Finding Referral Sources in Potential Competitors

Instead of losing business to tax preparers, payroll services and bankers, could you be forming strategic relationships to fully round out your client relationships?

Think about the last time you purchased or leased a new auto. Were you offered an auto insurance quote? How about your local bank? Chances are good that your local branch has an insurance arm, and a steep marketing budget to cross-sell insurance to clients. The fact is, as you do the hard work to attract new clients, you may want to develop a defense against the growing number of forces looking to lure your existing business elsewhere.

While you may not be in a position to build your book by adding tax preparation or other complementary services, there is potential opportunity in teaming up with them. Developing the right partnerships can help to build your client base and deter others from poaching your existing customers.

Be creative in finding synergies that work. Consider services, businesses and associations that are complementary and make sense. Auto dealers, mortgage brokers, financial planners, accounting firms, real estate agents, bankers, attorneys, and property managers all offer great partnership potential, as long as their reputation and values match your agency.

Key to this strategy is developing mutually beneficial relationships. This can be in the form of reciprocating referrals or if that is not possible, a referral fee or other means of providing value. Regardless of the arrangement, make sure both sides are clear on expectations and process, and that you share some sort of chemistry and business values. It won’t help your business if you refer clients to someone who does not share your standards of care.