Research shows that 9 out of 10 people will trust someone who recommends a product or a service. So it makes sense that most people prefer to do business with someone they know or know of through recommendation. Word of mouth and referral is still one of the most valuable sales tools for small to medium business, which is why uncovering referrals should be part of your sales strategy.
It’s also not as easy as just turning up to an event and handing out business cards, or providing a great service to your clients, but there is so much more that you could be doing to make sure you’re maximising this important sales opportunity.
What could you be doing today to receive more referrals? The biggest impact and instant results come from creating your own referral teams. A referral team is a group of people that are helping you to generate new business each day. They want to help you because the support is reciprocal, and they should be seen as part of your sales team, without the fee attached.
A Referral Team is a group of people who are focused on creating new opportunities for each other in their respective business each day by warm introductions, providing new exposure, filling the sales funnels and recommending your products and services to the right type of people.
Imagine if you had a team of 50 people recommending your business every day – how could that change your bottom line?
Creating your own Referral Teams should also extend to everyone in your business. Allowing your employees to also build their own referral network not only brings more business to you, but empowers your team.
Most staff will appreciate the opportunity to create and nurture their business relationships, and having another way to support their clients and networks is a win-win. It also embraces the introduction of best practice across each area of your business, which is valuable learning for all employees and teams.
The Referral Guru, Michael Griffiths, introduced me to the concept of Referral Teams and explains how to create your Referral Teams and how different types of referral teams can work in generating new business for you. I’ve seen versions of Michael’s system work so well when implemented and particularly successful where the system has been introduced into team member’s work plans and KPI measures.
Profitability Partners are your A-team. These are the people who have similar networks to yourself and people you like and trust.
You should have a maximum of six profitability partners, as any more and you will not have the time to support them, which is a 1-on-1 phone conversation between you and your partner every week. The phone call should not last more than 10 minutes and a time to strategize how you can help one another.
Most people are lucky if they talk to their referral partners every month, let alone every week, but this is important as with constant communication, constant strategizing and being front of mind of one another, you will be amazed how much business you can pass each other.
Next, there is your Super Group. Your super group is 8-10 people that meet once a month. This could be done face to face, via webinar or Zoom. Your super group is about all group sharing their networks, their clients and customers, and creating new opportunities for one another.
Your super group needs at least eight people (including yourself) that all target the same type of person but have a complementary product or service. For example, a marketing person with a graphic designer, with an HR consultant, with an IT consultant with a web developer. They all have the same client and all sell something different.
Next is your Cross Promotion partners. Doing cross promotions is the quickest way to grow your business and is simple to do.
A cross promotion is where you promote someone to your network and they promote you to their network. Cross-promotions could be sharing content, videos, webinars, live presentation, pdf’s etc. To set up a cross promotion all you need to do is just ask someone that has a similar network to you if they would like to cross promote. If you have 12 cross promotion partners then you can do two a month. And you’ll be amazed at the leads it produces.
There is no point putting up content on social media unless it is being shared into new networks by other people. Most people simply hope that someone will share their content, when you could be ensuring people do by making them content distributors.
Every month you ask people if they would be happy to share your content if you shared their content. You could easily have 10+ people sharing your podcasts, webinars, articles, video’s and that will increase your following and reach thousands of new people every month. This is all done through other people’s networks. Start with 10 content distributors you will start to reach new networks, new clients and customers, and strengthen your following.
This is the only group of partners that get paid for creating a sale for you. Every other type of partner is supporting your business because you’re committed to helping them.
Affiliates are happy to sell your product or service for a commission – when they make a sale they get paid. For most people, they don’t use this type of partnership correctly and they often fail, so the key is great communication and building the relationship.
The magic of Referral Partners is in planning and execution. Imagine with 20 affiliates, 20 content distributors, 12 cross-promotion partners, 8 in your supergroup and 6 profitability partners, how could your business change with a team of 66 people who are out there creating new opportunities?
Referral teams don’t get built overnight, and it does take time and effort, and you should always be looking for people who have the same mindset and values, complementary product/service with a similar target market to yourself. But once you’ve got your base team onboard and your referral relationships thriving, your business will be taken to another level.