Posted By Amanda Collins on October 25, 2010
If your business relies on how many clients you secure, it can be pretty stressful. No clients mean no money, right? For most of us, we find prospects through our websites, social media, or in-person networking. They provide us with the possibility of at least one closed sale – and more if those clients send referrals. However, what if you changed the way you found your prospects?
There are two ways to grow your client base: find more clients (aka bunnies) or find more referral partners (aka bunny farmers). Herding bunnies can be exhausting and time consuming, whereas finding some strategic bunny farmers can mean a pipeline that carries you through the down times.
When looking for your farmers, consider those who go after the same target market as you do but don’t compete. As a writer, I partner best with marketing strategists, Web designers, graphic designers, and business coaches. Even other writers with a different focus are great referral partners. All of these professions work with and know people in my target market. Remember that this is a two-way street: not only can they send me prospective clients, but I can send them prospects as well.
Once you’ve identified your farmers, you need to let them in on your plan. That may seem obvious, but there are some people who naturally share referrals and some who aren’t quite as familiar with the process. When I started this approach in my own business, I created a bit of a referral advisory board consisting of various professionals who share my target market. About 10 of us meet once monthly as a group, and we are encouraged to have one-on-one meetings in the interim. The other benefit of this partnership is that I have professionals on which to call when I have questions or need support in my business. My referrals have significantly increased because of this approach, and I feel as if I’m part of a team instead of going forward on my own.