Getting advocates and generating client referrals

by Rakhee Ghelani April 27, 2016

One of the best ways to generate client referrals, as well as add value to your business, is by establishing strategic relationships with complementary businesses. We show you how.

Businesses complementary to your own, like accountancy or legal firms, can not only send you quality referrals, but also add value for your customers. Developing these relationships takes time, energy and ingenuity, but they’re worth the effort. A strong relationship with an influential business can not only introduce you to new clients, but also build goodwill for your business.

We’ve identified some new ways that you can develop these relationships and turn them into strategic partnerships, while engaging new clients.

Demonstrate your value

The first step in building any business relationship is to establish trust. This is particularly important when establishing a strategic relationship that you are hoping will generate client referrals. Before a new contact refers one of their clients to you they’ll want to ensure that you’ll add value. That’s why you need to show them the benefit you will provide to their clients and build their trust in you.

If there isn’t an opportunity to help their business, you can also demonstrate your expertise and understanding of their customers by providing them with useful information – perhaps a pamphlet on some specific services you know will be relevant, a newsletter keeping them informed of updates in their industry, or an invite to an event that you know they’d be interested in.

The key is to only provide them with something that is actually relevant to them. This will make sure you stand out from the crowd and give you an opportunity to build their trust.

Reciprocate meaningfully

We know that one of the best ways to generate more referrals from an advocate is through reciprocation, but just like you prefer to receive a quality lead, so do your strategic partners. So, before you send over a customer’s details, qualify the lead for them: do they really need the services they offer, or are you just taking a shot in the dark? Does the customer’s profile suit that of your advocate?

If you can confidently answer yes, then go ahead and refer, but if you’re not sure, or know the answer is no, then don’t refer them a lead that you wouldn’t want to receive yourself. After all, why would you risk damaging your relationship with both your customer and your strategic partner?

While there’s no guarantee they will reciprocate, they’ll be more likely to send quality back your way if they know that you only send them good leads.

Tap into their networks

While you’re building a relationship with your strategic partners, why not also tap into their networks? Offer to present at one of their local financial planning group meetings or give their members a free consultation – it’s actually a great way to expand your network even further, and takes the pressure of having to directly provide you with referrals off your advocate.

Become another business’ strategic partner

While you’re spending so much time and energy building these relationships, you could actually be building your own reputation as the person everyone wants to be connected with. Why not hold events that give people in different (but non-competing) fields an opportunity to meet and mingle? This could be a breakfast briefing you hold in conjunction with an industry organisation, or just casual Christmas drinks.

To build your own influence, it’s also important to look beyond your usual networks. For example, you could get involved with a local charity or service club and meet people from broader circles. This is not only a good way to uncover potential new leads, but also makes you more valuable as a centre of influence to others.

Being consistent, valuable and smarter about how you build your relationships with advocates and potential customers will soon see more quality leads coming your way.

To learn more about the marketing strategies that can be used to develop your own strategic partnerships and generate leads, please contact your BDM.

Rakhee Ghelani

Rakhee Ghelani Linked in

Rakhee Ghelani is a freelance writer who also has nearly 20 years’ international experience developing and implementing strategic initiatives for some of Australia’s largest brands in banking, manufacturing and professional services. She has travelled to over 50 countries and has been published internationally.

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