How to Create a Steady Stream of Referrals

by Eddie Reeves on

I hear it all the time from my consulting and coaching clients: “Eddie, you keep telling me to be aggressive in building referral sources, but I am just so busy I don’t see how I can!”

Of course, they fail to see the lack of logic in that grumbling: If they were so busy (or at least busy doing the things that produce profitable revenue), they wouldn’t need me to help them grow their business!

I calmly tell what I have repeated to hundreds of business people over the years: All of us make time for things the that are really important to us, so if growing your business is important, you will make time to do things that will lead to growth. And few strategies are more effective at doing so than developing a referral network.

Referral marketing takes time and attention, but the businessperson who gets serious, gets organized and gets going will see real results in fairly short order.

Here are 3 keys to keep the referrals flowing in:

Key 1: Be Proactive

Waiting for someone to reach out with an unsolicited referral is like looking for rainbows: They appear occasionally, and are beautiful when they do, but they won’t pop up very often. You need to resolve to take forceful and frequent action to develop a network of strong potential referral sources.

Don’t leave this to chance. Take a few minutes and scan your contacts Pick at least five per weekday to pick up the phone and call with an invitation to lunch or coffee. Yes, I said a phone call.  You can follow-up with an email, but a short initial phone call will yield much better results.

Key 2: Be Persistent

In today’s crazy-busy business environment, it’s really hard to stay in touch with potential referral sources. Despite our best intentions to stay on their minds, we look up and weeks or months have gone by sense we communicated.  We need to find smart ways to increase our persistence.

One of the easiest and smartest is just making notes in our calendar to reach out to folks at regular intervals. For instance, there’s a list of accountants, lawyers, and equity investors that I have in my calendar to contact to grab coffee three times per year.

Here’s another powerful but easy technique: Set up a Google Alert for a specific phrase that would be of interest to your referral source. When one you think will spark her or his interest, forward the information item to them with a short personal note. Works like a charm and only takes a couple of minutes!

Key 3: Be Purposeful

When you have a direct conversation with your potential referral partner, your mindset should be focused on one purpose: “serve, serve, serve, not “sell, sell, sell”. Trying to sell them not only won’t work, but will all but guarantee that they won’t send business your way in the future.

Look for ways you can serve them. Ask lots of questions about their business. Find out who they consider to be their ideal customer and what’s the best way for you to connect them. Connect them with other resources or pointing them in the right direction to fill a need they have.

Service providers who want to generate major growth in revenue and profits understand that building a strong referral network is like finding the proverbial pot of gold. If you want some of those nuggets, start putting referral network tips to work TODAY.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: