Developing strategic referral alliances. WOW!

Developing strategic referral alliances. WOW!

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

Are you willing to refer your clients or customers to someone else? Is someone else willing to refer their clients or customers to you? Yes, if there is mutual trust.

Here are the prerequisites:

  • You consider yourself the best at what you do.
  • You do a memorable job in making the sale.
  • You do a perfect job of delivering what you promised.
  • You provide impeccable service after the sale.

If you don’t do the above, don’t bother reading the rest of this article. It won’t help you.

What are some benefits of alliance 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 establish (earn) mutual trust with everyone.
  • You must make a strategic plan.
  • 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 exceptional 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 people who affect my career, my reputation and my livelihood.” It’s a big responsibility. Don’t ask for referrals earn them.

Getting a referral means someone is willing to take a risk.
Are you worth it?


Want a blueprint for building referral alliances? It’s a plan for building your sales. Just go to, click Access GitBit in the top right corner, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word REFERRAL.