66% of business owners don’t have specific referral partners that send them business consistently.
This statistic is based on a recent entrepreneur survey we did where we asked 1,512 business owners how they run their businesses.
I have always been a fan of partnerships, and having referral partners is one of the quickest ways to attract more qualified clients.
This is why I’ve written this article. I want you to know how you can generate more referrals on a regular basis using referral partners. That way, you can have a steady flow of new enquiries coming into your business every single week.
Here are 9 ways to get new referral partners…
1. Identify your ideal referral partners
Focus on finding your perfect referral partners. Pinpoint businesses or individuals who can send relevant leads your way and establish a mutually beneficial network. Collaborate with professionals offering complementary services, such as digital marketing agencies for web designers, nutritionists for fitness coaches, or small business consultants for accounting firms. Aligning with these partners provides added value to their clients and positions your business for maximum referral success.
How to identify ideal referral partners
- If you offer web design services, partner with a digital marketing agency that doesn’t have in-house web design capabilities.
- If you run a fitness coaching business, collaborate with nutritionists or physical therapists who can recommend your services to their clients.
- For an accounting firm, consider partnering with small business consultants or financial advisors who work with clients in need of accounting services.
2. Build relationships
Networking is key to building referral partnerships. Forge meaningful connections to lay the foundation for successful referral partnerships. Immerse yourself in networking opportunities, engage potential partners on social media, and organise face-to-face meetings to discuss mutual support. Attend industry events, participate in conversations on LinkedIn and Twitter, and arrange informal meetings to create genuine rapport with those who can help grow your business through referrals.
Grow your network
- Attend local business networking events or industry conferences to meet potential referral partners in person.
- Engage with professionals in complementary fields on LinkedIn and Twitter by commenting on their posts or sharing their content.
- Set up coffee or lunch meetings with potential referral partners to discuss how you can support each other’s businesses.
3. Offer incentives to referral partners
Motivate referral partners by offering discounts, commissions, or other rewards for each successful referral. Provide percentage-based commissions, exclusive discounts for their clients, or a points-based system with redeemable perks. These incentives encourage active promotion of your services and demonstrate appreciation for their support.
How to reward referral partners
- Provide a percentage-based commission for each successful referral your partner brings in.
- Offer your referral partners exclusive discounts on your services that they can pass on to their clients.
- Create a points-based rewards system that allows referral partners to earn perks, such as free consultations or co-marketing opportunities.
4. Provide excellent service to clients
Deliver outstanding service to create satisfied clients who are more likely to refer you within their networks. Consistently meet or exceed expectations by completing high-quality work punctually, maintaining open communication, and offering additional value. Extra effort cements your reputation as a reliable and dedicated professional, making you an attractive referral for your clients’ connections.
How to ensure you deliver the best service
- Consistently meet or exceed client expectations by delivering high-quality work on time.
- Maintain open and responsive communication with your clients to address any concerns and build trust.
- Go above and beyond by offering additional value, such as providing actionable insights or recommendations for their business.
5. Create referral marketing materials
Produce informative marketing materials to educate potential referral partners about your services and the benefits they offer their clients. Craft professional brochures, case studies, or whitepapers showcasing your expertise and success stories. These materials demonstrate your value proposition and provide an easy way for partners to introduce your services to their clientele.
What marketing materials should you use?
- Design a professional-looking brochure that highlights the key benefits of your services and includes testimonials from satisfied clients.
- Create a case study showcasing a successful client project and the results achieved.
- Write a whitepaper that offers valuable insights or tips related to your industry, demonstrating your expertise.
6. Ask for referrals
Proactively request referrals from satisfied clients or partners. Simplify the process by providing a referral template or link they can easily share with their contacts. This increases the likelihood of gaining new leads, reinforces existing relationships, and highlights your ongoing commitment to exceptional service.
How to ask for referrals
- Send a follow-up email to satisfied clients, asking if they know anyone who could benefit from your services and provide a referral link.
- Create a referral template that clients can easily forward to their contacts, highlighting the benefits of your services.
- Encourage your referral partners to mention your services to their clients during relevant conversations or meetings.
7. Leverage social media
Utilise social media platforms to showcase your expertise and generate referrals. Share testimonials, case studies, and other evidence of your success to build credibility and encourage your followers to refer you. Actively engage with your audience across various platforms, demonstrating your commitment to their satisfaction and fostering a sense of trust that promotes referrals.
How to use social media to attract partners
- Share client testimonials or success stories on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
- Create a series of Instagram posts showcasing your work, along with quotes from satisfied clients.
- Use Twitter to share links to your case studies or blog posts, demonstrating your industry knowledge.
8. Participate in online communities
Join and engage with relevant online communities. By offering value, you will build trust and credibility and become more known as an expert in your field. Contribute valuable insights and advice to discussions on industry-specific platforms, forums, and Q&A websites. Active participation demonstrates your expertise and makes you a go-to resource for potential clients seeking referrals.
Which communities should you join?
- Join industry-specific Facebook groups or LinkedIn communities and actively participate in discussions, offering valuable insights and advice.
- Contribute to online forums or Q&A websites like Quora, where you can showcase your expertise by answering questions related to your field.
- Engage in discussions on relevant Reddit subreddits or industry-specific online forums, helping others solve problems or offering guidance.
9. Follow up on referrals and show appreciation
Always follow up promptly with referrals to maintain strong relationships with your partners. Send personalised thank-you messages, update referrers on the progress of referred projects, and publicly recognise your top referral sources. These actions strengthen partnerships and encourage continued referrals from those who feel appreciated and valued.
How to follow up with referrals
- Send a personalised thank-you email or handwritten note to the person who referred you, expressing your gratitude for their support.
- Update the referrer on the progress or success of the referred client project, showing them the value their referral brought to your business.
- Recognise your top referral partners publicly, such as by highlighting them in a newsletter or on your social media channels, to show your appreciation and encourage continued referrals.
The next steps
Once you have a group of referral partners to send more clients your way, you’ll be much more likely to make more sales and grow your business.
If you want to learn more about how to dramatically improve your business, join our upcoming live workshop, where we give you the blueprint to running a more profitable business while working less.