Business alliances are valuable bridges that can be used to reach new customer audiences. These alliances are typically like-minded businesses that serve the same audience demographic but offer separate, complimentary non-competing services or products.
A business, recognizing the importance of nurturing existing client relationships, typically develops a firm foundation of client trust. These clients need other services. With a business referral network, not only does your business benefit from the added exposure offered through this network, but your clients benefit as you are providing an important service to them as well.
By giving your customers access to preferred vendors who may offer value added discount incentives, you are saving your clients time and money, and what could be more valuable to them than that?
Certain professions in particular have a responsibility to recommend other professionals to their clients. A dentist, for example, even the best dentist, doesn’t make it a practice to perform oral surgery, that’s reserved for the oral surgeon. So it makes perfect sense that the dentist would recommend a qualified oral surgeon to his or her patient when the need arises. Similarly, a general practitioner wouldn’t think of performing brain surgery or offer cancer treatment to his valued patients.
Many doctors refer other specialized doctors based upon the needs of their patients and this is an extremely common and necessary practice in the medical field.
But the medical field is not the only industry that benefits from developing proactive B2B referral relationships. Some other businesses that benefit from this type of synergistic relationship may include:
· a realtor offering a recommendation to a mortgage broker
· a website designer referring a website hosting company
· a restaurant referring a florist’s valentine promotion
· a home builder recommending a landscaper
· a plastic surgeon suggesting a cosmetic dentist
· a hotel wedding coordinator referring a DJ or musician
· a financial planner recommending an insurance agent
Your recommendation to a trusted alliance business partner is greatly appreciated by your customers. Most everyone appreciates even the smallest comfort level offered through a referral, especially when searching for important service providers. Letting your fingers do the walking through miles and miles of advertisers in the yellow pages is a scary proposition when you need a new home loan or a plumber to fix a serious leak.
When considering an important decision like who to call for medical care, home repair, personal services etc…choosing a service provider from an advertisement is really no better than a crap shoot. At least a referral, even one that comes from a 2nd or 3rd tier source, is better than no recommendation at all.
There are two major benefits associated with referring pre-qualified associate partners
1. You offer a service to your valued customers by helping supply a need
2. You get more business as your partners reciprocate the favor and recommend you to their customers.
The latter is called cross promoting. Cross-promotional strategies allow your business to have access to a warm market that could never be reached any other way.
Email offers a simple, cost effective way to facilitate the process of referring and getting referred. Not only does email make it easier to introduce your clients to your referral partners and vice versa, but with the right tools you can also measure and track the success.
This referral growth success is realized through your own customer base as well as the customer base offered through your alliance business partners. By piggybacking on mutually beneficial business relationships, your exposure increases while your ad spend decreases. The more referrals you get, the less you have to advertise.
Aligning yourself with synergistic qualified business professionals is a win-win scenario, not only for you and your referral partners, but for your valued customers as well.
Diana DItri is the Exec VP of Ravebiz, a leading referral marketing and technology company. Shes a key driving force behind educating clients on how to generate more quality referred customers through practical applications and an automated, web based system called the Rave APG eReferral.
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