We created this as a form, a suggestion from Tshombe Brown (Bizniker too) called The Perfect Introduction and have sent it out to all the vendors and venues we work with. It introduces our company like you expressed in your article and then gives them a blank copy to fill in for their company and submit back to us so we can refer them to the appropriate clients. It works really well. I'm glad you posted this article. More people should take advantage of this process.
Building A Referral Network & Developing Strategic Partners
The Art of Business Networking...How to truely connect with the people you want to network with. And, How to turn them into Strategic Partners.
How to Reach Out to Those Around You
Everyone has heard the expression, "It's not what you know but who you know." Of course this isn't entirely true, but having a successful referral network can lead to a significant increase in satisfied clients with minimal effort on your part.
Have you ever gone into a large home improvement store, trying to find a certain item, only to come face-to-face with a wall of similar products? It can be overwhelming. Imagine if you had an expert right there to tell you what you need to know. Now imagine a team of experts throughout the store, all ready to assist you. This is what a successful referral network should be.
Choose Your Partners Wisely
It is important to select your referral partners carefully. When you recommend someone, your client is trusting your opinion. It only takes one bad experience to sour a relationship. On the other hand, a positive experience will stay in a person's mind and encourage them to return to you for additional advice. Be sure that you are confident about the quality of work your referral partner can provide.
Get To Know Your Network
It is easy to remember that Mr. Smith is a CPA or Ms. Taylor is a financial planner. But what is it that makes them stand out? It's helpful to sit down with other professionals and learn about their unique selling proposition. By taking the time to learn about their specialties, you will be able to provide a more qualified referral. You may also use this opportunity to identify how you work with clients and why your services are worth recommending.
By teaming up with other professionals outside of your field, you are providing your clients with an extra level of service. Not only will they appreciate it, they will also remember you the next time they need a reliable source. In addition, your referral partners will keep you in mind when their clients are looking for a professional.
Developing Relationships with Strategic Partners
Everyone whose business relies on referrals can benefit from developing relationships with strategic partners. Armed with sufficient knowledge about each other, I feel we could be a great team. As a Loan Executive, I seek to establish relationships with professionals in other fields who are known for their superb customer service and business ethics.
I am interested in getting together with you for lunch or perhaps a cup of coffee, to get to know each other better and determine whether we have the potential to develop a working relationship. It is most important to me to learn how to represent you correctly, if I were to recommend you to my clients.
Here are some questions to consider prior to our meeting:
- What is your unique selling proposition? What makes you stand out from your competition?
- How long have you been in your current business?
- What do you do to ensure your customers are happy with you and your team?
- What is your standard procedure when taking on a new client?
- What are your primary goals?
- Are you implementing new marketing strategies?
- If so, what results do you hope to achieve in the next 12 to 24 months?
- Do you feel you are currently marketing to your database effectively?
- What systems do you use to build referrals and generate leads?
- What do you look for in a strategic partner?
- What strategies are you implementing, or would you like to implement, with strategic partners?
- What is the most important thing you look for in a mortgage professional?
What are your personal interests? Do you feel you have adequate balance between your work and personal life, so that work is not consuming all of your time?
My goal is to know more about you, and likewise, let you know more about how I do business. If we both feel that we can work well together as partners, we will have enough information to intelligently refer business to each other. My clients perceive me as an expert in my field who does much more than quote rates. They see me as a resource for helping them to manage their debt over time.
Craig D Walker is a Mortgage Professional in the Seattle WA area.
Learn more about the author, Craig D Walker.
Comment on this article
Posted by Trina Bol, Mount Vernon, Washington |
Jun 15, 2009
Posted by Tshombe Brown, Portland, Oregon |
Jun 18, 2009
Craig this is a great article and really illustrates the time and effort needed in building strategic alliances with others.
I am very pleasantly surprised to see your comment here Trina, and even more delighted that you are actually using the tool I shared with you at the Networking That Works event in Bellingham last year!
Posted by David Jackson, Kent, Washington |
Jun 22, 2009
Interesting stuff. A very nice take on being strategic vs the shot gun effect.