As self-employed professionals, we know that the best way to get clients is by referral. 80% of Marketing Matters client base has come through referrals but how can you make sure that it’s the right kind of referral, the right kind of business?
Surely its about quality, not quantity – and it’s a two way process.
Would you ever refer business if you don’t know the quality of work of the provider and the same applies in reverse? Why would you expect a contact to refer business to you unless they know, understand and value the service you provide or the products you offer?
But there is another way to look at this – a way in which you can generate a ‘win:win’ strategy – by generating the right kind of business AND adding value to your own customer offering.
Target your referral partners – just as you would your customers. Consider what other needs your customers have which you can’t help them with but which are a natural extension to, or are associated with, your own business. For example, consider the often antagonistic ‘sales v marketing divide!
The truth is, a successful business will have achieved a synergy between both, where sales and marketing strategies are integrated to achieve the results the business needs. But they each represent individual skills and expertise.
Marketing Matters has, in the past, been called in to discuss providing marketing advice and support, only to find that what that business really needs, is specialist PR or sales coaching and development. We certainly wouldn’t profess to be able to support this but with the right business partner in place, we can make that introduction and not only generate business for that partner, but add value to our customers by making sure their needs are met.
And the same applies in reverse. Our business partners have very specific areas of expertise and service offerings but they do not profess to be able to provide the marketing and design services that we specialise in so they, in turn, refer to us in the knowledge that we will look after their clients and deliver for them.
You will only achieve this if people know, like, and trust you.
So consider your market, your customers, their needs and build your business based on developing successful contributive relationships with people and businesses that provide products or services which are aligned with your own, whose business approach and ethos mirrors the values your business represents.
Identify the types of businesses which you would naturally work in partnership with – for example, our business partnerships include photography, videography, signage services, sales coaching & development, public relations, web development and so on.
Once you have your contact list, set up meetings to find out more about their business, familiarise yourself with their expertise, look at work they have completed, the type of client base they have, look at their recommendations or referrals – make use of Linked in, if they have a profile – check the quality of their website and ideally test them out. Then consider whether or not their business fits with your own level of service provision. Ask yourself, would you be 100% confident recommending them to your clients?
It’s a ‘Win Win’ approach that will reap rewards for any business, as long as you have the right business partners.