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A guide to referral partnerships that deliver real results for business consultants, advisors and specialists

By Brenda Thomson

INTRODUCTION

As a business consultant, advisor or specialist, most likely you provide high value services which involve a high level of trust and credibility, as a result it’s also most likely that the majority of your business comes from 2 main sources: referral partners and satisfied clients.

This is Part 1 of a 2 Part Guide to creating an effective on going process for generating a steady stream of pre-qualified referrals to your business. 

 

INDEX

Stage 1: Preparation
  1. Understanding your target market
  2. Knowing your Unique Selling Proposition
  3. Synergy48 Group: A case study
Stage 2: A guide to identifying potential referral partners
Stage 3: a Four Step Implementation Plan
  1. Creating your circle of trust
  2. Educating for conversion
  3. Having a referral strategy or system
  4. The best ways to say THANKS

STAGE 1: PREPARATION

1.1 KNOW YOUR CLIENTS/CUSTOMERS

The first step in developing your SMART referral strategy is being crystal clear on who are your target and niche market and your ideal customers or clients…  after all these are the people you want other people to refer to you, RIGHT?   And if you don’t know with complete and absolute certainty who they are – how can you expect other people to be able to refer them to you?

As a business consultant, specialist or advisor, you already know that your clients are other businesses. However, businesses can be broken down into segments in a variety of ways:

  • company size (based on the number of staff or turnover), 
  • industry sector (eg, manufacturing, trades, health care, professional services) perhaps even a specific industry within a sector, for example, IT support services for medical practices.  
  • structure: perhaps you prefer to work with the business owner in a family run business; or with franchises, or with businesses with a head office and a number of branches? 
  • geographic location – perhaps you only want to work with businesses within a 20 Km radius of your office
  • stage in business life-cycle or facing a specific issue or challenge e.g.:
    • startups
    • businesses preparing to exit
    • businesses planning national or international expansion
    • businesses launching a new product or service
    • businesses going through a re-brand or a re-invention 
  • Or perhaps you have some other clearly defined niche

Of course you can work with multiple niches. Many people do. The most important thing is to be absolutely clear on exactly what they are as they may involve completely different referral partners.

1.2 KNOW YOUR UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION (UVP)

Not having a UVP (sometimes called USP or Unique Selling Proposition), or having a wishy-washy unappealing UVP is just as unlikely to attract quality referral partners as it is to attract new customers. After all, think about it for a moment… would you refer someone who has placed their trust in your opinion to someone with nothing special to offer?  Probably not, or if you did it would likely be with some reservations or disclaimers. When you are referring someone, your brand and your reputation are directly tied to that referral.

However, clearly defining a meaningful UVP often presents a huge challenge to consultants, advisors and specialists. Either they can’t think of anything at all, or if they do it is often a meaningless platitude. Saying we give great service is NOT a UVP – no business says they give crap service. 

Fortunately, if you have a very clearly defined niche, this in itself can help you stand out from the crowd and provide your UVP.  Being the IT company for medical practices isn’t only a niche, it is a UVP as well. Medical practices have very specific IT requirements… knowing that you specialise in understandiing and servicing those requirements is a great UVP.  

However, if your niche doesn’t lend itself to doubling as a UVP, the next way to work out your UVP is to look at WHY you went into business in the first place… 

There are lots of reasons why you may have gone into business – you wanted independence, to work your own hours, to have freedom of choice. The list is endless however you probably chose the particular business you did for one of two reasons:

1. You saw a specific gap in the market that you wanted to fill and you identified and developed a specific service or service approach to fill that gap.

OR

2. You have a particular skill, passion or knowledge set that you wanted to share with the market place.

If your reason was the first you probably already know your UVP and all you need to do is to refine and craft it to communicate your original vision. However if your reason was the second; wonderful, talented and passionate as you may be about what you do; you may not yet have a UVP.  In this case you need to find or create one. Stop and think about what you could you do that would make you unique – go through the list below and see if there is something you could come up with that will help.

