12 August 2007

Be a supporter of other business associates

We all want other people to promote our businesses and to refer customers to us but do we reciprocate and recommend our supporters businesses to our clients? Doing this often takes conscious effort but after a while it becomes second nature.

Any kind of recommending or referral should be a two way street if possible. Be clear about which businesses you would like to support and promote them accordingly. It might be quite formal where you agree to distribute each others promotional material or do joint advertising or marketing campaigns or it might be a little more informal, when the opportunity arise you will promote your associates business by word of mouth to your customers.

I have found that the more support I give to other people’s businesses the more that I get back in return. I don’t do it for this reason, that’s just an added bonus. I genuinely want to see these people succeed in what they do and if I can play a small role by referring business I will do so very gladly.
I also encourage my staff to refer businesses where ever possible.

Just like asking your customers to tell their family and friends about what you do, imagine how many referrals will start coming your way if your business associates are doing the same thing. This really is the way of the future for building businesses – advertising is getting harder to make an impact and that means that it is getting more costly. Direct recommendations are perfect and they are free – the ideal marketing tool.

Think about the people who refer your business. Can you possibly be more active in promoting their businesses? Do it for the right reasons and enjoy the benefits. If you are not 100% sure what they actually do, ask them to come and tell you and your staff so that you are completely informed.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY? Make up a list of businesses that you would like to promote. Keep them close to the telephone, with their contact details and wherever possible refer your customers to your “partner” businesses. Try and do this once per day, every day of the coming week. After a little while it will become a habit.

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