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Referral clients are more profitable, they negotiate on price less, they buy more often, they are more loyal and they refer more prospects and clients to you....
We all know about the six degrees of separation.
This is where we know someone who knows someone who knows someone that can help us in our businesses, connect us to prospects interested in buying our products or services.
Six degrees can go six levels deep or just one to help you find clients, capital or partners.
In business, it is important to consider the lifetime value of your clients and the lifetime value of referrals sent to you.
Examples of good referral systems:

  1. Affiliate Marketing - Pay people to send clients to you that buy your product or service.
  2. Telling your client at the point of sale that they can help you reduce your sales time allowing you to focus more on their project is a great strategy. It is also the best time to ask for a referral.
  3. Lower your client's expectations and then greatly exceed those expectations. Offering a list of potential problems to your client educates them to the potential issues than can come up. Instruct them to watch the list to see how you exceed expectations and understand how you helped them to avoid the pitfalls of the deal.
  4. Look for non-competing businesses that touch the same prospects that your business touches and arrange to have a referral partnership.
  5. Introduce business people you know to other people you are associated with who can help them grow their businesses. This is a mentor position and the people you help will be appreciative and help you in turn.
  6. Seek endorsements from clients at close and have template letters available to send to people they refer. Have the letter on file in your computer, have the client sign the letter and then hand address it to send to people they are referring to you.
  7. Have an art show at your place of business. Ask local artists if they would be wiling to submit a couple pieces of their artwork (they will be thrilled). Send out invitations to your best prospects and repeat clients with "Exclusive - By invitation only" tickets to come to the art event. Vendors or the artists themselves will be willing to bring or pay for food and drinks for the show. Tell the artist to have their friends and family attend the art show to offer support for their show. You will then expose your place of business to many, many prospects and create a lot of goodwill in your community. Capture contact information in a guest signup book at the storefront offering free drink tickets if you offer an open bar.
  8. You can do the same thing for any charity in your community to capture prospective name and create goodwill. You will also build name brand recognition and along with the database of new prospects. A follow-up call and letter asking for what they liked about the event will create trust and rapport.
  9. Ask former professional business associates to see if they are interested in pulling in some of their contacts and be compensated when a sale is made.
  10. Look at Monster.com and all the job boards to find a great source of individuals including former VP's or people who can become Independent Referral Partners. Select people that were in a related industry. Contact these people to see if they are interested in a lucrative opportunity where they could become an independent sales consultant and be compensated for sales to their contact list based on what they did for you.
  11. Who can you find that sells a complimentary product or service to yours that is sold in the same time-frame as your product. Real Estate agents sell homes, carpet or carpet cleaning is needed at move in. Furniture, water softeners, appliances, new windows, Insulation, moving companies, decks, pools and equipment, home audio and video equipment. These are all potential partners and you can help each other out through a strategic alliance partnership.
  12. Start a trade association if your business does not have one or if the association is not as good as you can make it. Besides having the contacts of client targeted to your sector, you will have all your competitors working to be members and you will be in control.