Yesterday morning at Bx Crows Nest, we decided to put on a round table session, where our networkers talked to us about some of the key issues they are facing in their businesses right now. As group leader, I facilitated the discussion and one of the topics was: how to build referral partnerships.
The great thing about holding a round table with a group of entrepreneurs is that everyone gets involved to bring you new ideas and advice. On the back of that I wanted to plagiarise some of the best ideas so that you know how to build and maintain good referral partnerships.
1. Get Out There!
I’m putting this at the top because no matter your knowledge base, if you don’t put yourself out there you will never build lasting referral partnerships.
So great in concept but what does this mean? Here’s a few ideas:
- Go to events with likeminded people also looking to build referral partnerships
- Start networking! There are great meetings all around Sydney
- Get active on LinkedIn
2. Know Your Customers
Ok so you are putting yourself out there, now you need to have some strategy.
As you will see below, you will need to look for synergies between yourself and your referral partner. However before you you go on the search, you need to know what to look for.
That starts with looking inward and profiling your own customer base.
3. Choosing the Right Referral Partner
After taking a look at your own clients, whether this be current or preferred, its time to find another business with the same or a similar client base.
Generally this means a referral partnership where your partner offers a different set of services to you but to the same profile of client. In this way partnering up will allow you to actually compliment each other.
I would also go one step further to ensure that there is synergy in business mentality. Business often comes down to the people so if you don’t get on with a potential partner, you’ll never create a lasting partnership.
4. Attracting Referral Partnerships
Even better than actively looking for potential partners is when they come looking for you!
You do this by getting yourself out there but also pitching yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
This is a huge topic in of itself but here’s a few ideas:
- Show your expertise with a book
- Leverage the video and get yourself a YouTube channel
- Share everything on social media
- Get invites to pitch and present
5. Provide Value First
Once you find the perfect partner, it’s about making a great first impression.
You do this by providing value first before seeking referrals for yourself.
The easiest way to achieve this is by giving as much as you can. This can be in the form of introductions for business opportunities or by giving good solid business advice.
6. Knowing Your Partner
In order to give value, you must understand who your partner’s ideal customer is and how their services can benefit that customer.
This ensures that you are able to give warm leads by prepping any referrals before passing them onto your partner.
If I was you I’d ask:
- What should I listen out for (i.e. the problem your partner solves)?
- Who is your favourite customer and what industry is he/she in?
- Whats your niche?
If you have the answers to simple questions like that you will know what to look out for and provide quality leads to strengthen your referral partnership.
7. Make Yourself Referable
Make it as easy as possible for your partner to refer business to you.
Provide them with a simple blurb for email intros, give them infographics and tell them what to look out for in order for them to find your ideal referral.
For me whenever I am targeting a particular niche, I provide resources that can help my partners sell me without as little hassle as possible. For example I am currently looking to help NDIS agencies with custom internal software so I have written a great case study and a blog post all about it!
8. Communication is Key to a Great Referral Partnership
I’d suggest you organise a regular call. This could be every week or fortnight and doesn’t have to be longer than about 20 mins.
This is where you talk about what you both are looking for and how you can add value.
Also attempt to meet every now and then to look at the more high end strategy. Look at the partnership to date and what can be improved.
9. Share Everything
This one is so simple. Sharing is caring!
- Share posts on social media
- Share resources
- Organise shared events
The more you do together the stronger the referral partnership will be!
Try to hold each other accountable.
This means setting partnership goals and analysing whether each party achieved said goals.
The more you try to improve yourself the more your referral partnership will improve!