Developing Strategic Partners

By Tony Hoty

Referrals are widely accepted as the best type of lead anyone could receive or generate in virtually any industry. Yet despite this fact, very few companies have multiple channels in place to make certain that referrals are being generated on a regular basis. They seem to have a huge misconception that referrals just happen as the result of doing a good job for someone or being in business for a long period of time. This could not be further from the truth! You can take measures that will stimulate referrals in a major way!

An incredible opportunity for your Home Improvement Company is to develop relationships with strategic referral partners that can provide your company with a consistent flow of referral business.  This is a very real opportunity that is highly under-utilized within the home remodeling industry.

The concept is simple. First, carefully craft a list of home service organizations in your area that serve the exact same demographic that you do but do not compete with you in the same category. For example, if you happen to be in the roofing business, a company that installs flooring in your market does not compete with you. However, they do share the exact same target audience that you do - homeowners with old houses in need of updates, improvements or remodeling.

If you stop, think, and spend some time crafting your list, you will be shocked at how many companies exist that conduct business in your market yet do not directly compete with you in anyway. You will likely be able to make a long list of dozens upon dozens of companies who could potentially be excellent sources of referral business, if they knew you, liked you, and trusted you.

Once you have carefully assembled this list of local companies that share your same target audience but do not compete with you, it will be time to narrow the list by focusing on the very best companies on the list. Refine the list to only the twelve most desirable companies. This may be based on their size, reputation, time in business or other factors that would make them an ideal strategic partner.

Now that you have identified that dynamic dozen, you will want to start making in-person visits to their places of business just as you visit your own customers on installation day. Bring an in-expensive gift. Include some company gift cards that they can pass along to their customers that might need your products or service. Be transparent about your desire to develop a long-term referral partnership.

Now that you have made this initial connection, the key factor to making it work will be consistency. Stop by these select businesses regularly, once or twice each month, to remind them that you are a reliable and credible person worthy of their referrals. Do your best to bring them referrals whenever the opportunity presents itself. Bring low-cost gifts like candy, food and other fun items that will make them want to reciprocate your efforts. Make top of mind awareness a priority among your desired referral partners! Do this, and what is commonly accepted as the best type of leads - referrals - will start to slowly but surely come in your direction!