Many people can send business your way if you take the time to develop a relationship with them.
As a small business owner, you can have large business reach by setting up a network of referral partners or business alliance partners. This can be as formal or as informal as you wish – the main issue is that you keep track of these people and their companies. Contact them every month or two, and learn ways that you can add value for them. Find partners that complement your offerings. If you sell insurance, find a good lawyer, a business consultant, a CPA, and a realtor to be part of your team. My network consists of 75 trusted individuals and businesses.
When someone DOES refer you to another individual or business, send them a thank you note regardless of the outcome of the referral. Consider sending a small gift – and do it before you find out if you will be getting business from the referral — from an ethical standpoint, you’re rewarding others simply for the act of the referral, not offering them a kickback or referral fee. I’ve worked this way for many years and find it to be above reproach.
When I refer someone to a business, I have no idea whether that referral will become a client, but I would like the appreciation for having sent the prospect to a trusted referral partner.
Also, when someone refers me to do business with one of their alliance partners, I always remind the business I’m sent to that they should be sure and thank “so and so” for sending me to them. I want to live the example – so whether I’m referrer, referee, or prospect – it always works the same way.