As business owners, we are often told that we need to build a referral network. What is a referral network? Well, it is usually a network of individuals and/or organizations that give referrals. For a business owner, the individuals can be customers, vendors, or former employees who refer your business because you have great customer service and product.
Building a referral network does not happen overnight. However, there are practical ways that you can put into place that helps build your referral network. Before we jump into the practical ways, we want to share the main reason that people refer a business. They refer because they know they can trust you. They trust that you can provide a solution to a specific need. They trust you because your product or service works. They trust you because you are reliable.
Remembering that trust is the foundation, here are 4 ways that you show value to your referral network.
Spend time with those who are referrers
Now that people are starting to meet in person again, schedule time to meet with those who refer business. Take them to lunch or out for coffee. Learn why they referred business to you and learn how you can refer business back to them. Trust is built through relationships. A cup of coffee will go a long way.
Sponsor an event and ask a referrer to speak
Our customers like to know they are valued. They like to know they are more than just a number to meet a quota. When you sponsor an event, ask a referrer to speak as a subject matter export. You can also spotlight a referrer at an event and show the audience how important your customers are to you. Make it about them. Trust is built through showing value. Customers are more willing to refer when they feel valued.
Use your CRM as a referral tool for your customers
As a business owner and/or salesperson, you have probably been asked, “Do you know someone who can (fill in the blank)…?” When you are asked, you can use your CRM to look at customers and contacts who can be helpful. Referring to someone in your CRM may not directly relate to a monetary exchange for you, but it sets a precedence of trust. The one who asked will know they can trust you in the future, and the one you refer will know that your relationship with them is two-way.
Always say “Thank You”
We know this sounds like common sense, but, unfortunately, it is taken for granted. You can set up an automated personalized thank you message from your CRM that goes to both the referrer and the referral. However, there are times when it is important to pick up the phone and thank the referrer yourself, especially, when they have referred more than one person to you. Trust is built when your referral network knows you took time out of your schedule to personally send an email or make a phone call.\
You can use your CRM to build a referral network. Our article “How to Use Your CRM to Build Your ‘Referrer’ Audience” gives practical advice to help your build your referral network, but that is just part of it. You need to make your referral network feel like they are making the right decision when they refer your business. If you have questions about building a referral network or would like to schedule a demo of our CRM, please call us at 301-332-0613 or fill out the form below. We would love to talk to you.