Let’s have a look at some of the possibilities:

  1. You may already have a genuinely unique service – no-one or nearly no-one else provides exactly the same service, or delivers the same benefits that your service provides.  Remember to keep the focus on problems and solutions rather than features. What is the problem that your unique service or approach is going to solve for your target market that no-one else solves? 
  2. You may have a unique approach to offering a particular product or service. In this case while you may have quite a run of the mill business or profession with lots of competition, your UVP makes you stand out for the way you deliver your or services.  For example “The lawyer who makes house-calls”.  (Not too many big city lawyers offer that service)  Again remember to focus on problems and solutions rather than features so if you are the lawyer who makes house-calls focus on the time your clients save, the convenience of having you go to them and the reduction in stress of having you on call when they need you.
  3. Your UVP may be based around the unique results you promise to deliver.  For business consultants, this may be based on a pay by results pricing model. 
  4. As an extension of this your UVP may be based around the unique guarantee you offer should you fail to make good on your UVP
  5. Finally, don’t be afraid to go back to 1.1 your target market and review the opportunity to more clearly define your niche – you will attract FAR MORE clients within that market if they perceive you as being unique and special to them.
  6. Still Stuck? If there really is nothing about your and your business that is genuinely unique.. and yes there are plenty of businesses in that situation. Think about what you could create or implement to make your business unique in some way.  It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive, often it’s the little things that make all the difference. 

This list is not intended to be exhaustive, it is a prompt to get you thinking about how you can stand out from the crowd. The main thing is to come up with something which is truly unique to you, however small that may be, as long as it is something that truly matters to your target market.

1.3 SYNERGY48 GROUP: A CASE STUDY

Who are our ideal clients?

Synergy48 Group ideal members are B2B consultants, coaches, advisors and specialist service providers across the full range of B2B services; business planning, branding, marketing, sales, customer experience, finance, technology, people and culture, risk management, technology, systems and processes. 

But that is much too broad.  There are seven criteria for Synergy48 Group membership that we’ve discovered over time will ensure maximum value both for the individual and the rest of the S48 community. 

  1. Their ideal clients are SME businesses – typically but not exclusively turning over between $1million and $70 million. Usually with one or a few small teams of staff. Often family run businesses. 
  2. They are the principle business owner or a partner in their business and have been in business for at least 12 months and have a solid base of satisfied clients
  3. They are a team player and genuinely enjoy working with others. They have a “plenty” mindset.
  4. They share a strong commitment to our core values of Professional Excellence and Customer Service, Collaboration and Teamwork, Truth and Integrity and Business for Good.
  5. They provide consultancy or specialist advisory services rather than products or low touch services
  6. They have the ability to schedule their own time. They are not caught up in time intensive contractual services
  7. They are actively building a scalable, saleable business not simply owning their own job. 

What’s our Unique Value Proposition?

These are the things that we think distinguish Synergy48 Group from other networking groups and mastermind groups. Who wants to stop at one UVP, right?

  1. Our very tight niche. Members told us how important it was to them to not waste time networking with people who didn’t share the same ideal clients and the same values. 
  2. Our strict standards of quality control… again members told us how important it was to them that they could have real confidence in the expertise, values and professionalism of the businesses they were working with and inviting to work with their clients. 
  3. Our unique facilitated meeting process. Members told us they wanted to maximise the value of their time spent together so all of our meetings follow a strict agenda ensuring the optimum value for every member at every meeting. 
  4. Our unique expectations – or lack of them. We do NOT have requirements for members to refer business to one another. We believe that referrals should only be given when they are in the best interest of the client, not to please a referral partner or meet a networking group quota.  And our members agreed! 
  5. Our Add Value Services including the Knowledge Sharing Dinner Series, The Better Business Benchmarker Toolkit, our Partnership with Jago – providing members with an online best practice customer feedback system; and our partnership with B1G1 Business for Good. Members told us they wanted systems and tools to help them more easily refer business to one another, to support one another in business, and to live our core values.   

STAGE 2: IDENTIFY POTENTIAL PARTNERS

The second step in creating a SMART referral strategy is identifying those business owners who are most likely to be able to effectively refer the right  clients to you.  Your ideal referral partners.

