“Jeffrey, what’s the secret to getting more referrals?”
“Easy, give more referrals!”
SECRET TO REFERRALS: Give first, get second.
TWO BIG QUESTIONS:
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 business is “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 of business with a trademark attorney, registering various words and slogans. As our relationship matured and we became better friends, I began to refer clients from my consulting practice to him for patents and trademarks — and the lawyer began referring his clients who wanted patents, but were without marketing and selling skills to me. The perfect alliance was born. From there I expanded it to include other businesses 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, other businesses, and community based civic organizations to help everyone benefit. 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 might align yourself with the Chamber of Commerce, partner or joint venture with a big firm, or donate part of the proceeds to a charitable organization in exchange for using their name with your promotion.
2. To boost sales, make an impression, or get an audience. Align with a business that will deliver a gift of what they do at a reduced cost in exchange for the opportunity to make a sales call on your prospect or customer. It looks like you’re the hero, and your ally gets a valuable lead. Look for companies who sell office plants, flowers, ad specialties, tickets, gift baskets, a printer, or a book store.
3. To get to the decision makers. Look to align yourself with someone already doing business with your targets. These are your best prospects for an alliance.
4. To get leads faster. Look at what steps it takes to get to your sale. Talk to people who sell your prospect before your sale is possible. Excellent candidates are contractors, equipment sellers, movers, or supply companies. Select vendors who are needed by the prospect 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 that industry. 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 AGC and the trade associations of your biggest three customers.
Finding, establishing, and developing strategic alliances and referral partners will get you more business than you can handle. But it 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 own reputation on the line. They’re saying, “I trust you enough to let you get involved with peoplewho affect my career, my reputation and my livelihood.” It’s a big responsibility. Giving and getting a referral means someone is willing to take a risk. Are you worth it?
FREE GitBit: Want the blueprint for building referral alliances? Go to www.gitomer.com (register if you’re a first time user) and enter the word “REFERRAL” in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org