Oh hey, is your customer base scarily-similar to mine? If yes, we should definitely become referral partners. Why? Because it is one of the top FREE strategies companies use to scale their business and when they work… they work really well.
Think about it… you see this type of strategy all the time. Why else would Depends, Adult Diapers partner with the NFL (anyone else remember that? lol)? It’s because they have wildly similar customers and can easily refer them to one another without losing business.
You can use the same strategy in small business but there’s a certain way to approach a potential partner… and I’ll share how you can do it without being a total weirdo.
Obviously, if you already have a repore with a business owner who doesn’t compete with you, but shares the same audience, you can directly speak with them about becoming ‘referral partners’.
But if you don’t, and you’re setting out to make new connections with the hopes of partnering up… there are a few things you should and should not do.
Here’s a quick summary of ‘don’ts’.
Do not promise exposure, sales, making them look good, or over-explain how you’re not trying to steal their business. They do not need you, so all this does is make you look bad.
Also, do not assume your partnership with fellow businesses is doing them a favor. Your existence isn’t going to earn you their business, and if you don’t believe me, tell me… what’s it like living in fantasyland with unicorns and hobbits?
That’s why the first rule in developing referral business is realizing that they don’t need you. They don’t need your promises, and they don’t need you to make them look good, and they don’t need you messin’ with their clients.
The second rule is they need business just like you, so focus on that. They need referrals to quality prospects, just like you do. So, that’s the angle you should go with.
The ‘secret’ to making referral partnerships work is to develop a referral relationship, where the referrals go in both directions, not just one.
What it all boils down to is, companies need the same thing you need —> business. That means they need a relationship where the business they refer clients to also refer prospects back to them.
They need partners, not moochers. And if you’re not giving back, that’s exactly what you are… a moocher. Or vice versa.
Now, here’s how you’re going to find the right businesses to partner with…
Make a list of potential partners: Look for businesses who are already established in the market; have the reach and reputation you wish for yourself; and whose quality of products and services match yours.
Know what you’re trying to achieve: What are you looking for with each partner? Joint marketing? Maybe joint sales calls? Only referring clients back and forth? Get clear on what you want, then establish a plan.
Set up an appointment with your top ten prospects: Plan to speak with them over the phone, introduce yourself further, engage pleasantries, then get right down to business.
Write Your Proposal: During your meeting, present your proposal. Your proposal must focus on what the partnership will do for your potential partner, not what it will do for you. People love to know ‘what’s in it for me.’ so if you approach the conversation from a self-centered point of view, your proposal is dead before you even begin.
Take charge, and make the relationship happen: remember, this was your idea, not theirs. Work hard to make things happen, get results, and hold up your end of the deal. Once they see how serious you are about making it work, they’ll reciprocate the same energy towards the relationship.
Referral partnerships are great door openers and business builders. But they aren’t magical. They take work, time and effort. And most of all, they require you to do what you say you’re going to do —> be a source of new business for your partner, just as they are expected to be a source of new business for you.
Are you ready to increase your exposure and scale? We can help introduce you to the right referral partners, plus increase your potential as a sought after partner. Let’s discuss how we can boost your visibility and grow your audience and make you an irresistible company to partner with. Book your complimentary call now.
Lisa M Gale Digital Marketing helps service professional business owners improve their online presence and visibility to attract new clients. We develop systems and processes to improve digital marketing efforts and help entrepreneurs reach their business goals. Download your Digital Marketing Made Simple for free here >>