Work with an accounting firm for any length of time in marketing and
notice how often when the subject of consciously building up a
referral network many partners roll their eyes. Complaints range from,
not feeling comfortable “soliciting” business from someone else,
getting the referral to follow through with their promise to send
business over and keeping track of who had sent more business to whom.
are a few thoughts that may make this process easier, more painless and
forget about who has been sending business to whom. Just like in a lot
of relationships there are times when one partner gives more while the
other one takes. Chances are things are going to even themselves out
given enough time.
that referral recommendation is a two-way street. Too many times I’ve
heard partners say things like “We never get business from banks.”
Therefore, they don’t want to bend over backward to network with
important players in banks. Meanwhile the partners aren't sending any
business themselves and everyone is caught in the catch-22 of who is
going to make the first move.
the easiest way to foster a referral relationship is to be the one to
make the first move. If you send business over first, you’ll be
accomplishing several things. First, you’re letting the other person
know you’re serious about developing a referral relationship. Second,
you’re getting in front of them without having to make a
“solicitation” phone call. You have also presented yourself with a
great opportunity to make the introductory call for the client you’re
sending over, or just follow up to see how things went.
careful of missing the forest for the trees. You may have a relationship
with someone who isn’t sending you clients directly, but is
introducing you to people who are a good source of business. Don’t
discount this relationship or neglect fostering it just because the goal
isn’t directly being met.
there are several ways of developing the referral relationship, and the
best way to make sure it’s successful is being a leader in setting the
tone instead of waiting for business to walk through your door.