customers overcome challenges that prevent the full utilization of the referrals source's products or services.
Example: I've enabled a web hosting provider to get their referred customers live sooner – with their offering – and the clients closer to getting the desired results from having a web site.
These referral sources are, in effect, clients too (that pay me via leads).
Or perhaps *partners* is a better descriptor: I help them look even better to their clients by helping smooth out kinks both during and after the sale and there are clear synergies between our respective offerings. (And often I'll refer customers their way from my client base).
By treating my top referral sources as de facto clients and/or partners I draw quality referrals more frequently.
I do this by helping my sources look good, achieve their goals, and grow their businesses.
Chances are you can harness more frequent referrals like this too. ⬇
Start by brainstorming where or how your offerings or capabilities might enable others' customers/clients to move faster or overcome challenges holding them back.
You may have already come across them during your work or market research – or even received a referral from them.
Next, identify the top candidates for potential key recurring referral sources: they're either already well established or rapidly and authentically growing.
They touch potential clients daily and you can help them speed up their sales cycle or intervene to head off problems.
Next, establish relationships with individuals in these organizations.
Start slowly if you need to because the dividends will be huge once a bit of trust is built up.
(There are many ways to start business relationships so I won't get into those specifics here).
Lastly, keep in regular touch with these people. Keep them at top of your outreach and relationship upkeep efforts. Remember, they're de facto clients or business partners. Interact with them. Learn about them. Care about them. Business doesn't mean it's not personal too!
By complementing a referral source's business activities you tap a lead channel that is more consistent and less haphazard.
These sources are NOT just passing your name along to a colleague they run across in happenstance once a year.
Their interactions with prospective clients for you on the regular, combined with intimate knowledge of their customer’s immediate needs and a shared mutually aligned interest in engagement success makes these situations an amazing high quality source of new potential business.
Good luck out there!
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