• Ideas for swapping leads with other businesses.
  • How to form partnerships with local businesses in your area.
  • Ways to find the influencers in your area and partner with them.

We all know that current and past clients are great sources for referrals. After all, they have firsthand knowledge of the value you provide. But if you’re not tapping other sources, you’re missing out on the potential for more referrals.

So what are these sources, and how can you get more referrals from them?

Here are just a few suggestions:

1. Swap leads with other business owners

Business networking groups are a popular and useful way to gets leads. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it works like this: A bunch of business owners or representatives meet on a regular basis to network and exchange business leads.

When you think about all the connections these businesses have, any of whom might have a need for your services at some point, you can see how powerful this tactic can be.

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

LeTip and BNI are probably the best known of these organizations in the county, but they are by no means the only ones. Meetup.com is an excellent resource for finding these types of groups in your area.

2. Form partnerships with local businesses in your area

Similar to the tactic above, this idea leverages the connections of other companies for a common objective. The main difference is that you and the businesses you partner with do more than just exchange leads. You set up programs that drive business for both of you.

Partnerships are a natural fit with businesses that you already work with on a regular basis, such as staging experts, home inspectors or mortgage companies.

For instance, you could set up a deal with package pricing, where your clients get a discount on your partner’s services. That gives clients an incentive to use both businesses.

Another way to take advantage of partnerships is to co-advertise and split the costs. We’ve had clients offer their business partners advertising space in the custom magazines we produce for them to offset the costs.

You can even reach out to businesses that aren’t related to yours if you want to get creative. For instance, you could reach out to car dealerships and offer to pay for oil changes of any customer who buys or sells a house with you.

3. Influence the influencers

Some connections are more valuable than others when it comes to delivering leads. The best sources are influencers — those who not only know a lot of people but also have regular personal interaction with them. You never know when one of those conversations can turn into a referral.

Barbers are a great example. They talk to a wide variety of people all day long, and you know that sometimes real estate is bound to come up in the conversation.

In fact, one of our customers has received three referrals so far from his barber worth about $1.4 million in business.

Other influencers you might want to connect with include doctors, teachers and manicurists, just to name a few. Think about the people with whom you typically have conversations and form your own list of local influencers to target.

Just like with your client relationships, it takes a little time and effort to build trust and rapport with these connections. But it’s well worth it when it starts paying off in new business.

Sean Kirby is copywriter for ReminderMedia, a relationship marketing company that helps businesses solidify their key relationships and generate repeat and referral clients. Follow them on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

Email Sean Kirby.

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