If you want to build clients who stay with you for a long time the best way is using referrals.  All other methods usually just produce too much noise and are ineffective because you are using a “shot-gun” approach – meaning, you secretly hope all your marketing efforts reach your ideal clients, and that none of your efforts are wasted.

A good referral partner, on the other hand, has both your interests in mind. His success is your success, and vice versa. Any effort which turns out successful for him, also works for you.

So how do you go about finding a good referral partner?

First, you need to find partners who have the right attitude – people who are as enthusiastic and resourceful as you are.

Here are a few great characteristics you must look for in order to develop the ideal referral partnership.

You want to find someone who feels referrals are important to building their business and is willing to invest “sweat equity” to make the relationship work. Find one who will be enthusiastic to put in the same amount of effort as you would. The worst type of partner is one who does not carry his share of the load.

You want to team up with someone who has a good product or service you feel comfortable referring to.  Then you work to find referrals for them. Imagine partnering with someone with a product that you yourself will dare not trust? This type of incompatibility will just be detrimental to any type of progress for you and your partner.

You want to find someone who belongs to several organisations, or is very involved in the community.  They have to have a lot of contacts to be able to find the kind of prospects you need.  Your attitude should be that you’re building a relationship to get referrals so you want someone who’s connected.

Find someone who has a proven track record for dependability and honesty. Being associated with someone who has poor work ethics and a crummy attitude is like ramming your delivery van right into a solid concrete wall – you end up injured, bruised, and maybe even dead. Same goes for your business – refer someone who will not live up to his promises, and you end up just as undependable in the eyes of your customers.

Look for an influential entrepreneur that has influence over other entrepreneurs. Referrals will not be taken seriously if the person referring is someone who has no credibility, connections, even the slightest bit of believability. Find a referral partner who may have established contacts, a proven track record, or better yet – someone clients will find easy to trust. This includes clout, appearance, manners and business acumen.

Search for someone consistent and persistent. Some partners you may find might be reliable only for a few weeks, and then falter and begin to show boredom, inconsistency and eventual complete stopping of making referrals in your favour.