Customer referrals are really great as a cost-effective way to gain new business and regain old customers. But how do you generate more referrals, higher quality referrals? And how can you squeeze more mileage out of the referrals that you have?

Educating your referral partners is a great prudent thing to practice. How will this simple step help you increase your referrals?

Your partners know what kind of customers to look for

Receiving the wrong kinds of referrals can spell problems. Sometimes it’s hard to turn clients away because they’ve been referred by a friend, colleague or client, even if the client isn’t the right fit for your practice. Let a referral source know if you can’t cater to a particular client, but whenever possible, provide the name of another person who might be able to fill the need. Use that opportunity to educate them about the kind of work you do and your ideal clients. These will help save time and energy on pursuing customers who may not be the proper for your business.

Create an education plan

The education of your referral sources will help them provide you with only highly aligned prospects. If your referral sources understand the uniqueness of your business and how that applies to the needs of their contacts and associates they be more likely and willing to send prospects your way. To accomplish this you need to establish an education plan for your customers and partners. The plan would include what information is important to the source and their potential referrals and also the method you’ll use to educate. That includes your web site, detailed information sharing and personal interactions. Do not leave this to a casual conversation unless you want infrequent or unqualified prospects. The more your referral sources know the more they’ll want to refer.

Educate the referral partner on what to say to the potential customer

Make sure your referral sources know exactly what kind of business you are seeking. Create an ‘elevator pitch’ that tells referral sources the kinds of clients you work with and what you can do for those clients. Describe the problems you solve for your clients and the symptoms clients with those problems will experience so that your referral sources can easily identify those potential clients who would be a good fit for your practice.A referral source who can speak about you from personal experience will carry much more weight with a potential client.

This also helps each party of the referral relationship to know what to expect from the partnership.

Make it clear exactly what you wish to gain from the partnership. Sometimes people are too embarrassed to relay their expectations. Ask referral sources for introductions to specific people, or to others like them who might have business to refer. Suggest that you’d love to work with others like them, and don’t’ be afraid to ask if they know anyone who might benefit from your services. Educating partners is more important than people realise. It helps eliminate waste of time and energy.