Attracting new referral partners is an effective way to open up a new revenue stream for your business. But not all partners are interested in the same perks. Some prefer financial rewards while others may find cross-promotional marketing more valuable. A potential partner’s business model, industry and clientele can offer you some clues about the best type of referral program to run for your partners.
1. Revenue Sharing
It sometimes makes sense to provide a referral partner with a share of the revenue from new clients they send your way. You then must decide whether to share a portion of the revenue on an ongoing basis or a percentage of the first transaction of a referred client. Best to keep in mind what makes sense for your business model weighed against what will attract a new referral partner.
2. Preferred Pricing
Regulatory restrictions limit the appeal of commission for certain industries such as legal, business broking, medical and finance. A more attractive benefit may be to offer their clients ‘preferred pricing’. That is, clients who use the services of a referral partner will receive a discounted service offering.
3. Charitable Donations
Offer your prospective referral partners the option to donate their share of the revenue to a charity or cause that aligns with your partners’ business philosophies.
4. Website Backlinks
A comprehensive search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy will aim for a number of high-quality and contextually relevant backlinks to a business’ website. So, it’s not uncommon to dedicate a portion of their marketing spend specifically for this purpose.
If your site receives significant traffic and links to another business’ home or landing page, it can help boost their site authority and improve its ranking. Consequently, leading to more traffic and leads.
5. Content Sharing
You may choose to exchange content with a referral partner and share across each other’s social media channels. It’s important that the content you share still adds value to your client base and serves an informative function rather than sales one.
6. Events and Networking
If you are running events and a referral partner has expertise on a particular topic, you could invite them to speak on a panel. Doing so will provide your referral partner with networking opportunities and showcase their industry insights. You could also ask your partner to invite their clients if they think it would be valuable.
7. Dedicated Relationship Manager
Not knowing who to contact in the business when they need a quote can be frustrating for a partner. A dedicated relationship manager ensures a better overall experience for the clients your partner is referring across. It also streamlines the entire process and adds value to the partnership.
8. White Labelling
Offering white-label solutions to partners in the same industry is another way to secure referral work. This may be a suitable option where your business offers a more specialised service compared to your potential partner. You should have a contract drafted in situations where work is outsourced that sets out the role and responsibilities of each partner.
9. Direct Referrals
Although direct referrals may not always suit your industry or business model, it’s an effective way to build a working relationship with a new partner provided clients on both sides receive excellent service.
10. Soft Introductions
Think about whether there is anyone in your network who your partner would benefit from a warm introduction. A word of warning – use your network wisely! The last thing you want is to burn a bridge by making unwarranted introductions that could jeopardise the existing relationships you worked hard to build.
Think I’ve missed something? What are your tips for attracting referral partners? Let me know your thoughts on LegalVision’s Twitter page.