Getting referrals can make or break a business, and there are many ways to get them. Creating happy customers who want to refer you their friends and family is the bread and butter to any business. But for newer businesses who don’t have a large customer base, finding referral partners in a complementary business to your own, is a great way to jump start getting referrals.
The first step is to make a list of the most attractive local businesses who would be a good fit for your business. If you’re a holistic health coach, consider approaching local yoga and pilates studios, gyms, fitness centers, massage therapists, spas, alternative healers like Reiki practitioners, hypnotists, life coaches, acupuncturists, etc. Find some local health and wellness magazines and circle the ads of people you would like to approach. Make a list of 20 to 30 businesses to contact in the near future. It’s a numbers game, so the more people contact, the more people you will have in your network.
The next step is to reach out to everyone on your list in an organized and systematic way. Create a friendly email template that you can use over and over, yet personalized to each business. Your letter should be friendly and non-salesy. Compliment them in a way that shows you’ve done your homework and know something about their business. Also, share something about yourself and reveal what’s in it for them if you were to meet and share ideas.
Here’s a sample template:
How are you? I noticed your ad in Natural Awakenings and I saw on your website that you offer pilates classes. I am a local health counselor, and I would love to connect with you and possibly meet at your office or for coffee to discuss how we could be potential referral partners.
I’d like to offer a teleseminar soon for my clients about exercise they can do even though they have bad knees, backs, etc. I would love to chat more about this with you if you’d be interested in letting me interview you about pilates for the call and an upcoming article for my Examiner column.
If you’d like to contact me, please call or email me, etc.
Send these via email, which is the quickest way to connect. It’s difficult these days to get people on the phone. You can follow up with a repeat email a week or two later if you don’t hear back from them. People get busy and they forget to follow up.
Once you successfully connect with your dream referral partners, be sure to follow up with them after. Send a thank you note, not an email, to tell them how excited you are to team up in the future on the joint ventures you discussed.
Some referral partners will be more fruitful than others, so it’s important to have a wide variety of people in your network. Be sure to promote them as well by sharing their posts on Facebook, retweeting them on Twitter, and writing press releases about your upcoming joint events!