Building and Growing Your Referral Engine

What if your network of nurtured referral sources brought sales to you?

Life would be easy for businesses if they were able to get customers to buy whenever they wanted to sell. That fantasy leads to some faulty marketing tactics including, but not limited to, hard selling promotions, annoying interruptions and social media blitzes.

The reality is that most business will come by referrals, especially for professional services and B2B services. A friend will share what their experience or knowledge of a business is like with another friend when there is an expressed need.

The problem for most organizations is that their sales rely heavily on perfect timing. We can’t control when someone wants to buy a new house or get stints in their hearts. We can’t tell someone to take a vacation to Hawaii or buy a new car when they have a relatively new car already. The need or desire is extremely low.

However, we can occupy the mindshare of an audience that will either eventually do business when the timing is perfect or even more likely, refer others who cross their paths.

Being the positioned expert or leader in the minds of people that can easily refer you, such as partners that interact with your ideal customer daily, is critical for building a referral engine.

While some organizations may do well with an expensive direct sales force, many organizations have to influence an audience that can direct referrals to them. It is a natural way of how business is done.

If you find that your best customers come by referrals, then how about focusing on your referral sources as a key strategy? They are the partners that naturally come in contact with your customers every day. Delivering consistent value to them by helping them understand what you specifically do, how you are the leader and what helps them look good is critical for this type of referral relationship.

Every market will have a different strategy based on the nature of how people do business. Some may be highly incentivized with referral fees, contests or cash.

For those that have more of a long-term, indirect approach, growing a database of recipients that receive high quality content is critical. Your referral sources want to be equipped with knowledge that makes their job easier and help them get their work done effectively in the eyes of their customers or superiors.

This is why a referral engine with thought leadership and content that helps not only to position you as the leader, but continually helps your referral sources provide value in their working spheres is particularly effective.

Over time, the flywheel effect occurs. You will receive a continuous and growing stream of marketing referrals based on your consistency. Your anticipated content becomes a hinge point for helping your referral sources with their perfect timing to refer leads to you.

Of course, there are a lot of pieces to build to make your referral engine work effectively. It is not built in a day and it does require a commitment and a vision for a system for producing leads. But, the work over time keeps you from having to reinvent the wheel.

What if you had continuous referrals? How exciting can that be for you personally?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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