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Setting Up a Program to Get More Referrals

I’ve been listening to Sue Clement’s “Success Formula for How to Get More Referrals”, to help me set up a referral program for a client. Here is a summary for building your business with referrals.

Whether you develop a Reciprocal, Ambassador, or Client Referral Partnership, there are six key factors that need to be present for a successful referral partnership.

Sue Clement’s Referral Success Formula:

K + L + T + O + M + U?(Know + Like + Trust + Opportunity + Mindset + Understanding)

Know, Like and Trust

These three go hand in hand with each other. Receiving a referral is like receiving a gift. What will it take for someone to Know, Like and Trust you enough to send you a gift of qualified referrals? Are you likeable? Are you doing things to deepen relationships? Think about what you need to be more likeable and trustworthy. Sue recommends the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie as a good resource for this. Trust is hugely important and includes having an honourable word, great service, integrity and high business standards. You also need to be able to effectively communicate why you are better than your competition for your unique specialty.

Opportunity

Your referral partner must be presented with opportunities to come in contact with your ideal prospects. The more your partner is presented with these opportunities, the better it is for you. A good starting point for developing referral relationships is to ask your favourite clients what other services they buy. You want to find out what interests your clients, what other needs do they have and how do they fulfill those interests / needs. According to Sue Clement, the number one rule in business / marketing is this: For people to give you referrals, they need to know WHO your ideal customer is.

You may know your target market or niche market, but this needs to be narrowed down even more to find WHO your ideal customer is.

For example, PCIS provides IT consulting and web portals for large enterprises. Therefore, let’s do some marketing research on the TOP 100 enterprises in Metro Vancouver [Google search http://www.bcbusinessonline.ca/profiles-and-spotlights/businesses/bc-top-100-biggest-companies-by-revenue-2011] and look at WHO our ideal contacts may be, from C-level to IT Managers. We can then look up the IT staff on Linked In to fine tune what we know about WHO our ideal customers are. The findings should be communicated to the referral partner, which will allow them to better recognize opportunities for sending you business.

Mindset

It’s important to find a referral partner with an abundance mentality or you are wasting your time with them. For example, someone who thinks in limited terms may think of prospects as having limited funds to spend, and may subsequently end up keeping those prospects entirely to themselves. Your referral partner must have an abundance mentality and a genuine intention of helping you get more clients.

Understanding

Each partner within the referral relationship offers different types of services to different target customers within the same industry. For successful reciprocal referral relationships, both businesses need to understand each others ideal customers, key competitive advantages, price points, business processes and standards, unique selling points, and method of passing referrals. It’s important to remember that your referral partner is not your salesperson. They provide warm introductions and help prospects see the value in your business, before sending them over to you. Understanding your business will greatly help them in this process.

Developing a solid and successful referral partnership takes time. In Sue Clement’s book, she describes 18 things to do to develop the referral relationship. One thing she talks about is how to nominate your referral partners for awards, creating motivation and referral success.

How to Get Started with Building Your Business With Referrals

Take the formula K + L + T + O + M + U, think about where all of your referrals in the past have come from, and think of how to continue growing your business from that. Take your referral sources or partners for coffee or lunch, and find out how to leverage opportunities with relationships you currently have.

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