Referral Marketing Guide

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  • 1. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; NOTICE: You MAY Give Away or Share the Content Herein—Just As Long as You Do Not Sell or Edit the Content In Any Way. Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! Toll-Free 1 (866) 826-2175 http://www.ReferralMarketingInsider.com http://www.Strategic-Impact.com http://www.MaximumReferrals.com http://www.Marketing-Referral-Tools.com http://www.ReferralMarketingInsider.com http://www.CPAReferralSystem.com http://www.Sales-Letter-Tools.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this report may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system without express written, dated, and signed permission from the author. DISCLAIMERS AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: The information presented herein is derived from original, unedited, collected sources, as of the date of publication. This report is for informational purposes only. While every attempt has been made to verify the information provided in this report, neither the author nor affiliates/partners assume any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. If advice concerning legal or related matters is needed, the services of a fully qualified Professional should be sought. You should be aware of any laws that govern business transactions or other business practices in your country and state. Any reference to any person or business, whether living or dead, is purely coincidental. We do not endorse nor guarantee the accuracy of the contents and are not liable for any consequences resulting therein. 2 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 2. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Table of Contents Foreword...................................................................................... 4 Referral Marketing: Why Offering Referral Fees Is Really a Sorry ‘Bribe’.............................................................................. 5 Seven (7) Strategic Tips On Dealing With Referrals From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach.......................................... 7 Strategic Alliances - Business Referrals on Steroids................. 10 Networking Strategically: How to Get the Ultimate Referral.... 13 30 Client Referrals or More a Year -- How to Get ‘Em.............. 15 How to Turn More Referrals Into Paying Clients...................... 17 Want More Referrals? Take Care of Your Current Buyers........ 20 Building a Referral-Based Clientele.......................................... 22 Building Great Referral Alliance Partnerships.......................... 26 How to Create Word-of-Mouth Referral Networks................... 29 Why You Should Be Using quot;Collaboration Marketingquot; to Grow Your Business Quickly........................................................... 32 Develop Your Own Referral Network........................................ 35 How Creative Intelligence Alliances Can Help You Grow Your Business ................................................................................ 38 Strategic Alliances - 5 Steps to Creating Productive Alliances.. 41 3 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 3. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Foreword From the Desk of Daryl Logullo Welcome— And you’re gonna love this report! The pages ahead can be very profitable for you. In fact, in the coming weeks, the advice here could be your ace in the hole. Why? Because using referrals is simply the most intelligent, cost effective and savvy way to increase your income … work less … and get the freedom you deserve. Period. Sure, ideas are everywhere. But there’s no one out there turning over the rocks hiding the real referral “gems” of wisdom. So in this free report, let me whet your appetite to think about new referral concepts. I’ve combed through several articles and advice and assembled them here (including a few of my own.) The truth is, I probably could have provided another 500 pages of advice! There’s so much more I want to tell you about referral marketing, but I’ll just let you get started by reading the pages that follow. Go for it! Daryl Logullo PS – Chime in with your comments at my blog at: www.MaximumReferrals.com/blog 4 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 4. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Referral Marketing: Why Offering Referral Fees Is Really a Sorry ‘Bribe’ I t still amazes me how most people see referral marketing and building referrals from clients as a means of offering forced incentives to get another person to take action. In this case, to send client referrals to me, so to speak. There’s really two flawed notions here when it comes to referral marketing: 1. People like to give you client referrals; and, 2. People will provide referrals to you when you offer them a cash reward (or other inducement or incentive). Yes, both are very dangerous referral myths. Why so? First of all, I’ve rarely met anyone—client, colleague, or family member—who truly enjoys giving referrals to someone. Let alone, that personal actually responding actively when you go asking for referrals from the (however you now do that). It just doesn’t happen. At least not consistently. So what happens? Most people seeking referrals try to up the ante: They pile on an extra $25, or $50, or $100 if you send to them X-amount of referrals or referred business. They reason to themselves, If I offer a high enough bounty, others will get interested and that will create more referral flow for myself. False. In actuality, the opposite is true: referral resistance (often silently) is what occurs. Why? 5 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 5. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Well back to my first point: Most people don’t like referring business, or at the very least, don’t really know how to go about looking out for you and advocating for you. Why? Because they don’t always know why they should refer business to you. And why is this? Because they don’t know how this will be in their own best interests. Why? Because, as I just said, they can’t translate Me giving you a referral equates to this form of benefit for me, today in my life.’ And listen up: cash inducements are not the sole benefit people are seeking today. I won’t get into other issues, such as inducing or bribing people to refer and how that translates into your image and the perception of your referral marketing practices. But that can be a very real issue also. So what’s the answer to getting more referrals for yourself? Transparency. As in, showing the client, colleague or family member why giving referrals to you and recommending you to others truly is in their best interests. Think of any healthy professional where referrals are the top marketing tool: real estate, legal, insurance, investments – and you’ll see people sharing with others why speaking to you is in their best interests. They’ve been able to form an opinion of you based on their experiences, and have objectively (not by bribes or inducements) determined you are trustworthy professional who has earned their trust and counsel. About the Author Daryl T. Logullo is the Founder of Strategic Impact! a referral consultancy located in Vero Beach, Fla. He concentrates heavily on alliance and referral building strategies for today's professional. Get a Free Report, quot;The Most Powerful Referral 'Secret' Ever Discovered,quot; instantly delivered at http://www.strategic-impact.com/Rule 6 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 6. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Seven (7) Strategic Tips On Dealing With Referrals From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach R eferrals can be and many times are a vital element of your marketing plan. Sometimes, and many times too often, referrals are taken for granted or they are not sought. How you deal with referrals makes a significant difference in whether you will receive repeat referrals. If the person giving you referrals has a positive and pleasant experience and it is through a process that they can trust, then you will receive more referrals in the future. There are several key elements in building up a trusting relationship with people who refer others to you. Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach offers the following seven (7) strategic tips on how to establish and solidify that trust with your referrers. #1: Commit to and develop a strategic approach to using referrals as one way to grow your business. #2: Commit to and always treat a new prospect that has been referred to you with the highest level of appreciation, importance and care. Remember, how you treat this prospect will impact your relationship with the person who referred him or her to you. You want to make sure your dealings with the prospect reflect well on your referral source. And another important note: even if the prospect does not develop into a customer or client, you want them to still sat great things about how you treated them. 7 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 7. