A referral strategy is a method to plan to give referrals to another business or businesses, and have them give referrals to you. To do this, you need to first identify some strategic or business partners, and you must take the time to network with them and to learn about their businesses. Each business has a different specialty, and serves a different type of customer; you want to be able to rely on sending referrals to another business that are ready to buy their product or service, and you, of course, want your referral and strategic partners to do the same for you.
Once you have identified your business and strategic partners, and you have learned about their business, and they have learned about yours, it is time to set up a referral strategy. You will have to think about how your clients can benefit from your partners’ services, and when is the right time to recommend them, and they must do the same for you. For example, a real estate office works closely with real estate attorneys, title companies, building inspectors, landscapers, and interior designers, and all these products or services come into play at different stages of the home-buying process. With business partners, this is relatively easy to do, but it is still wise to have a written strategy in place.
With strategic partners, those businesses who are likely to run into potential clients, the net may be wider, and the referrals proportionally less than with business partners, but since the pool of potential clients is greater, the number of referrals should be about the same. However, in this case, it really makes sense to work up a strategy so that you can maximize the referrals for all the businesses involved.
For example, as a voice teacher and piano teacher, I often refer clients to a massage therapist to ease tension in their hands or jaws. I may also think that a visit to an ear, nose and throat doctor is in order, or that there is another product or service they need. In the same way, the massage therapist will notice which of their clients has tension in their jaws, and may refer them to my studio for vocal remediation training.
By setting up a referral strategy with your business and strategic partners, it is possible to easily increase the number and quality of referrals you are able to make to each other. In addition, you will increase your client satisfaction, retention, and the number of referrals your customers make to your businesses!