As you would have realised by now this will be a whole lot easier now you know your target and niche markets and your UVP.  

We’ve broken potential referral partners into FOUR categories to help you easily work out who you should be looking for.  The four categories are:

  1. Businesses in your supply chain
  2. Businesses who spot the problems that you solve.
  3. Businesses who share your niche (or target) market
  4. Your competition (yes it’s true!).

Let’s look at each of them in turn:

BUSINESSES IN YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN

People typically buy for one of two basic reasons

• To solve problems.

• To achieve an objective.

A supply chain includes all of the businesses which are involved in the process of solving a particular problem or achieving a particular purpose. 

For example a web developer can work with a brand strategist, a graphic design company, an SEO company, a social media marketing company, photographers, videographers, copywriters…. the list goes on.  All businesses involved in achieving the objective of launching and promoting an effective website. 

While bigger businesses may have branched out and covered all of the steps in the process, smaller businesses tend to specialise more and work with referral partners to ensure that all of the steps are covered off for their clients. 

As a small business owner it can be tempting to attempt to expand to cover all of the areas in the supply chain to address your clients needs this comes with several disadvantages:

  1. As a small business you put yourself in competition with large agency type organisations who typically are far better resourced. The big advantage you have over those big agencies is your  specialist expertise, and the personal relationship with the business owner.  Make it part of your UVP. 
  2. By diversifying and attempting to provide all of the elements in the supply chain process you run the risk of weakening the quality of your expertise overall.  Don’t risk becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none.
  3. Finally you cut yourself off from the power of a strong strategic partner network.  With multiple separate businesses all feeding into the same supply chain you multiply the power of your marketing, provide a steady stream of qualified clients for one another and most importantly provide your clients with a higher standard of overall service. And if you want to look like a bigger business (it can be helpful when dealing with bigger clients) then structure your strategic partner relationships so you all appear to offer multiple services.  

Who are the businesses in your supply chain?

Are there other products or services that your potential client needs in addition to yours to solve the problem or achieve the purpose that you help them with. 

Not every business is part of a supply chain so don’t stress if you can’t think of any.. however if you can these are amongst the easiest referral partners to work with because often their clients will come right out and ask them.. “Can you recommend a good ….?” 

When we built this website the first question we asked our web-developer was… now how do we get this thing optimised?  

BUSINESSES WHO SPOT THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU SOLVE

This question is for those of you who provide services that solve problems. If you don’t solve problems then go right ahead and skip to the next question. 

Who are the businesses or professions who see the problems that you solve?

The person with the problem may not have even realised that they had one! A good problem spotter working on your behalf will make sure that not only do they let them know that they have a problem but that they also point at you to solve it.

 Here’s some examples to give you the idea…

  • Bookkeepers and accountants can see when their clients  need a debt collector
  • The finance broker can see when their clients need insurance
  • The insurance broker can see when a client needs cyber security
  • The HR company can see when their client needs bookkeeping support
  • The marketing company sees when sales processes are  a problem
  • The accountant can see when there are problems with sales and marketing – and who better who help the marketing company ensure a good ROI on marketing strategies
  • And of course business coaches see all of the problems in a business. It’s  why everyone wants to work with them… unfortunately for business coaches it’s often a one way street.  After all its very easy for the business coach to say “Your books are in a mess, I’m going to put you in touch with the bookkeeper I work with”  Not so easy for the bookkeeper to say… “Your business is in a mess,  I’m going to put you in touch with the business coach I work with”.   (For business coaches here’s a great solution to that problem. )

As these businesses get bigger sometimes they will diversity to offer the additional services but typically smaller independent business owners who will be delighted to be able to help out their clients by referring them to someone who can help them with their problem.

And the clients will be delighted as well…

So think about all of the other businesses who are in a position to see the problems that you solve.

Oh and don’t forget that this works in reverse as well… which businesses can you be a problem spotter for?

WHO SHARES YOUR TARGET AND MORE SPECIFICALLY YOUR NICHE MARKET?