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; #3: Commit to and always respond promptly to a referral. The quot;life spanquot; of a referral can be very short. It is essential that you act immediately. If you fail to act immediately you are risking damage to your relationship with referrer and missing an opportunity with a new prospect. #4: Commit to and always reward the behavior of your referral source. Always thank the referrer, even if the referral does not result in a new customer or client. You may consider a small token of appreciation in the form of a small thank you gift or something else that would be valued by the referral source. #5: Commit to and always keep your referrer informed of your progress in contacting and pursing the prospect referred to you. Your referral source, in the majority of cases, really wants to know how things are going with the referral. Let your referrer now when you contact the prospect and meet with the prospect. If the prospect becomes a customer or client ask for permission to tell the referral source. If you have difficulty contacting the prospect, contact your referrer. Many times the referrer will offer to assist you in making contact. #6: Commit to and always thank the referral source for new customers and clients. This is absolutely mandatory in my opinion. It is good business etiquette and it is simply the quot;right thing to do.quot; This will reinforce the action of giving referrals and will encourage more referrals. You might also suggest that the new client thank the referrer and possibly take them out to lunch to celebrate the new relationship. #7: Commit to and develop a method to evaluate your referral plan and make the necessary adjustments to your plan in a timely manner to ensure continued effectiveness of referrals. About the Author Glenn Ebersole, Jr. is a multi-faceted professional, who is recognized as a visionary, guide and facilitator in the fields of business coaching, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning and engineering. Glenn is the Founder and Chief Executive of two Lancaster, PA based consulting practices: The Renaissance Group, a creative marketing, public relations, strategic planning and business development consulting firm and J. G. Ebersole Associates, an independent professional engineering, marketing, and management consulting firm. He is a Certified Facilitator and serves as a business coach and a strategic planning facilitator and consultant to a diverse list of clients. Glenn is also the author of a monthly newsletter, quot;Glenn's Guiding Lines - Thoughts From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coachquot; and has published more than 325 articles on business. 8 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 8. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach encourages you to develop a strategic marketing plan that includes the use of referrals to grow your business. If you would like to learn more about how a strategic thinking business coach can facilitate and guide you in that endeavor, please contact Glenn Ebersole today through his website at http://www.businesscoach4u.com or by email at jgecoach@aol.com 9 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 9. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Strategic Alliances - Business Referrals on Steroids I f you have had success using referrals to grow your business, you are going to love strategic alliances. There is simply no better way to get referrals than a strategic alliance, but it must be with the right partner. A strategic alliance is when two businesses with complementary products and/or services that share the same prospective customers get together to form an alliance. For example, a printing company could have a strategic alliance with a company that sells laser toner. They share the same type of customers, their products are complimentary but they are not competitors. Another example would be a car mechanical repair workshop and a panel beater. Another would be a plumber and an electrician. When you start thinking about it the opportunities are endless. How does it work? I knew you would ask that. A strategic alliance is where you provide your strategic alliance partner with a gift or benefit for them to gift to their prospects or customers. This gift or benefit must be seen as valuable and worthwhile by both your alliance partner and his prospects and/or customers. 10 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 10. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; What do I offer? The offer is usually a discount or a credit on your own products or services, so aim to break even on the first sale. You would have to agree, a cheap price to pay for a new customer. A printing company could offer say a $200 printing credit when the new customers printing bill reaches $700. A motor mechanic could offer a free 21 point safety check. Your offer really needs to strong & compelling so that your prospective alliance partner sees real value and is confident that his prospects and/or customers will see the same value. The partnership There are two ways to set up a strategic alliance, they are. A One Way Alliance - a one way alliance is where you provide the gift/benefit to your alliance partner and they pass it on. A Two Way Alliance - a two way alliance is where you and your alliance partner provide each other with gifts/benefits roughly of the same value so you each can gift them to your own prospects/customers The method There are a number of ways to execute a strategic alliance, they are. · The Big Hit - sending an alliance letter to every customer and or prospect, outlining the offer & possibly including a discount or credit voucher. Learn how to use Sales Letters to grow your business. · Drip Feed - sending the offer to a select amount on a regular basis ie, if the companies customer base is large it may bet better to send say 100 per week as opposed to 3,000 in one day knowing that if 10% responded straight away they would not have to personnel to manage the enquiries. · Point of Purchase - when a customer makes a purchase he is presented with the special offer as a Thankyou for the sale. · Hand Out - handing the offer out or a dumb letterbox drop. 11 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 11. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; As you can see, there are many options to consider and your choice will be based on the type of business you have, your budget, your sales target and many other issues. About the Author Peter Kirkham is a Qualified Printing Trade Specialist and Commercial Printing Broker with Print Acumen Pty Ltd in Perth, Western Australia. With over 40 years of industry experience, Peter provides a wonderful collection of insider tips & proven methods that will save you a substantial amount of money & time on company printing. His FREE guide, Printing Secrets Exposed is freely available to everyone to download. 12 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 12. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Networking Strategically: How to Get the Ultimate Referral D on’t be shy about it. You’re networking for a reason: You want more business. By networking strategically you can get more business than you know what do with. In order to network strategically you’re going to need leverage. Before you can get leverage you’ve got to understand what you’re trying to move, or in this case accomplish. You must first very clearly understand who your target market is. Be specific as possible. Everyone or anyone is NOT a good answer. A service company within a 10 mile radius, with 5-10 employees, that’s been in business for at least 3 years, uses xyz or abc Customer Relationship Management software and works with other small service businesses is a very good answer. The ultimate referral is an introduction to someone who isn’t interested in doing business with you. Instead they want to help their clients by referring you to them. Instead of getting a referral to one new customer they’re going to refer you to one new customer several times a month for years to come. Which would you rather have? 1 new customer that does $1,000 worth of business with you, or 3 new customers every month that each do $1,000 worth of business with you. That’s what you’re looking for. Finding them and building relationships with them is your networking strategy. Once you understand who your ideal customers are, think about who else works with that specific market. Do you know them already? Do you know someone else that already has a relationship with them? Where are they likely to be that you can have an 13 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 13. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; opportunity to meet them? The easiest way might be to ask your existing clients to introduce you to their other vendors. This is a great way to demonstrate that you’re competent and have satisfied clients who are willing to refer you. This is not a process that’s going to work overnight. First you’re going to need to find these other vendors. Then you’re going to need to build a very strong relationship with them, and earn their trust. Only then are you likely to get a stream of referrals from them. The ultimate referral is a two way street. It’s also the best way to build an incredibly strong relationship with someone. If rather than referring that one new client, you refer them to a complimentary service provider who can refer them to 2 new customers every week, you won’t soon be forgotten. Look for ways to leverage the time you spend networking. Search for opportunities to give others the ultimate referral. Network strategically and before you know it you’ll be experiencing your most profitable year ever! About the Author Scott Ingram is the founder of NetworkInAustin.com, a business networking resource for networkers in and around Austin, Texas. All of his success in business has been because of the relationships he’s developed through networking. He was even referred to his wife, they were setup on a blind date, talk about the ultimate referral! You can learn more about strategic networking by reading Scott’s Business Networking Blog or by referring to the Networking Resources section on NetworkInAustin.com. 14 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 14. