To be successful in any business, you must have a strong network of referral sources. To develop and maintain such relationships, follow these steps:
- Join two to three diverse organizations, whether social, cultural, political, religious, charitable, professional, or of some other genre. Sign up with a general business group, as well as, perhaps, a club related to a hobby that you enjoy.
- Get involved. Contribute to your community.
- Refer to others. When someone refers to you, you are more likely to refer to that referral source, and vice versa.
- Speak well of those whom you admire, and what goes around should come back around.
- Connect with possible referral sources on a personal level.
- Showcase your expertise by offering free lectures or by writing articles for local publications. Always include your contact information and a call to action, if appropriate, at the end of your lecture or article.
- Use digital marketing to make even more connections. Run searches on yourself to ensure that you have a good on-line reputation. If you don’t, fix it. If you do, improve it.
- Write blogs, update profiles, and post often.
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for a referral.
- Never miss an opportunity to provide your call to action, but only at appropriate times.
- Most importantly, do an exceptional job for your current clients.
Don’t forget that once you have established your network, it is important to maintain communication with them and to provide value to your referral network. Remain visible to them so that they don’t forget about you. Continue participating in your organizations. Continue giving lectures. Invite your referral sources to lunch or coffee or wine once in a while. Send thank-you notes when you receive a referral. Refer back when appropriate. Send holiday cards or throw small holiday parties. Build personal relationships with your referral sources. Don’t let your referral sources forget just how wonderful you are!