Once you build a little trust with your clients they often come to rely upon you for more than the scope of your products or services. “I know you’re my accountant, but do you know anyone who can fix my garage door?”
Smart providers realize the power in this trust building advice and actively work to build and develop a network of referable products and services. Some people who practice strategy become so important as a resource to their clients they are virtually locked into a relationship.
There is a real estate agent I know who is so good at helping homeowners find great handymen and contractors that her clients don’t make a move without calling her first. (That’s how Angie’s List was created by the way.)
Some people are just naturally wired for this, but every business can tap into the power of a network. The key is go out there and proactively groom your network or resources. Find the “best of class” in a range of products and services that you know your clients may benefit from and send letters to each of these providers suggesting that you have clients that could utilize their services and that you would like to know the best way to refer them.
Do this aggressively and you will start to build up a network of superstars all for the benefit or your customers. And, a funny thing will happen on the way to building your network – you will begin to receive referrals from your new partners.
As always, the best way to get referrals is to give referrals.