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; 30 Client Referrals or More a Year -- How to Get ‘Em D o you get all of the referrals you want? Most professionals don't because they're afraid. Afraid they'll hurt their client relationships. Afraid they won't cultivate any new business. Or afraid they'll appear cheap or salesy. It's an imagined psychological line in the sand you're afraid of crossing with people. It's in a concept I teach called quot;D.V.quot;, or Damage Verge. You're frightened that by bringing up the word quot;referralsquot; you'll push your clients, cross that line, and create damage. Let me give you an example. Of 5,200 investment and insurance professionals surveyed earlier this year by  my firm Strategic Impact!, an overwhelming 79 percent said they rely on referrals as their primary source of new business. Eighty-three percent of those professionals had at least 100 clients. Yet the median number of referrals they received from their clients over a 12-month period was just 6 to 12! That means that, on average, only about 10% of their clients were generating referrals. That's horrible! And being passive causes it. If clients are your best source of new business then the figure indicates a tremendous problem. The question is why? My answer is Damage Verge: A psychological barrier where you imagine the worst possible thing will happen if you ask a client for a referral. Before you can even think about how to bring the subject up, your brain kicks into warp speed and says, quot;I can't ask them for a referral; they might get mad at me. . . feel upset. . . be uncomfortable. . . [insert your excuse here]. . . or worst yet, they'll just say, 'No!'quot; 15 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 15. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; What I'm referring to is nothing more than your conscious mind gets into the act, and you wrongly start envisioning that worst-case scenario coming to life. You see yourself offending someone, being presumptuous, asking the wrong way, feeling embarrassed, and finally ruining a prized relationship. Four ways to break through 1. Be more in tune to your client's communication style. The Damage Verge is different for every client and customer, depending on that person's communication style. Still other clients get instantly turned off, regardless of what you try to discuss with them. Understanding your clients' varying styles of communication and receptiveness to your goal of building more business will go a long way in cultivating referrals. 2. Know how to 'ask' for referrals. Nothing evokes more fear in professionals than the thought of sitting down with a client and quot;asking themquot; for referrals. So don't! That's right--don't ask for referrals. Focus on earning personal introductions from clients. The key is that you must test and confirm with every client that they are finding value in you and your work. Use a monthly meeting, lunch, or quarterly review to touch base. I ask one simple, very powerful question: quot;Mrs. Client, tell me: How am I doing in my relationship with you?quot; The answer allows the referral door to swing wide open--or temporarily close tight. Either way, you've got a much better read on the relationship. 3. Practice with your C-level clients, and then move up. Practice on relationships where the stakes aren't so high. Take some of the pressure off yourself by building self- confidence and enthusiasm--and seeing results--with B-level and C-level clients. It's highly unlikely that you would ever offend someone who has confirmed your value. But, if you do upset someone, let it be a C-level client that wouldn't be irreplaceable if they should take their business elsewhere. 4. Give clients a reason to share you with others. I believe in the 80/20 Rule when it comes to client referrals. It says that 80 percent of your clients utilize only about 20 percent of the services you have to offer. One way to counter this is by bundling current services as quot;value-addedquot; extras--this shows appreciation for your current client relationship while simultaneously giving your clients more reason to suggest your services to others. Remember, you want to introduce the subject of referrals with your clients without adversely affecting the relationship at all. You want to get near their damage verge, but you must never cross it. It's like stepping near thin ice--without ever falling through. Stay in the area where the relationship provides enough support for what you're saying--and don't overload it. About the Author 16 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 16. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Daryl T. Logullo is the Founder of Strategic Impact! a referral consultancy located in Vero Beach, Fla. He concentrates heavily on alliance and referral building strategies for today's professional. Get a Free Report, quot;The Most Powerful Referral 'Secret' Ever Discovered,quot; instantly delivered at http://www.strategic-impact.com/Rule How to Turn More Referrals Into Paying Clients 60% of all small business owners, sales and solo-professionals claim that more than half of their new business comes from referrals. Yet when asked about the process they so successfully use to get those referrals and turn them into paying clients, most will have a puzzled, deer-in-the-headlights, stupefied look on their face, and keep quiet. Only a handful of professionals can clearly articulate where their referrals consistently come from and how they turn them into a new business. Those that do – understand the power of a system and frequency of exposure. To best illustrate this, let’s look at how two consultants handle referrals. At first glance John and Steve have virtually identical practices. They are both management consultants, both have introduced executive coaching to their “product” mix. They are excellent at what they do and have stellar reputation among their customers and peers. But there is a difference… John gets almost five times as many referrals as Steve, and he turns 95% of them into new clients. How, you ask? See if you can spot a difference... Steve’s name occasionally pops up in conversations his clients have with their business associates. Since he does a good job, people are often intrigued by the results he creates, ask for his contact information and call him to inquire about his services. Those calls typically lead to an appointment. In terms of frequency of exposure, Steve’s potential new clients might hear his marketing message only twice before the meeting: when they first get his information from a business colleague, and during the initial phone conversation. 17 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 17. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; At first glance, John’s case isn’t much different. His name comes up in conversations where he’s praised for his great work. His contact information is passed on, and he too gets an inquiring phone call leading to an appointment with a prospective client. But that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Immediately after the call, John sends out a hand-written card saying “thank you for interest in my services, I’m looking forward to our meeting.” He also sends a handwritten thank-you card and a small gift (like a $5 Starbucks gift card) to the person who gave him the referral. (I guess John understands that the best way to develop a habit is to reward it in the first place – so he tries to make his referral sources feel good about mentioning his name. And it works!) The following day, John sends out a small package with positioning materials – a welcome letter, an article relevant to prospect’s situation, and an audio CD. This will allow the potential client to “sample” John’s expertise on the subject, build trust, increase the appetite for his services, and position him as a valuable authority. Incidentally, John knows that many of his best prospects won’t have time to fully review those materials. He also knows it really doesn’t matter. All he wants is to see his “stuff” sitting on prospect’s desk when he walks into their office. But he’s still not done. A couple of days before the scheduled meeting he calls his potential client to briefly confirm the meeting objectives, time and place. After the meeting, John immediately sends out another handwritten “pleasure meeting you/thank you” card. So let’s review how many times John’s prospects are exposed to his marketing message: 1. When they first are referred to him in a conversation with a business colleague. 2. When they call him to inquire about his services. 3. When they get his handwritten “looking forward to meeting you” card. 4. When they get his Positioning Packet. (And again when they make time to look through the materials he sends out) 5. When he makes the reminder call two days before the meeting. 6. During the first meeting. (Notice, that at this point prospect has been exposed to John’s marketing message five times – comparing to only two times in Steve’s process.) 18 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 18. