It’s summertime, and what better time to heat up your referrals?
If we’re honest about it, most of us don’t really have a strategy for encouraging referrals. We sort of take them as they come, and hope more are on the way soon!
While we can’t necessarily forecast referrals, the truth is that we can encourage a consistent stream of referrals if we stay top-of-mind with our clients and partners.
How to do that? Here are three suggestions:
1.) Ask your clients:
- After every project/engagement with a client is successfully completed, be sure to ask for two things: a testimonial about your services, and referrals to people they know that could benefit from the same services you just provided.
- Run a referrals campaign at least twice a year to request referrals from clients (and previous clients). We’ve even done this as a contest, where each client that submits a (qualified) referral is entered into a drawing for a desirable prize. Winning motivates!
2.) Take stock of existing referral partner relationships: Take the time to evaluate each of your referral partner relationship at least once per quarter. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it still make sense to be partners? How has that company treated your referrals to date? It may be time to make some changes.
- How often do you meet in person or on the phone to discuss potential referrals? Is it often enough?
- Are your partners receiving your newsletter, tip of the month, case studies, etc. so they can stay up-to-date with how you are serving clients? (If not, we know someone who can help with that 🙂 )
- Do you have enough partners? Make a list of all the services your clients may need, and fill each slot with names of service providers you know and trust enough to refer to clients. Be a valuable resource of quality professionals for your clients.
3.) Go forth and visit: Visit B2B referral networking groups in your area that meet at a convenient day and time for you. Yes, I know it’s out of the comfort zone for many of us, but it’s a great way to get to meet potential referral partners. Get a sense of who in the group might complement your services and arrange a coffee date to learn more. You don’t have to necessarily join every group you visit—you’ll find what works for you and in the meantime, you will likely meet some worthwhile contacts. Yes, it’s not a short-term strategy, but the quality of your referrals as group members grow to know, like and trust you will be worth it in the long run.
There are many fantastic networking groups in the metro Atlanta area, but if you need a suggestion, you are invited to visit the one that I facilitate: the Professional Services Alliance. (Click here to request more info.)
Any other recommendations of what has worked for you to encourage referrals? Let us know!