Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Building Good Referral Sources

To be an effective net worker, you should constantly be strengthening your relationships with referral sources. The best way to go about this depends on each individual referral source and to what s/he responds. So while there isn’t one “best” way to solidify your connections with referral sources, you can take a number of actions to build good will and credibility in those relationships. Here, are ten examples that should give you some ideas and get you off on the right foot.
1) Arrange a one-to-one meeting. Meeting a referral source in person is an excellent opportunity to learn more about his or her business and interests. Prepare questions in advance so that the conversation flows smoothly. Be ready to give an update on your business and to ask lots of questions about your source’s interests.

2) Send a thank-you card. A handwritten thank-you card makes a great impression, especially in this age of electronic communication. If you’d rather send something online, is a useful resource.

3) Send a gift. Like a thank-you card, a gift, however small or inexpensive, can help build visibility and credibility with your referral source. Try to find out what his or her likes are, such as favorite foods, hobbies, etc., and send a gift that is personalized.

4) Call a referral source. An occasional, casual phone call is a good way to keep the relationship strong. It’s also a good idea to have a piece of news or some tidbit of information to pass along that will benefit or interest your referral source.

5) Display a source’s brochure. Doing a bit of sales work on behalf of a referral source can only enhance your relationship. If you have a public area for your business or are doing a trade show, offer to place your source’s materials where your clients can read them.

6) Extend an invitation. Invite a referral source to a networking event. Introducing him or her to other businesspeople you know gives your source an opportunity to meet others in your target market. It may also provide new business opportunities for you both.

7) Nominate them for an award. Watch for these types of opportunities in publications like Crain’s and CORP Magazine, local service and civic organizations. Find out what groups and interests in which your referral source is involved and check to see if there is a form of recognition associated with them.

8) Include a source in your newsletter. Even a brief mention of a referral source in your newsletter can pay dividends down the road, including the opportunity for them to reciprocate the favor in their own newsletter.

9) Arrange a speaking engagement. Help your referral source get in front of a group that would be interested in his or her area of expertise. Local chapters of service organizations, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, are always looking for good speakers.
10) Turn the table. Offer your referral source a referral s/he might find useful. It’s often a wonderful way to build your relationship. By helping to build your source’s business, you help create a debt of gratitude that will encourage your source to respond in kind.

1 comment:

  1. Very useful advise Franklin. And it has some interesting parallels to a book I am working on right now.


    -Richard Stiennon