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; 7. When they get the handwritten “thank you” card after the meeting Plus, sending a thank-you card and a small gift to the referral source might prove helpful as well. Sometimes, motivated by the gesture, the referral source might choose to take a more active part in the process, inquire about how things are going, and offer additional help. There is one other thing that separates John from Steve. John understands that his clients want to give him referrals but often don’t know how to do this. So he takes time to educate them and makes it easy for them to pass his information on. He hands each new client a sample of a great Attraction Tool (most likely an audio program or a book), and informs them that he’ll gladly send this Attraction Tool to any of this new client’s business associates at absolutely no cost and no obligation – all they have to do is ask for it. He might even hand the new client a few postcards promoting the Attraction Tool and encourage him to send it out to their associates. Why bother? Because by sharing this information John’s new clients are actually helping their colleagues. And it’s easier and less awkward to send out a postcard and to share a resource, than to hand over names of business friends. All this increases the chances of John’s name coming up in casual conversations. I can already hear you whining: “but that’s too much work, I can’t do that in my business”, etc., etc. And you are right – it does take extra work to set this SYSTEM up. Do you have to do this? Hey, it’s your business – you don’t have to do anything you don’t want! But the fact is – frequency builds familiarity. Familiarity builds trust. And we all do business with people we know, like and trust. So you decide if adding a few extra steps in the process could help you get more referrals and, eventually, paying clients. About the Author Adam Urbanski, the Marketing Mentor, helps Independent Service Professionals and Small Business Owners attract more clients. For more promotional tips and a FREE 32-page marketing guide go to http://www.themarketingmentors.com 19 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 19. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Want More Referrals? Take Care of Your Current Buyers T ake advantage of your happy customers. Allow them to help you gain more sales. Do you keep in contact with your buyers after they move into their home? Average producers have no more contact with their buyers after they close. They receive their commission check, heave a sigh of relief that they closed, and are content to move to the next prospect. What a waste of time. After investing anywhere from two weeks to eight months with a happy buyer, to let them simply disappear into the sunset is wasting a valuable resource. It is basically like flushing money down the toilet. Have you ever purchased something and had a great experience? Did you tell others about your experience and refer them so they could have the opportunity to be as happy as you were? When you have great service and an overall good experience with a particular person or company, do you feel they have earned your permission to ask for the sale? Of course they have, and so have you. Learn some key information about your buyers. Anniversary dates Close dates (Home anniversary) Birthdays Children's birthdays 20 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 20. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Holidays Anything else of significance to that buyer MAIL them out a nice letter or postcard on these days. DO NOT just email them. It is informal, takes no effort, has no quot;humanquot; touch attached to it, and you have no idea if they will ever see it or show their spouse or significant other. Thank them for allowing you the opportunity to help them. Ask them if they know of anybody looking for a home and if you may be of service to them. If they do know someone, ask them to set up the introduction for you. It is WAY MORE POWERFUL. The idea is to always stay present in their mind. Think of how often people move to another home. Moving is such a large decision that, oftentimes, people ask for opinions of their friends and family. They solicit the advice of others to make their transition easier. This is why you always want to remain top of mind. About the Author Curt Fletcher, is the author of quot;How To Sell More Homes and Increase Your Income.quot; His goal is to help people gain confidence in their own abilities and maximize their full potential in creating success, wealth and happiness. To book Curt for a meeting, conference, or event, contact Curt Fletcher Success Strategies via email curt@thelikeabilityguy.com http://www.thelikeabilityguy.com/ 21 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 21. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Building a Referral- Based Clientele S alespeople love referrals. They’re the sincerest form of compliment and a remarkably cost-effective route to new business. The idea of attracting referrals is so popular that sales trainers who bill themselves as referral gurus make fortunes promoting magical systems that supposedly deliver more referrals than an agent can handle, all in return for tuition at a three-day seminar. What they talk about for three days is a mystery to me. Referrals are really pretty simple stuff. A lot of it you can only acquire through perfect practice of your scripts, over and over, of referral-generating and referral-cultivation tactics. Referral Truths and Consequences Before you turn even a moment of effort away from prospecting activities and before you put all your hopes into winning business through a full-tilt referral-generation program, be aware that in addition to all the benefits that come with referrals, a 100% referral-based business has some downsides. Proceed with awareness of these ironclad truths: • Truth #1: Especially for newer agents, over-reliance on referrals results in slow-growth simply because early in an agent’s career there isn’t a large enough database of existing clients and contacts to draw upon. • Truth #2: Relying entirely on referrals for client development is a narrow, exclusive, unbalanced approach. For one thing, if incoming referrals decline you won’t have other prospecting systems in place to bail your business out of trouble. What’s more, when referrals do come in, most will be for buyer prospects rather than seller prospects. What the referral gurus never say is that their approach develops buyers’ agents – when sellers’ agents are the ones who experience greatest success and build the strongest long-term real estate sales businesses. 22 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 22. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Building a Referral-Based Clientele A referral-based business is a business that generates most of its leads as a result of contacts provided by friends, family, clients, colleagues, and other associates. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is great, if – and here’s a big if – you have a large sphere of influence and enough patience to wait out a lag time of at least 90 days, and most of the time longer, between when you begin to cultivate referrals and when referrals begin to generate revenue for your business. Building a referral-based clientele is a long-term strategy rather than a quick-fix tactic. If you’re looking for near-term results (and what newer agent isn’t?) you’re better off developing clients through a traditional lead-development program that involves prospecting, conversion of expired and FSBO listings, and open houses. Relying exclusively on referrals, especially when you’re a new and undercapitalized agent, is a quick form of business suicide that will move you out of the real estate industry within a year, guaranteed. Instead, consider referrals a second-stage strategy – one that follows your initial round of business development ¬and contributes to the long- term growth and health of your business What is a Referral? At its core, a referral is a recommendation. In it’s best form, a referral is a high-quality lead and a high-probability prospect that is introduced to you by someone both you and the prospect regard highly. Referrals may come from family members, friends, business associates, social and business contacts, or past and current clients. Sources of Referrals Most referrals come from current clients, past clients, people you’ve met through networking situations, and people you know through social or business dealings. The upcoming sections provide information for working with each group of potential referral contacts. Current Clients Current clients are people you are actively representing, right now, in real estate transactions. Current clients are a rich pool of referral opportunity mainly because, more than any other group, they have real estate on their minds. They’re in the midst of deals that they’re constantly talking with their friends, associates, family, and neighbors. Their conversations revolve around their real estate wants and needs, their moving plans, real estate trends, and market activity. 23 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 23. