How to Build a Referral Network

We’ve all heard the saying — the best sales leads generally come from a referral. As an entrepreneurial business, building a referral network is a critical sales activity for our team. Our company is relatively new, and we do not have the brand recognition or case studies that a firm with 10–20 years of experience has.

The more important truth is that a young business needs to build trust before signing a new customer. Certainly, you’ve heard the statement — no one gets fired for hiring IBM. This is because IBM is a proven and established brand. The trust factor has already been created.

For those of us who don’t work at a company where the brand immediately instills trust, we must find other ways to build credibility. This is why our referral network is so important.

Of the first 20 customers for our business, 15 of them came from personal introductions and referrals. These were entrepreneurs and businesses who took a risk to work with our company. I’m convinced the only reason these customers agreed to meet us was because of the referral.

If you think building a referral network can help your business, here are the tips we’ve used to create ours…

Do great work — No one will refer business if your work is not worth referring.

Find the right partners — Seek out other service providers who provide ancillary services to your offering.

Take the first step — Your best bet to find referral partners is to be the first to send a referral.

Target customer — Be able to clearly define and articulate your target customer.

Communicate — Share updates with your referral partners about how a deal is progressing.

Stay top of mind — Stay in touch with your best referral partners. Talk about your latest projects and ideal client targets.

Say thank you — Find a good way to compensate a referral partner for a closed deal.

Overall, creating a referral network is a great way to generate leads for your business. It takes time to find the right partners, but the end result is a win for everyone.