This is the question that will generate your longest list of potential alliance partners. Obviously it includes all of the people you have already listed but it includes a much bigger list as well.

Think about this case study for a moment….

 A web-development company has created a unique service, building customised websites specifically for trades businesses who are expanding from being one-person operations to building a saleable, scalable business. A very well defined niche.  As a result they created a strategic partnership with a company specialising in helping tradie businesses write tenders and proposals to generate business in the government and commercial sector. 

And that is why it is so important that you truly understand your target and niche market. Otherwise you may end up with a VERY long list but MUCH LESS in the way of useful results, and it might even end up costing you money!

Start by identifying other challenges your target market might have – 

  • Are they struggling with sales or marketing?
  • Are they struggling with lack of cash-flow?
  • Are they always complaining about staff, or being too busy, or lack of productivity?
  • Are they having problems with technology?
  • Are they growing, expanding, diversifying? 
  • What else do they spend money on?

If you are struggling with this question then it may be because you don’t know your target and niche markets well enough. Go back and more clearly define your ideal clients! You should know and understand them as well as you do your best friend and your family!!!

Now write a list of all those businesses which share your niche market as they will be your very best referral partners… then if you need to you can extend your list to include businesses which share your more general target market.

YOUR COMPETITORS (OR ARE THEY?)

Now is the time to be honest. Do you have the BEST solution for everyone in your target market? What if they are not in your niche, or your UVP just doesn’t resonate with them?

It is better to send away a potential client than to do job that just doesn’t meet their needs or if they are not really the kind of client you do your best work for.

If you have done a good job of identifying your niche market and your UVP this question will open up a world of potential referral partner opportunities. Who solves the same problems or helps businesses achieve the same objective that you do but perhaps in a slightly different way, with a slightly different solution or in a different location, or with a slightly different skill set?  Think about business who either share the same target market but have a different niche, or businesses who share the same niche but have a different UVP.

Case study

Two IT support companies. One works primarily with professional services businesses and businesses in the health care sector. Part of their UVP is that their approach is very hands on and they regularly visit their clients on site.  As a result they only work with clients in a particular geographic location. The other IT company works primarily with businesses with a central head office and offices in multiple locations, including overseas.  They have support staff in multiple geographic locations to support different time zones but they typically work off-site using remote service technology. 

Two companies offering the same general services but to two completely different niche markets and in two completely different ways.  

 

STAGE 3: IMPLEMENTATION: THE REFERRAL PARTNER T.E.S.T.

The first two steps in the SMART Referral Process were all about preparation

  1. Knowing your target and niche market and your  Unique Value Proposition
  2. Identifying your potential referral partners

Now it’s time to do something with all of that knowledge and start creating powerful referral partner relationships.

There are FOUR steps in the second part of the process…. We call it passing the referral partner TEST because the four steps make up the acronym T.E.S.T.

T: TRUST

The first T is for Trust.  I don’t know about you but I don’t give referrals lightly.  And we shouldn’t!  Give a referral and your business reputation goes along with it – good or bad!   So don’t expect other people to provide you with referrals without earning the right first.  And that means earning their trust.

Obviously that means putting effort into developing a strong relationship but having coffees and being mates isn’t enough (or it shouldn’t be).  You also have to earn their confidence in your ability to deliver high quality services.  There are a number of ways you can go about doing this…. Here are SIX strategies to get you started:

 

1. THE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE TRUST BUILDER

The Personal Experience Trust Builder involves inviting your potential referral partner to experience your services as a client. This is a no strings attached opportunity for them to experience exactly what it is you offer from the perspective of a client, with a view to them becoming a raving fan.

 2. THE TRUSTED ADVISOR TRUST BUILDER

This strategy works particularly well if you have a particular potential referral partner that you would especially like to get on board but they have no personal need for your services.  In this case you offer your products or services to someone who is in the market for your services and is known and trusted by your potential referral partner. You then ask this “trusted advisor” to provide an introduction and testimonial to your potential referral partner.