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; If you don’t ask your current clients to recommend you to their friends or to refer their friends to you for follow-up, you’re really missing out on a huge opportunity to reach potential prospects. You can bet that your name comes up in your clients’ conversations, even if it’s just to say they have an appointment or that they’re awaiting information from you. Putting in a few good words on your behalf would be a natural and easy thing for them to do. You just have to ask. You talk to your clients regularly to communicate about the sale of their home, finding a home, their transaction progress, or progress toward closing. During the course of those conversations, ask for referrals. Past Clients These are the people you’ve helped through real estate transactions in the past. They have first-hand knowledge of the quality of service that you provide. You need to tell them that you would like to provide the same level of excellent service to their friends and family by requesting their referrals. Clients you’ve recently served provide the most fertile opportunity, both because their experiences are fresh in their minds and because they are still buzzing about their recent move to everyone they know in the world. Networking In sales, networking is a buzzword for building business contacts into referral alliances. The objective of networking is to meet success-oriented people with whom you can exchange referrals, advice, counsel, contacts, and even wisdom. Ideally, networking results in professional relationships with others who are committed not only to their success, but to your success as well. Truth is, most salespeople talk about networking more than they actually do it. They attend a Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club meeting, have an enjoyable lunch, visit with a few friends, and chalk the time up to “networking” even though no new alliances were formed, no existing alliances were deepened, and no referral resources were generated. In other words, no networking took place. To make networking work for you, follow these tips: • Network with the right mindset. When you network, set your mind to develop prospect recommendations, not just the names of leads. Many referral alliances are established with the single objective of generating leads. Attendees learn the names of new businesses, new managers, newly arrived residents, or others who are possibilities for your future contact. Now, a lead from a referral alliance is better than no lead at all, but it’s a long cry from the name of a prospect 24 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 24. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; provided by a networking associate who shares extensive background and then offers to put in a few good words on your behalf. • Acquire warm referrals. A warm referral begins when a networking associate makes contact on your behalf with a person who is in the market for your services. Warm referrals involve calls or correspondence that convey your qualifications, the quality of your service, and reasons why prospects should at least interview you for the opportunity to represent their interests in real estate transactions. When establishing networking relationships or referral alliances, work to gain a mutual agreement, so that those in the network will engage in the practice of exchanging warm leads. Business and Social Contacts Many people you meet socially or through business dealings will never become clients. They may have previously established agent relationships or they may not be in the market for a real estate transaction. Nonetheless, they’re important to your business because they’re in a position to give and receive referrals. Notice the words “give and receive” in the previous sentence. The law of reciprocity is alive and well in 21st century business circles. It’s the old tenet of “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about emotional bank accounts into which successful people must make deposits before making withdrawals. Apply that wisdom as you build your referral network. Start by sharing business referrals, counsel, help, and wisdom with others and before long the recipients of your kindness will repay you with like efforts. By helping your friends, family, and associates build their businesses, in time they’ll help you build yours. When dealing with your referral sources, make it your goal to provide service and value in excess of expectations and to keep your accounts with others in the black, rather than the red. About the Author Dirk Zeller is an Agent, an Investor, and the President & CEO of Real Estate Champions. His company trains more than 250,000 Agents worldwide each year through live events, online training, self-study programs, and newsletters. He's the widely published author of Your First Year in Real Estate, Success as a Real Estate Agent for Dummies®, The Champion Real Estate Agent, and over 300 articles in print. 25 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 25. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Building Great Referral Alliance Partnerships T oo many small businesses don't have an integrated marketing strategy and plan. Instead, the marketing tends to be very reactive to whatever is happening to the business currently. You want to build the business through word-of-mouth, but you don't have any system for generating referrals or word-of-mouth business. For most it gets even worse than this because you're passively waiting for clients to introduce you to prospective new clients. It's a long slow process to build your business through referrals this way. Even if you have a systematic approach your success will likely only produce a trickle or small stream of new business. Create Referral Alliance Partnerships If you really want to create a flood of referrals, then consider establishing referral alliance partnerships. Identifying the right referral alliance partnership could be worth 100 times more than getting a referral to one additional client. Many professions can build strong referral networks by partnering with other products and services providers. For example, an accountant can productively send and receive referrals from financial planners, business attorneys, payroll services, insurance providers, and mortgage brokers to name a few. Become referral alliance partnership focused and watch your business soar to the next level. A referral alliance partner is any business contact that could potentially lead you to hundreds of new clients and visa-versa. 26 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 26. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Think in terms of logical services that are up and down the line from your own service. Are there products or services that it's reasonable to think that anyone who is buying them is also likely to be looking for your type of service? You should also think in terms of individuals or business contacts that are well connected. These are the people who understand the value of continuously expanding their circles of contacts and circles of influence. Think about individuals or business contacts that you believe you could really help. When you look to help someone first, they'll be more likely to allow you to educate them on how they can help you in return. I'm not suggesting that existing clients can't make for great referral sources because they certainly can. They should know what your business is capable of as much as anyone. Because they appreciate your work, clients should be one of your best sources for word-of-mouth. The most successful businesses create referral mechanisms to pursue both avenues for lead generation. But, complimentary businesses that serve the same market can be more highly motivated and could introduce you to many more qualified prospects. Forming Referral Alliance Partnerships There are a lot of ways to form referral alliance partnerships with both clients and referral sources. Just calling someone to tell them that their friends or clients could really benefit from your services is probably not the best method. I'm ok with telling folks that your preferred method of meeting new clients is through referrals, but it takes more than just that. You need to invest time and energy in teaching each other about your respective businesses. Offer to invest in getting to know them and how you can help their business first. Find out what makes for great prospects for their business and learn more about how they serve their clients. Investigate to learn more about what truly makes their business unique and special from competitive alternatives in the marketplace. Don't settle for them telling you they're professional and courteous. You have to dig a little deeper to discover how their uniqueness makes a real difference for their clients. Here is the best question you can ask a potential referral alliance partner. quot;How would I know when I run into a good prospect for your business?quot; You should also ask them, quot;How would I know when I run into a good referral alliance partner for you?quot; 27 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 27. