Every referral from a happy customer, strategic partner or contact represents a new opportunity.
In today’s small business world, maximizing your referral network is crucial to building a successful business and brand. When a network grows beyond a certain point, you can see exponential growth in your business and a brand built on more than product or service.
How you go about building your referral network is fairly straightforward, it just takes time. Being committed to building relationships, finding opportunities for others and helping just because you can, are fundamental activities we can all do.
More than just a contact
Creating and maintaining relationships should be your first aim with referral marketing, you need to build connections that last. Your network is more than just a list of contact! Keeping in touch on a regular basis through events, social media, emails or just a friendly hello, will increase awareness of your brand and the strength of the relationships. Go out of your way to have more than just contacts, look for relationships to nurture.
Ask questions! We all love to talk about our businesses and interests. The right question can provide a huge boost to your reputation and strengthen a budding relationship. Don’t always be on the lookout for number 1, keep your customers, strategic partners, suppliers and connections in mind. Most of the people you meet don’t require your services (yet) but they might well require one of your networks. The right question could land them a life-changing client and add a deeper level to the connections you have.
Excellence comes as standard
When you are known for an excellent service or product and go out of your way to help others, you become an integral part of your network. Good news travels fast and others will want to refer you on, it makes them look excellent too.
Only ever refer people that work to your high standards, they are essentially an extension of your brand. A referral turned bad will come back and bite you. If you are lucky, the client will let you know, you can at least then manage reputation damage. Not hearing anything is always bad news.
With everything you do, do it to the highest standard possible, it provides so much more to the client than expected. That extra step you took or problem you solved, will not only make the customer feel more valued but also lead to unexpected referrals in the future.
So how can you go about developing your referral network?
For us, it comes down to consistently doing the following:
Be authentic with everyone you meet
Follow up and build a relationship
Keep in touch. A simple email or message saying ‘hi’ can do wonders
Love what you do, it really shows
Keep your promises
Keep others in mind and ask questions