Referral Networking is a consistent and sure way of growing the customer base of small businesses. We will explore that option in today’s discussion.

Its been a while I wrote something on the SME Masterclass series. Very sorry for that. I have been preoccupied with a few client jobs. You know I got a family to cater for.

Ok, recapping where we left off. We were discussing about different ways of Marketing your small business. We are still on it and today, we are going to look at Referral Networking as a way of marketing small businesses.

A Referral Network is a group of related or complementary, but not competing people/businesses who have come together to promote each others business by referring customers to each other, thereby growing their client base . This marketing idea is based on the premise that word-of-mouth recommendation is very powerful. People tend to believe and depend on those they have successful done business with.

For instance, a business selling children’s dress may be in a referral network. Her customers obviously have children or know people that have kids. Now after selling to them, the business owner may refer the client to a member of their referral network who owns a nursery or primary school. The school proprietor will also do same to parents of their pupils. By doing this, they have generated more clients for themselves, while not competing against each other.

If you have found yourself saying things like, “we don’t do/sell that here, but Mr X does, here is his contact, and I recommend him” you are network marketing and you should be certain you get a referral in return.

They usually share their business cards, flyers and other forms of printed advertorial amongst each other.

How to Grow Your Business With Referral Networking

In order to get the full benefits of referral networking, participants have to know the following:

– Know your ideal customer: Some businesses when asked the ideal customer they want, they simply say “any one”. This is recipe for failure in referral networking. You need to understand your business and its ideal customer, then ask members of your network to only refer people that match your desire. What are their net worth? Is it necessary referring low income earners to you? There are many specifics you need to check. The more specific you are able to draw your desired customer, the better for your network members to refer the ideal customers to you.

– Be Active in Referring To Other members: In this world, what you give is what you get, well, mostly, lol. Naturally, people feel indebted to you when you do them good. Its this same principle that will make other referral network members feel they owe you a referral client when you refer one to them.

– Join Different Referral Networks: The more networks you join and are active in, will also reflect in the number of referral customers you get from others. Pump up the numbers.

– Use Technology To Boost Your Networking: In this world of mobile, its necessary you engage members of your network often. Sometimes, members may forget to refer to you because they have ‘forgotten about you’. Its good to always keep in touch. Its suggested you form online groups and also personal messaging is ideal.

– Ask For Referrals: Even as you suppose you are in a referral network, don’t fail to ask for referrals from fellow members from time to time.

– Over Deliver: By satisfying your customers and those refereed to you from your network members, you have set the system in motion for more referrals. Its that simple. Whenever they come across someone with similar challenge, your business immediately come to their mind.

Conclusively, Don’t pass the chance of growing your business with referral networking, and other business marketing strategies for that matter. Like I always advice, find out and implement the combination that best suits your business.

Are you having challenges managing (including marketing) your small business  I will like to assist you. Drop  a comment below and I will sure get back to you. Your business can do with any additional help, won’t it?

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