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Encourage your referral alliance partners to consistently share client success stories or case studies. Success stories and testimonials bring the business to life and help reinforce the message about the value being offered and what makes the business a great choice. Ask your referral alliance partners how they would most like to receive referrals. Also, find out what the process looks like once a referral lead is shared. Now here is a BIG secret in forming your own referral alliance partnerships. Are you ready for this? Even by offering to get to know their business first and what makes for great referrals, you can train them to be a great referral partner for your business. You do that by asking them to share and then show them what you're talking about by putting examples for your own business in front of them. By doing this you are building the relationship, but you are also immediately adding value to them in how to articulate their business. So if you're ready to take your business to the next level, start targeting potential referral alliance partnerships today. When you create multiple referral sources, you'll generate all the business you can handle. About the Author Kevin Dervin is focused on helping small businesses that are ready to grow, but struggle with how to consistently attract more clients. Visit http://www.proven- small-business-marketing-solutions.com for more great marketing information you can put to use in growing your business today. Follow his Small Business Marketing Tips and Ideas weblog at http://www.proven-small-business-marketing-solutions.com/blog.html Find Kevin's Kansas City based KPD Marketing practice at http://www.ABCDgrowth.com and subscribe to his free ezine called ABCD Grow. 28 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 28. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; How to Create Word-of- Mouth Referral Networks T he most effective sales team you'll ever find is enthusiastic customers. The reason is simple enough: Customers aren't paid to praise. When a customer becomes a passionate believer in your brand, it means you truly earned it. Whenever they buy your product or service, customers feel like special club members. But a repeat customer alone doesn't create a sales team. The trick is to transform that dedicated buyer into a promoter who spreads the word and converts friends, family and associates into customers, too. By building great word-of-mouth, you nurture an all- volunteer sales force that generates leads, boosts sales and leverages marketing dollars. Here are three basic ways to persuade people to talk up your business story. As you develop the customer sales force, you'll find other options suited to your business. 1. Set Up a Referral Program The easiest starting point is to ask customers who are already fans to recommend you. First, let them know you're creating a referral program by sending out a letter or a postcard that explains how much you value their business and that your continued quality depends on their referrals. You'll get a better response if you include an incentive -- say, a discount on the next order or a gift for every referral sent your way. To keep building advocates, send your referral program letter to every new customer within a few days of his first purchase. You might also ask for written testimonials about your products, which can be included on direct mail postcards, mailers or brochures or posted on your website and included in e-mail marketing. Send these testimonials to targeted customer lists, along with your appropriate sales materials. Customer referrals can also be mailed to prospects to help open doors or to introduce you to important contacts. For instance: quot;Tom Smith thought you'd want to see this.quot; 29 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 29. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Then follow up with phone calls. Once you have set up the referral program, Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003 lets you to track the referrals. Each Business Contact or Account listing has a Referred By field that you can use to quickly identify the source of the referral, whether by advertisement, direct mail, seminar, trade show, internal referral, external referral, partner or public relations. In addition, the Source of Leads Report in Business Contact Manager quickly gives you insight into customers you'll want to contact. This pre-formatted report lists all of your Accounts and Business Contacts, grouped by how they were referred, whether by advertisement, direct mail, seminar, trade show, internal referral, external referral, partner or public relations. 2. Elevate Your Profile Whether you sell upmarket services or mass-market widgets, you can generate positive publicity to make your company stand out -- although it takes some sustained effort to build recognition. As a professional service, you can position yourself as the go-to authority for media or industry news reporters. That requires some investment in crafting an innovative speech or survey or advocacy position that gets you noticed on the conference or trade show circuit. You might also hire a publicist to help get exposure. Such pros are often paid on a per-project or per-performance basis so you aren't on the hook for hefty retainer fees. Or, you can publicize on your own -- for instance by highlighting your family's background or its homegrown recipes. Your goal is to weave an emotional story or hook that will draw press. You can also become identified with a cause or a charity. Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, for instance, was founded on only (USD)$12,000 back in 1978. But the two owners created a national powerhouse out of high-priced unconventional flavors and the good will of philanthropy. Before that, few companies talked about social responsibility. Nowadays, hundreds do. Either way, the important thing here is to be sincere. Promote only what you really believe in. To begin building publicity, create a personal and company media kit, which can be quickly done with Microsoft Publisher. 3. Choose Smart Partners By forging alliances with businesses that target the same customers as you do, you'll create a word-of-mouth customer network that refers business. For instance, if you're a pediatrician, you might leave your business cards at the reception area of a local 30 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 30. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; daycare center. Likewise, the center might put up some posters on your office bulletin board. A parent who uses daycare services might recommend you to another. Or, let's say you own an auto body shop. You can partner with a car wash/detailing service. The car wash might mail out your flyers along with monthly invoices and also place a stack of flyers on the counter for customers. You obviously do likewise. Take- out delis and caterers provide another matching combo. You get the idea. You can also develop special arrangements with partners to offer discounts or special offers -- printed on the back of the flyers -- that are only available to customers who patronize both businesses. Don't forget your suppliers and vendors. Ask them to recommend you to their customers. Remind them that by referring sales leads or business to you, you're helping to build their business, too. To make it work, you must return the favor. Experts say that customer referrals and word-of-mouth are about 10 times more effective than other marketing. About the Author Joanna L. Krotz writes about small-business marketing and management issues. She is the co-author of the quot; Microsoft Small Business Kit quot; and runs Muse2Muse Productions , a New York City-based custom publisher. 31 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 31. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Why You Should Be Using quot;Collaboration Marketingquot; to Grow Your Business Quickly W hat is Collaboration Marketing? Collaboration Marketing is an abstract mind-set used to describe a business building process that involves two or more entities (with similar, but non-competing products, services or ideas) that agree to contribute their existing assets (people, time, money, processes and resources) for the synergistic betterment of a newly formed relationship, business, or process. What? Ok, here's a better way to understand quot;Collaboration Marketingquot;. Collaboration Marketing Collaboration Marketing, (CM) often referred to as a Strategic Alliance (SA), Joint Venture (JV's), or Corporate Partnering (CP) can be defined as quot;a mutually beneficial relationship between two or more partiesquot;. Collaboration Marketing can range from being very simplistic, quick, informal one-time events to very formal, long-term projects, relationships, or even the creation of a completely new company or company division. The power and possibilities that you can accomplish from a well-planned quot;Collaboration Marketing Processquot; are numerous, exciting, and (can be) quite profitable. In this article, I'll focus primarily on giving you some high level examples on the benefits of using an informal Strategic Alliance for getting new clients quickly. 32 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 32. