A great referral partner can be extremely valuable to your business. This type of relationship, when structured properly, will be mutually beneficial and result in success for both parties involved.
Referral marketing is a reciprocal relationship. It involves leveraging relationships with partners, customers and influencers, to recommend your product or service to people in their spheres. It also includes your obligation to be a committed referring parter in return.
Personal referrals, recommendations made in face-to-face interactions and networking are highly trusted. Online reviews and testimonials are extremely powerful, and timeless in providing credibility (or not) for a business. (Be sure always to ask your customers for referrals that you can include in your marketing.)
Networking tweaks your social skills, and allows people get to know you, and gain confidence in your capabilities – and your recommendations.
Developing a Referral Partnership
Start with a good elevator speech. Every business should have a short, well-written description that highlights key points about services and products. This introduction to your company is something that you and your referral partner can present to anyone, anytime, and it makes it easy for people to understand who you are and what you do.
Identify ideal referral partners. Identify those who have contact with your target market. Create an introduction and suggest a forming partnership program.
Define your ideal customer. Ensure your referral partner understands your services and products, and who would make a good prospect. Communicate with them regularly and stay current.
Network regularly & often. Meet potential clients and referral resources at networking events, ask for introductions, and, when appropriate, include recommendations for your referral partner.
Maintain a good reputation. Be trustworthy, reliable and competent in all things. Deliver beyond what your clients expect and, as a result, they will share their great experience with others. Look for ways to be helpful, contribute solutions, resources and ideas. Happy customers return to do more business, and they provide highly trusted testimonials.
BE a highly effective referral partner. Understand who makes a good prospect for your referral partner. Honor your agreement with them, and set aside time and effort to updating your teams and networks about your partner’s capabilities.
Great referral partners are worth their weight in gold. Treasure and serve that relationship.