Developing a robust referral network is one of the most time-honored ways to significantly grow your small business. So, how do you go about increasing the frequency and quality of the referrals you receive? Below, we share a handful of tips you can use to boost your referrals and increase your sales.
Become Ingrained in Your Local Business Community
Remember: referral networks are all about creating mutually beneficial business relationships. There are undoubtedly other small business owners in your area who are also trying to grow their referral network. Make sure those business owners have you on their referral radar by getting out there and introducing yourself (and your business) to them. That way you can begin to identify potential strategic partnerships while forming the personal relationships that are the key to referral success.
Join (and Participate in) Online Groups and Forums
In today’s day and age, you don’t even have to leave the house to start finding referral partners. That’s because a whole host of networking opportunities are just a mouse click away. By joining and actively participating in online small-business forums and social media groups, you can quickly and easily spread the word about your business. Just be mindful that joining is just the first step. The key is to make sure you actively participate so that other business owners can get a sense of who you are and what your business provides. You have to build trust before you can build your network.
Don’t Leave Any Stone Unturned
The best networkers understand that referral opportunities can come from anywhere, at any time. The person you’re standing next to at a cocktail party could be the ideal strategic partner for growing your referral network. So remember: wherever you are, or whatever you’re doing, feel free to start with small talk but don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage others in meaningful conversations about their business and yours. You never know where that conversation may lead...
One of the easiest ways to encourage customers or partners to refer business to you is to provide them with the best experience possible. Always be honest and authentic in your business dealings with others while simultaneously providing the highest level of service possible. By going the extra mile now, you’ll be well on your way to building a formidable referral network down the road.
Remember that Referrals are Often a Two-Way Street
Again, the best referral networks are those that are mutually beneficial to both parties. Want to incentivize a business acquaintance to send referrals your way? Send some business to them.
Show Your Appreciation
Whether it’s through providing a discount to customers/partners who provide you with referrals, or a simple thank you note, make sure your referral partners know you’re grateful for the business they do send your way. By showing your appreciation, you’ll increase the chances your customers/partners will refer others to you in the future.