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; The underlying principle that makes a Strategic Alliance so powerful is that they work on the basis of a quot;trusting relationshipquot;. Trust among the participating parties, trust between the network of clients, members and any other circle of influence you or a potential Strategic Alliance partner may have. Trust that in most cases has taken you or your future Strategic Alliances partner months and even years to develop, cultivate, and nurture. Ok, stay with me while I give a you an example of quot;the reason whyquot; Strategic Alliances work... Think about how you make your buying decisions. What's the first thing you usually do when you need to make a product or service purchase that you've not used or consumed before. In most cases you'll ask your a family member, friend or business associate for a referral. Are you asking for a referral because you don't know were to find the product or service you're seeking? Unlikely, the Internet, Yellow Pages, and 411 information services are overflowing with invasive ads for products and services (this is also another reason to use Strategic Alliances, but we'll talk more about penetrating the quot;Noise Barrierquot; in a future Collaboration Marketing article) More then likely, your asking someone you quot;trustquot; because they have already gone through the sales experience with a particular vendor and can possibly save you time, money, and frustration based on their experiences. Let's take an example of how a start-up company used a Strategic Alliance to generate new clients within one week with little to no marketing and advertising cost. Simon opened his Web Design Company with a passion for creating websites, logos, and custom graphics for his clients. Simon was a skilled graphic designer, but his sales and marketing skills were based solely on theory and what he learned from a few books he had recently read. Simon wanted to do a promotion offering 25% off his services for new clients. Simon and I had a conversation about this promotion and asked me my advice and thoughts on this type of promotion. His objectives were to find new clients quickly without spending a lot of money on marketing. I told him that he had two primary objections to overcome since his business was new, he currently had only one client and his competition in the Web Design space was fierce and while competing strictly on a discount price point may work, I suggested he use a Strategic Alliance to keep his prices at a competitive market rate to obtain new clients, while creating a quot;leverage switchquot; with a complimentary business owner that already had the a trusting relationship with the exact type of clients Simon was looking to provide service to. I suggested Simon call local printers, illustrators, and web programmers in his area. I had him pick local vendors (so he could actually go meet these other business owners, which builds rapport and trust) that work in complimentary, not competitive businesses. Simon contacted a local print shop, introduced himself and offered to provide a quot;Web Designquot; division to the print shops existing base of over 300 clients. Within one week, Simon 33 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 33. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; and the owner of the print shop wrote an email letter to his existing clients announcing the new service. Within two weeks Simon gained an immediate influx of client requests with an acquisition cost of zero! The reason this relationship worked is based on the established trust the printer had with his clients and the trust that Simon built with the printer. By showing him his portfolio, proving to the printer that Simon was capable and skilled, meeting him in person (not necessary, but it's an added way to build trust and rapport) and offering the printer an added profit stream opportunity to open a new quot;web divisionquot; with minimal to no out of pocket costs. This was clearly a win-win Strategic Alliance. The printer was able to provide a profitable service (that his clients were asking for) and Simon was able to position himself in front of an established quot;warm marketquot; of prospects. What Strategic Alliance opportunities could you use to expand your business this quickly? About the Author Christian Fea is a Collaboration Marketing Specialist. He educates business owners on Strategic Alliances, Joint Ventures, and Corporate Partnering Tactics. Specifically, he shows you how to implement, strategize, and align yourself with others that can get you to where you want to be in your online and/or offline business in the shortest amount of time. He can be reached at http://www.christianfea.com 34 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 34. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Develop Your Own Referral Network B usiness alliances are valuable bridges that can be used to reach new customer audiences. These alliances are typically like-minded businesses that serve the same audience demographic but offer separate, complimentary non-competing services or products. A business, recognizing the importance of nurturing existing client relationships, typically develops a firm foundation of client trust. These clients need other services. With a business referral network, not only does your business benefit from the added exposure offered through this network, but your clients benefit as you are providing an important service to them as well. By giving your customers access to preferred vendors who may offer value added discount incentives, you are saving your clients time and money, and what could be more valuable to them than that? Certain professions in particular have a responsibility to recommend other professionals to their clients. A dentist, for example, even the best dentist, doesn't make it a practice to perform oral surgery, that's reserved for the oral surgeon. So it makes perfect sense that the dentist would recommend a qualified oral surgeon to his or her patient when the need arises. Similarly, a general practitioner wouldn't think of performing brain surgery or offer cancer treatment to his valued patients. Many doctors refer other specialized doctors based upon the needs of their patients and this is an extremely common and necessary practice in the medical field. But the medical field is not the only industry that benefits from developing proactive B2B referral relationships. Some other businesses that benefit from this type of synergistic relationship may include: 35 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 35. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; · a realtor offering a recommendation to a mortgage broker · a website designer referring a website hosting company · a restaurant referring a florist's valentine promotion · a home builder recommending a landscaper · a plastic surgeon suggesting a cosmetic dentist · a hotel wedding coordinator referring a DJ or musician · a financial planner recommending an insurance agent Your recommendation to a trusted alliance business partner is greatly appreciated by your customers. Most everyone appreciates even the smallest comfort level offered through a referral, especially when searching for important service providers. Letting your fingers do the walking through miles and miles of advertisers in the yellow pages is a scary proposition when you need a new home loan or a plumber to fix a serious leak. When considering an important decision like who to call for medical care, home repair, personal services etc...choosing a service provider from an advertisement is really no better than a crap shoot. At least a referral, even one that comes from a 2nd or 3rd tier source, is better than no recommendation at all. There are two major benefits associated with referring pre-qualified associate partners 1. You offer a service to your valued customers by helping supply a need 2. You get more business as your partners reciprocate the favor and recommend you to their customers. The latter is called cross promoting. Cross-promotional strategies allow your business to have access to a warm market that could never be reached any other way. Email offers a simple, cost effective way to facilitate the process of referring and getting referred. Not only does email make it easier to introduce your clients to your referral partners and vice versa, but with the right tools you can also measure and track the success. This referral growth success is realized through your own customer base as well as the customer base offered through your alliance business partners. By piggybacking on mutually beneficial business relationships, your exposure increases while your ad spend decreases. The more referrals you get, the less you have to advertise. Aligning yourself with synergistic qualified business professionals is a win-win scenario, not only for you and your referral partners, but for your valued customers as well. About the Author Diana D'Itri is the Exec VP of RaveBiz, a leading referral marketing and technology company. She's a key driving force behind educating clients on how 36 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 36. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; to generate more quality referred customers through practical applications and an automated, web based system called the Rave APG eReferral. For a free download quot;31 tips for boosting referral businessquot; go to www.ravebiz.com. Diana can be reached at (866) 284-3020. 37 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 37. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; How Creative Intelligence Alliances Can Help You Grow Your Business W ho do you report to when you are the boss? How do you deal with unmotivated days, or those times when you feel overwhelmed? Successful people have known how to deal with these pressures for a long time. In the early 1900s a man named Napoleon Hill studied the highest achievers of the day and discovered their secret: a network of other success-oriented people who kept them focused and on track. He called this phenomenon a quot;master mindquot; because the calibre of ideas produced by the group were greater than the ideas produced by the same individuals on their own. If you've experienced being in a group of people who run with the ideas of others and take them to the next level, then you know how it works. Corporations, especially creative ones, use this idea in brain storming sessions. You can use this kind of creative intelligence to help grow your business. A quot;Creative Intelligence Alliancequot; is a group of like-minded people who meet on a regular basis to generate truly creative ways to reach a specific goal. In business, this can be a vital resource, and even more so for small business owners. Your alliance can be structured in a variety of ways - each having different names 38 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 38. