Alliances, trust essential for gaining referrals

Alliances, trust essential for gaining referrals

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Alliances, trust essential for gaining referrals

“Jeffrey, what’s the secret to getting more referrals?”
“Easy, give more referrals!”
SECRET TO REFERRALS: Give first, get second.

1. Are you willing to refer your clients or customers to someone else?
2. Is someone else willing to refer their clients or customers to you? ONE BIG ANSWER: Yes, if there is mutual trust. If no, stop reading this right now – keep cold calling.

The big picture philosophy for “easy” referral success in your businessis “Strategic Alliance Referrals.” Here are the prerequisites:

  • Your philosophy of sales is “build relationships.”

  • You consider yourself one of the best at what you do.

  • You do a great (memorable) job in making the sale.

  • You do a perfect job of delivering what you promised.

  • You provide impeccable service after the sale.

  • You are willing to do things with your customers to help them build THEIR business.

  • You are well liked and respected.

  • You are willing to get involved in the community.

    This process came about by accident. I was doing a lot ofbusiness with a trademark attorney, registering various words andslogans. As our relationship matured and we became better friends, Ibegan to refer clients from my consulting practice to him for patentsand trademarks — and the lawyer began referring his clients who wantedpatents, but were without marketing and selling skills to me. Theperfect alliance was born. From there I expanded it to include otherbusinesses and civic activities and my referrals shot through the roof.Here’s how you can discover and work the same type of plan.

    Strategic Alliance Referrals is not just asking for referrals- it’s earning referrals by working with your customers, otherbusinesses, and community based civic organizations to help everyonebenefit. It’s a game plan to involve others so that everyone benefits -especially you.

    What are some benefits of this concept – how are alliances used?
    1. For credibility. To give your company more credibility you mightalign yourself with the Chamber of Commerce, partner or joint venturewith a big firm, or donate part of the proceeds to a charitableorganization in exchange for using their name with your promotion.
    2. To boost sales, make an impression, or get an audience. Alignwith a business that will deliver a gift of what they do at a reducedcost in exchange for the opportunity to make a sales call on yourprospect or customer. It looks like you’re the hero, and your ally getsa valuable lead. Look for companies who sell office plants, flowers, adspecialties, tickets, gift baskets, a printer, or a book store.
    3. To get to the decision makers. Look to align yourself withsomeone already doing business with your targets. These are your bestprospects for an alliance.
    4. To get leads faster. Look at what steps it takes to get to yoursale. Talk to people who sell your prospect before your sale ispossible. Excellent candidates are contractors, equipment sellers,movers, or supply companies. Select vendors who are needed by theprospect before your product or services are needed.
    5. To generate new prospects. Build your business network by joining leads clubs, business clubs, and professional associations.
    6. To build business with existing customers and expand within thatindustry. Join their trade association or the Chamber of Commerce.

    Types of alliances to look for and develop:”Complementing business direct exchange” alliance

  • A building contractor exchanges with a telephone equipment sales and installation.

  • A lawyer exchanges with an accountant.

  • A commercial real estate broker exchanges with an office furniture supplier.

  • A patent and trademark attorney exchanges with a marketing consultant.

  • A graphic designer exchanges with a printer.”Third party” alliance

  • A business friend who sees a need in his customer for your product or service and refers you to call them.

  • A business friend who sees a need in his customer for your product or service and refers them to call you.”Same type of business” alliance

  • Different types of medicine,

  • Different types of consulting

  • Different types of employment agencies (specific job skills, permanent placement and temporary help)

    Example – If your business is installing office furniture,strategically you would align with commercial real estate brokers,movers, construction companies, office furniture dealers, join the AGCand the trade associations of your biggest three customers.

    Finding, establishing, and developing strategic alliances andreferral partners will get you more business than you can handle. Butit doesn’t just happen:

  • You must make and implement a strategic plan.

  • You must establish (earn) mutual trust with everyone.

  • You must be proactive in contacting and forming your alliances.

  • You must be willing to give first – and give without measuring or keeping score.

  • You must allow time for these alliances to mature.

  • You must be creative at what you do and how you do it.

    When you get a referral, someone is putting their ownreputation on the line. They’re saying, “I trust you enough to let youget involved with peoplewho affect my career, my reputation and my livelihood.” It’s a bigresponsibility. Giving and getting a referral means someone is willingto take a risk. Are you worth it?

    FREE GitBit: Want the blueprint for building referral alliances?Go to (register if you’re a first time user) and enterthe word “REFERRAL” in the GitBit box.

    Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and CustomerSatisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President ofCharlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual salesmeetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customerservice. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail

    c2000 – All rights reserved o Don’t even think aboutreproducing this document or it’s contents without the written approvalof Jeffrey H. Gitomer or Buy Gitomer o 704/333-1112 o