3. THE ENDORSEMENT TRUST BUILDER

The Endorsement Trust Builder, like the Personal Experience Trust Builder, involves inviting your potential referral partner to experience your services, but this time from the perspective of a qualified reviewer. Your potential referral partner then goes on to write an endorsement or “review” of your services.  This works particularly well when your potential referral partner is recognised as an expert in some field related to your service.  As well as building your trust and credibility with your potential referral partner, this strategy has the added benefit of building credibility with potential leads and clients.

4. THE TESTIMONIAL BOOK TRUST BUILDER

The Testimonial Book Trust Builder involves creating a collection of testimonials that you can show to potential referral partners.  This strategy is obviously dependent on your having a collection of great testimonials from satisfied clients.  If you’re just starting out one way to speed up this process is to identify a number of your ideal clients and offer to provide your products or services at cost or even pro-bono in return for testimonials (assuming they are completely happy, as you should make sure they are). 

And if you’re smart then you’ll make sure that the people you are offering your special services to are also either potential referral partners or people with influence with others in your target market – you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck.

5. THE PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION TRUST BUILDER

In this case you personally introduce one of your satisfied customers/raving fans to your potential referral partner so that they can hear first hand the benefits of doing business with you. This works especially well where your client and your potential referral partner are likely to “hit it off”.  The introduction might be informal, invite one or other of the parties to a place where you know you will run into the other party, or formal, perhaps invite both parties to lunch.  The Synergy48 Group Knowledge Sharing Dinner Series works particularly well for this approach.

THE PRODUCT LAUNCH TRUST BUILDER

If you want to make a big hit with a number of potential referral partners at once, then consider the Product Launch Trust Builder. Invite your potential referral partners to an official launch event where they can see and experience your product or service in action and meet and talk to satisfied clients.  This has the added benefit of building excitement and urgency around becoming one of your referral partners.

E: EASY – EQUIP – EDUCATE – EXPERIENCE

The E in T.E.S.T stands for Easy OR Equip (OR Educate or Experience – your choice) – making it easy for your referral partners by equipping them with tools which will help them send you qualified referrals.

The most common tools used by most small businesses working with referral partners are typically business cards, brochures and other forms of marketing material. There is nothing wrong with these and something as simple as a business card can work really well where the referral is really warm and ready to buy, in fact sometimes you don’t even need a business card.  

However not all potential referrals are that warm or that well qualified, and the relationship between your referral partner and the potential client is not always that strong.

And that’s where it helps to equip your referral partners with powerful tools to get the job done.

Typically these tools fall into two broad categories:

  1. Education and
  2. Experience.

EDUCATION TOOLS

Suppose you are at a networking event, you happen to mention in casual conversation to a real estate agent who you haven’t met before that you are thinking of re-mortgaging your house in order to get some renovations done.   Now she could say that she knows a good mortgage broker and give you his card and you may or may not follow up on that recommendation, after all you hadn’t met the real estate agent before that night and you don’t know how well she knows the mortgage broker. How much more likely would you be to follow through on the recommendation and how much more likely would you be to actually use the mortgage broker if, in the next day or two you received a book in the mail from the real estate agent “Ten things you need to know when thinking about re-mortgaging” with a note saying… “Lovely to meet you the other night, I thought you might find this book handy, it’s been written by a friend of mine who’s a specialist in re-mortgaging. I’ve included their contact details and I know they’d be really happy to give you some handy advice, no obligation. Happy to put you in touch.”

It doesn’t have to be a book: it could be a booklet, a CD, DVD, website link, e-book, whitepaper; whatever will work best in your industry and your niche.  Education tools like this which build your credibility, while making your referral partner look good at the same time with not only make it easier for your referral partners to send you more qualified leads, it will also increase the likelihood that those leads will convert to customers or clients.

