BUILDING A REFERRAL BASE
There are many aspects to marketing, and building a referral base is one of the most important. Let’s take a look at three referral sources:
- A referral from a client/customer who has dealt with you.
- A referral from a friend.
- A referral from a trusted professional.
Each of these potential referral sources represents an annuity for your business. That means that they will keep on referring. As you grow you will obtain new customers, new friends and meet more trusted advisors; thus the cycle keeps growing.
Building a referral business is a form of relationship marketing. The important thing to note is that referrals just don’t happen. In order to grow your referral base, it must be fed by mutual trust and shared benefits. The three phases in this process are visibility, credibility and profitability.
Visibility: your marketing efforts have to include opportunities for you to become more visible. Your visibility will help create recognition and awareness for both you and your business. The more you are seen the greater your chances of being accepted and branded as a knowledgeable and trusted individual to whom they can refer business.
Credibility: credibility equates to being reliable and worthy of confidence. In your business it means that appointments are kept, promises are acted upon and services are rendered.
Profitability: referrals should be mutually rewarding. It means that the two parties both gain from it; it could be satisfaction or other type of profit.
You can’t just sit and wait for referrals from the three sources we identified. You must make sure that you are visible and credible to these sources and that you can bring profitability, in some form, to the referral. A good start is to make a list of your three best referral prospects in each of the referral categories. Plan out a campaign, decide what you are going to do and say and then ask for the referral.
People influence people. A trusted referral infuences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising. Mark Zuckerberg
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