4 Steps for Building a Referral Network

As a service-based business, one of the best low-effort, high-impact lead generation strategies you can easily implement is building a referral network. According to ReferralRock, a referral network is “a group of customers, employees, and/or partners who consistently refer your company and bring in leads.” However, this group of individuals doesn’t only exist for you to get new clients — if they’re business owners as well, you can send them clients, too!

It’s a win-win situation for all involved for two reasons:

  1. You bring additional value to your clients by having a network of trusted experts that you can refer to them when they’re looking to hire for other services.
  2. You can receive potential clients without any effort on your end, besides maintaining a relationship with these professionals.

It’s important to note that the referral network should be mutually beneficial. When it’s done correctly, it can bring incredible results and clients your way!

Find out how you can build a solid referral network for your company.

How to Build a Referral Network

Brainstorm Complementary Services

What are services that you don’t currently offer your clients that align with your work and may be something they’d be interested in? Create a list of those services so that you can soon start to find companies that specialize in those offers and could potentially become new referral partners.

As an example, because our agency only focuses on social media, blog content, and email marketing, we sought companies that offer the following services:

  • Public relations
  • Web design / development
  • Graphic design
  • Paid ads
  • SEO
  • Brand photography and videography

Additionally, think about businesses who may share a similar clientele as you, but don’t necessarily offer complementary services, and could perhaps send you referrals. For us, that includes:

  • Venture capitalists
  • Accountants
  • Business attorneys
  • Business coaches and consultants

These professionals may have clients who are seeking your services and are looking for trusted experts they can partner with.

Research and Connect with Service Providers

Once you know what services your clients may be looking for and who you may be able to get clients from, it’s time to start building a list of potential providers based on those services. Simply Googling these services or asking people who are already in your network for their recommendations are two great places to start.

Once you have an initial list, reach out to these service providers to:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Share that you have clients who are seeking their services
  • Ask if you can set up a time to talk

Scheduling these meetings, even if done virtually, gives you the opportunity to meet these other companies, feel comfortable with them, learn more about them, and add them to your roster of referrals.

Refer Clients When Applicable

If you need a more organized way to keep track of potential connections, a handy spreadsheet is one way to do that. You can group the connections into various tabs by industry or services, making it easy for you to pull potential referrals when needed.

Additionally, you can use this list to stay in touch with your connections and let them know when you have availability for new clients. It’s a great way to tap into your network and see when they may have open opportunities for you.

Track Referral Success

Find out which referral sources are the most fruitful for you by keeping tabs on where your clients come from. If you notice that a handful of your clients tend to come from the same few people, that’s an indication that you can nurture those relationships more. It may also inspire you to send those referrals a nice gift as a “thank you” for consistently sending business your way!

Marry Your Online and Offline Marketing Strategies

Work with a Marketing Agency for Support

Pairing your online marketing strategies — social media, email marketing, blogging, etc. — with your offline marketing strategies — networking events, coffee chats, etc. — will allow you to make the most impact in your lead generation efforts. As you build connections offline, consider working with a marketing agency to outsource your digital marketing for additional support.

Reach out to Dash of Social for a free consultation to learn more about what we offer.

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