Do the math. Say 5 referral sources each refer 2 new clients per year with annual revenue of 10,000 per client. That is $100,000. No sales commission, no salespeople to manage. Your time is your biggest investment as it takes your time to “Build the 2-way Relationship.”
Who are my Business Allies and how do I reach them? Current clients and businesses that sell into your target market. Both types require special attention and, typically, neither sells what you sell so you are not competing.
Start with your clients.
Not all clients are good referral sources. Some people are downright grumpy and rarely give compliments. Others are less responsive and might not remember to return a phone call. Satisfied clients who sell into your target market are the best, so choose 10 and set up times to talk.
Ask them to give you feedback about your idea to build your referral network by creating a 2-way relationship with a small group of specific, satisfied clients to whom you will try to refer business. Ask them:
- Who are they looking to meet that you may know?
- How do they acquire new clients?
- Can I use you as a reference?
Most likely, they will ask you the same questions and want to talk about how to help you. Make sure to make the first introduction to start the ball rolling and watch the relationship bloom.
Business Allies are your next target.
Business Allies are business colleagues who sell goods and services that complement what you sell to your targets and even your clients. For example, realtors may refer to remodelers and lawyers may refer to CPAs. Finding the right general contractors is critical for trade contractors to generate repeat business.
What are the industries that sell to your client profile? Who do you know in those industries? Who do you know who know people in those industries? Answers to those questions will help narrow your list. Choose a second group of business allies and start a new dialogue. Use LinkedIn to find someone you know who knows who you want to meet. Ask your potential referrers about the industry groups in which they are active.
How you approach these 2 groups will determine whether they become your future referrers of ongoing client revenue. Your success from this point forward depends upon your follow up. Here are a few next steps:
- Identify clients and Business Allies to whom you can refer potential business.
- Initiate meetings with specific clients and Business Allies. Hold 2 meetings per week and establish meaningful relationships.
- Make several introductions.
How you engage with your referrers can take many forms. Be consistent in your messaging and your frequency of engagement. Group your referral network in your CRM and track who are your best referrers.
Finding the right clients and Business Allies is a great way to build your customer base quickly, but you won’t be able to just sit back and wait for the referrals to come to you. Communication, follow up and tracking are is keys and using your CRM to support this strategy makes it easier to succeed. If you have questions about setting up a business customer ally strategy to increase qualified referrals, contact us at 301-332-0613 or fill out the form. We want to help you grow your business.