What education tools do you have or can you develop to equip your referral partners and make it EASY for them to refer an endless stream of potential clients your way?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

The Make the Right Choice Educator

The idea here is to provide a special report or Frequently Asked Questions sheet on how to go about choosing the best solution to a particular problem. (Obviously the problem that you solve!)
E.g. “Ten Things to Look for when Choosing an Accountant”

The How To Educator

The objective here is to provide a self help solution to the problem that you solve, along with a section pointing out the pitfalls and problems involved in implementing the self help solution.
E.g. “Ten Things You Need To Know To Optimise Your Own Website”

The Problem Warning Educator

In this tool the idea is to provide a list of risks or things to watch out for when faced with a particular problem or need.
E.g. “Ten Ways to Know if Your Accountant is Losing you Money ”

The Diagnostic Educator

In this case provide your referral partner with some sort of checklist or diagnostic tool that enables potential leads to determine (i) if they have a problem and (ii) if so what kinds of solutions they should be looking for.
E.g  “Complete this ten question questionnaire to tell if your website is working for you”

EXPERIENCE TOOLS

The Complimentary Add Value Gift or Service Experience

The idea here is to equip your referral partner with the opportunity to give their lead an actual no strings attached experience of your products or services.  It should not be a problem to work out whether this is a good solution for you if you know the lifetime value of a customer.  E.g in the web-developer example we talked about earlier, the tender writing specialist has provided the web-developer with copies of her book to give to every new tradie client.    A great way to make the referral partner look good and provide real add value to the client.

The Free Trial Experience

The Free Trial Tool is Experience is very similar to the Complimentary Service Tool however, instead of offering a one time product or service in this case you offer a time limited trial experience with your compliments especially because they have been referred by your Referral Partner.  For example the virtual assistant provides a gift voucher for $100 of free services which her referral partners can give to their new clients. 

The Special Event Experience

In this case you run regular special invitation only private viewings, special education events or similar to which people referred by your referral partners are invited. What happens at these events will obviously depend on the products or services you offer.  It could be an education evening, a demonstration or an experience. Once again the idea is to make the person feel special, and to demonstrate your credibility and expertise.  The sales will follow.   Once again the Synergy48 Group Knowledge Sharing Dinners are a great example of this

S: SYSTEMS AND STRATEGIES

The S in Referral Strategy T.E.S.T. stands for systems and strategies.

How often have you invested time in building a relationship with a potential referral partner, maybe you’ve even given them brochures, a website link and a bundle of your books to hand out and then nothing happens.  Or perhaps you have been the referral partner, you’ve agreed to refer business to someone you know like and trust, but somehow you never spot anyone to refer and nothing ever happens.

Good referral partnerships are built around SYSTEMS that make it SUPER easy for your referral partners to refer to you.

Think about those business owners that you do regularly refer business to.  What is it about them that makes referring business to them easy?

Some of the things that probably spring to mind include:

  1. They make it easy for you to refer clients to them by providing you with tools and strategies which are easy, quick and comfortable for you to implement. (We’ve discussed these in the previous section.)
  2. They maintain themselves at the top of your awareness by continuing to stay in touch and nurturing your relationship with them, we sometimes call that TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness)
  3. They make it easy for you to recognise potential clients for them by keeping you informed and educated as to what they do, what benefits they provide and what problems they solve.
  4. They continue to build your trust that they do the right thing by clients you refer to them by keeping you informed of the outcomes of your referrals.

Obviously all of the things we discussed in the previous section Easy and Equip can be included in your referral partner system, particularly in relation to item 1, but it doesn’t stop there.

What systems or strategies do you have or can you put in place that will cover off points 2, 3 and 4 above?

 Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Ensure that whatever you decide upon, that you include things that will help your Referral Partners stay informed and educated about your business and what makes a good lead or referral for you.  E.g. Keep your referral partners informed about the progress of all their referred leads and let them know which ones were ideal, or NOT, and why.

 

  • Have a regular Referral Partner Communication system – postcards, thank you cards, newsletter; ezine; Blog
  • Include a section on case studies, success stories and testimonials in your regular communications with referral partners.
  • Meet regularly with your referral partners on a one on one basis.
  • Run Referral Partner Get-togethers or even Information Events.
  • Invite your referral partners to be a part of your unofficial “Board of Directors” or advisory committee so that they are closely involved with your ongoing business success
  • Give them checklists of things to look out for or diagnostic tools for identifying a good potential lead for your business.
  • Run competitions and loyalty programs that they can get involved in.
  • Have a special Referral Partner section on your website where they can see the status of leads that they have referred to you.
  • Send them copies of testimonials and success stories from clients that they and other referral partners have referred.
  • Keep them informed of your business successes, awards and the like.

