Working with clients requires you to gain an understanding of their situation, which puts you in the perfect position to connect your clients with other people that might be able to help them.
This now makes you the referrer, and highlights to your clients that you are well connected and surrounded by professionals that deliver.
As the founding President of Synergize Hub; a co-working space for small business owners in Bendigo, being surrounded by business owners with aligned values was a key motivation for creating the space. As we understand what each other does, it is perfect for connecting people with a problem, to someone that can provide a solution.
The next step in referral etiquette is to close the loop.
Every time someone makes a referral: “You should give Clare Fountain a call as she would be perfect to make this happen,” they are taking a significant reputational risk. What happens if the new client has a poor experience? If this is the case, the referrer may feel responsible. I have noticed that regional communities can be fantastic for referring people as everyone knows everybody else, but where people are more conservative, reputational risk can be a major deterrent.
With permission from your new client, contact the referrer and give them an update on the results/outcomes that have been achieved. This will make them realise you are low risk and will hopefully provide them with the confidence to make more referrals. It also educates them more about what you do and how you work.
When I look at the source of new Sorted. clients, the most effective marketing tool for me is to catch up with my referrers for lunch and share with them the kind of outcomes I have been achieving with my clients. Obviously maintaining integrity and client confidentiality remains a priority in these conversations: “I facilitated a community group to create a clear long-term vision and a short-term 12-month action plan,” or, “I developed a community project business model for a government department,” are ways to share outcomes without breaking confidentiality. These conversations remove risk but also educate referrers about how my products/services could be a fit for the people they come into contact with. This is a win/win, win as they get to support their clients, the clients get great solutions and I get to do what I love!
Say thank you, deliver results and keep in touch with your referrers.