........And no, I'm not just talking about social media. Rather, I am talking about connecting with professionals and businesses that know the people who are your perfect clients. Sometimes, this will be online, but more often than not in a hyper-local world, this will be offline in the real world! Are you maximizing this opportunity?
In talking with agents, it's clear to me most are just scratching the surface of what could be a huge amount of referral business...the kind of business we all love to work!
What makes this work? Here are 4 steps:
1. Have a plan
2. Take consistent action
3. Give value to those you partner with
4. Give value to their clients
5. Give thanks for the referral
Sounds kinda like the basics of any good business plan, doesn't it? My guess is, though, that in the social partnering, you are doing some of this but not consistently and not with a goal and purpose in mind...rather that it is accidental rather than on purpose. Just think if you'd like for your business to be increased through purposeful action to create another 1-2 deals a month? If your answer is yes, let's look briefly at each of these steps.
Have a Plan
As part of your yearly business plan, you should have projections about where your business is going to come from this year. For instance, based on your previous results or on your restrategizing for 2010, do you expect 50% from past customers and referrals? 20% from the Internet? 10% from Open Houses? Hopefully you get the idea. I hope every year you are tracking your sources of business so you know what marketing is working, what isn't and where the trends are going.
Your Social PartneringTM part of this measures the number of referrals you get from the other business people you refer business to and create alliances with:
- How many referrals came your way from these people last year?
- What percentage of your business was it?
- How many people are in this group?
- a number that you want to increase that group to in 2010....who can you add that is interested in the same demographics, psychographics and lifestyle interests as your perfect client?
- A plan to regularly meet with these people to build your team
Take consistent action
If you are following where this is taking you, you'll realize doing it haphazardly will give you haphazard results. A plan that adds, say 1 a week, or even 1 a month with an initial meeting and the devising a game plan for that social partner and you is the only way to maximize the power of this concept!
Give value to those you partner with
Building your social capital is all about relationships. People like to do business (and refer business) to people they know, like and trust, and people who do business with them. According to statistics by www.socialnomics.net/video, 14% of consumers trust advertising and 86% trust recommendations by their friends. Friends in this case, extend to a trusted advisor in another part of their life: their accountant, favorite restaurant, masseuse....
If you wake up each day thinking about who you can give business to, and then go out of your way to connect people to each other, The Law of Reciprocity will kick in and they will be going out of their way (not doing it haphazardly or occasionally) to find people to refer to you!
Give value to their clients!
Together, there are many ways you and your new social partners can make it a win/win/win: you each will expand your reach and the consumer will get the benefit. A great example here would be a consumer who had a lifestyle that included liking to eat out. You could partner with a restaurant owner who would give you a coupon or discount for a free appetizer, or dessert or bottle of wine with a meal or buy one/get one free!
The consumer is happy, the restaurant has sold 2 more meals, has been introduced to some new customers - and you look like a hero.
Give thanks for the referral
I am great believer in thank you notes and have many stories about getting business because of them. Thanking and being grateful are part of what I have found makes my days more fun. Even if the referral doesn't turn into business, it is important to let the other person know that you appreciate the fact they trusted you to recommend you! And, if it does turn into business, remember to communicate along the way, so they are aware of your style and how well you took care of their referral.
Support to help you do this:
- I just did a webinar that takes this into a little more detail that will be available to listen to for free forthe rest of the month.
- My February Freebie, Joeann's Fabulous Fifty is also available through the end of the month to help you build that list to work on!
- A webinar series of 4 hour-long sessions is open for enrollment if you really want to jump in with coaching!
Times can be challenging right now! Finding others who are also growing their business can reduce your marketing costs and increase your referral business.... all good, it seems to me!
Have a Marvelous Week! It IS up to you!!!!!