All of these things are things we make it easy for Synergy48 Group members to do.

 

T: THANKS

The last but certainly not the least important aspect of maintaining strong referral partnerships is recognising, acknowledging and thanking your referral partners for what they do for you.

Here it is important to recognise that not all referral partners are the same and that each of them may be driven by different values and motives. It is important that you have a flexible strategy in place to recognise, reward and thank your referral partners for referring business to you, whether or not the lead converts to a sale.

Remember too that, while in an ideal world you may want to refer business back to your referral partners this is not always possible.  Referral Partner relationships don’t have to work both ways, in those cases where you cannot refer business back for some reason, look for other ways to thank and recognise your referral partners.

Set aside money in your marketing budget to thank and recognise your referral partners (and the clients who refer business to you). After all they are saving you money on advertising!

What strategies do you have, or can you put in place to recognise, reward and thank your referral partners (and your clients)? 

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Thank you cards or gifts
  • Referral payments – be careful with this one. You want to receive referrals because they are in the best interest of the client NOT because your referral partner wants to get paid.  Personally I neither accept not give referral or affiliate payments – and it’s discouraged in Synergy48 Group.
  • Charity donations on behalf of your referral partners
  • Take them out to lunch or dinner
  • Recognition in your newsletter, in your place of business, on your website
  • Why not have a Referrer of the Month Award?
  • Throw a special “Referral Partner Recognition” party or other event.
  • Bonuses or special complimentary services either that your referral partner can use personally or give to someone that they want to thank specially.

The main thing is to make it personal – get to know your referral partners well enough to know what will give them the most value or the most pleasure! 

WRAPPING UP

If you found this article helpful and you’d like to connect with other like minded B2B  business owners you may want to find out more by visiting a Synergy48 Group meeting.

More articles for business coaches, consultants, advisors and other B2B specialists

We're creating a library of articles and guides specifically for coaches, consultants, advisors and specialists who work in the B2B space. Watch this space or follow Synergy48 Group on LinkedIn to receive updates on new articles and guides as we add them to the collection.

 

A Guide to Creating a Strategic Partner Network for specialists advisors and consultants

A Guide to Creating a Strategic Partner Network for Business Coaches and Consultants

A Guide to referral partnerships that deliver real results for business coaches, consultants, advisors and specialists

 

More articles about Strategic Partnerships and JVs

Direct referrals are just one way that business who share the same target market can work collaboratively together … 

Whether you want to:

  • Generate more leads
  • Improves conversions
  • Increase you average $ sale and number of sales per customer
  • Or even reduce your costs and overheads

Here’s a list of  handy guides to successful strategic partnerships. 

Four steps to an effective strategic partnership plan
The 10 things you absolutely MUST know about creating strategic partnerships and joint ventures (JVs)
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Brenda Thomson

Brenda Thomson

CEO and Founder, Synergy48 Group

Brenda has an honours degree in organizational psychology and a Graduate Certificate in training and development and she is an experienced trainer, facilitator and counsellor. She is a firm believer in mutual collaboration combined with a practical, hands on tools, strategies and systems as the most effective way to achieve real results in business. 

Brenda has over 20 years of experience training in communication, team work, time management, productivity, organisation and strategic planning in large organisations. She is also the developer of the Business Benchmarking Toolkit used by Synergy48 Group members and clients to identify areas for improvement in their business processes.

Brenda is a sought after mentor, speaker and trainer in the areas of strategic partnerships and networking with a difference.  She is passionate about actively giving back to the community. In addition to donating her speaking fees and a proportion of every Synergy48 Group membership to provide microfinance to help women in Malawi to start their own businesses, Brenda has climbed the Himalayas to raise money for Kids Help Line and helped lay a pipeline to supply water to a remote village in Tanzania.

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