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; depending on the format. Benefits of a Creative Intelligence Alliance Feedback and Brainstorming It's always easier to come up with ideas for someone other than yourself. Your alliance can help you come up with ideas that you may not be able to see. Accountability If you say, quot;This week I am going to finish up the copy for three brochures,quot; you should expect to tell your team members that you are finished by the next meeting. Support Your meetings will get you out of your workspace on a regular basis, improve your morale and renew your sense of commitment. They will also expose you to people who have gone through many of the same experiences and who can provide advice and reassurance. Networking Sometimes you will find that you need an introduction to a person at a particular company, and the best way to get that introduction is to find someone who knows that person. Testimonials Nothing carries more weight to a potential customer than the positive opinion of someone they know and trust. Demonstrate your services or products to your alliance partners, and let them become champions of your cause. Types Master minds are the original Creative Intelligence Alliance. Usually, people building a master mind try to assemble a group of people who are already at the level of success they are aiming to achieve, because they can give them a quot;hand up.quot; Of course, if you are going to invite very successful people to join your master mind, you will have to figure out what it is you are offering them in return, other than just the flattering sense that you value their opinion. Other people prefer to have an Advisory Board. This tends to a group that focuses on 39 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 39. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; one specific business in the group, though if all the members are in complementary fields, they can all benefit from participation. Success Teams - these groups are not always focused on business; they are about the unique goals of the members. quot;Success Teamsquot; usually use the Barbara Sher principles, explained in the book Wishcrafting. Other types include: Neural Nets, Brain Trusts, and Referral networks. Getting Started Figure out what it is you hope to gain from belonging to a Creative Intelligence Alliance and then match the people to the team. Send them invitations to join you in an exploratory meeting to see if the personalities mesh well, and go from there. There are tools to help you set up the right kind of alliance for you and the other team members - simply do a quick search at any search engine for quot;starting a creative intelligence alliancequot; and you will get the help you need. Don't delay, what could you achieve with the power of a Creative Intelligence Alliance behind you? About the Author You can find more information about Creative Intelligence Alliances at http://businesspartnerships.ca and general business information at http://allaboutbusiness.ca Gisela is a Founding Director of pixcode Inc., a Canadian company that specializes in creating and managing profitable Internet properties, including Business Partnerships Canada and All About Business Canada. 40 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 40. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; Strategic Alliances - 5 Steps to Creating Productive Alliances S trategic alliances have become an essential part of a company's growth strategy. Successful companies of all sizes rely on the leverage that alliances provide to: Enter new markets  Increase market share  Decrease operating costs  Increase delivery capacity  Innovate products/services  Although the reasons for forming an alliance with another company may be unique, the actions required to develop a productive alliance are typically the same. Outlined below are the main activities and key considerations in creating a productive alliance. 1) Outline Objectives - Make sure that working with alliance partners makes sense for your company. There are many advantages to forming an alliance with another company, but it is critical that you identify your specific needs prior to engaging in any alliance development activities. Clarifying your alliance needs up front will help focus your efforts and provide a valuable point of reference for the rest of the alliance process. Key considerations: What is currently limiting your company's growth?  41 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 41. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; What are you looking to achieve through forming an alliance with another  company? How does the use of alliances align with your overall business strategy?  What types of alliances are you looking to establish?  What is the profile of your target alliance partner?  How many alliances are you looking to form?  2) Recruit Partners - Find and be found by the right companies. Although it is easiest to create alliances with companies that approach you, most people find that the right companies are not always aware of the opportunity to form an alliance with you. It is often necessary to perform a quot;partner campaignquot; to increase awareness within your target companies. Key considerations: What does your company have to offer a potential alliance partner? (i.e. what's in  it for them?) How will you market your alliance opportunity to attract the right alliance  partners? What information will you provide to allow companies to self-select?  What companies are on your target alliance partner list?  How will you approach each of your target alliance partners?  Is it important to keep your competition and/or customers from finding out about  your partner search? 3) Assess Opportunities - Qualify and select potential alliance partners. In order to identify a productive alliance partner, it is important to objectively evaluate the qualities and opportunity each alliance represents. Be warned, the largest companies are not always the most productive alliance partners. Key considerations: How do your goals and objectives align with your potential alliance partner's?  What capabilities, resources, and opportunities do they bring?  42 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 42. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; How does your potential alliance partner's target customer, average deal size,  and primary buyer, compare with yours? How have they demonstrated a commitment to alliances?  Have they demonstrated a willingness to be open, flexible, and collaborative?  How would working with them impact your key stakeholders (employees,  customers, suppliers, and other alliance partners)? What are the potential risks of working with this company?  4) Agree Terms - Define each company's rights and obligations. Agreeing to an initial set of terms for the alliance up front is critical to establishing an effective working relationship between the two companies. Keep in mind, the more equitable the terms, the more motivated both parties will be to make business happen. Key considerations: How much time, resources, information, contacts, etc. are being committed by  each company? What will be done, by when, and by whom?  When and how will alliance performance be assessed?  What is the exit clause if the alliance does not work out?  How and when will revenue and/or costs be shared?  Who owns the primary relationship with new customers?  How will each company's proprietary information and practices be protected?  5) Implement Alliance - Initiate collaboration and fulfill alliance commitments. At this point, all the agreements should be in place to allow both companies to work together. It is often valuable to test the alliance as soon as possible (through a project, marketing effort, product development effort, etc.). This will quickly bring any issues into the open and allow you to see the true viability of the alliance. Key considerations:  Who, from each company, will be responsible for ensuring the success of the  alliance? 43 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog
  • 43. Special Report: quot;The Ultimate Resource Guide to More Client Referrals – Second Editionquot; How are you allocating and tracking resources devoted to the alliance?  How often will alliance updates/reviews be performed and who will participate?  How are you ensuring that your alliance partner's resources are prepared to sell,  deliver, and/or support your products/services? About the Author Selixis is a leading provider of business partner development services focused on creating a competitive advantage and increasing business opportunities. Our team of experienced professionals understand what it takes to create, manage, and improve productive alliance partners. We work with leading and emerging software, technology, service, and consulting companies that are committed to making alliance partners an essential part of their ongoing business. If you are interested in learning more about creating productive strategic alliances, please visit our website ( http://www.selixis.com ) or contact us at inquiries@selixis.com 44 Copyright ©1999-2008 Strategic Impact! | MaximumReferrals.com All Rights Reserved Hundreds of referral ideas and strategies at MaximumReferrals.com/blog