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Getting referrals from people you don't know

By Mike Wheatley | July 16, 2015

A new report shows that concentrating solely on past customers might not be the best way to generate referrals. Hinge, a marketing and branding firm based in Reston, Va., reached out to 500 professional services firms, to create its research report, Referral Marketing for Professional Services Firms.


The most startling finding is the report shows that more than 80 percent of respondents have received a referral from someone who wasn’t a former client.

“This suggests that truly effective referral marketing needs to include strategies for generating referrals from both clients and non-clients,” writes Lee W. Frederiksen, a managing partner at Hinge, in the Smart Blog on Social Media. “Rather than simply relying on current clients to provide the bulk of your referrals, your firm can use your brand to get referrals based on your reputation and expertise.”

Frederiksen divided these contacts into two camps: expertise-based referrals (when others are aware—through social media, conferences, or news/media mentions—of your specialty in solving a particular problem) and reputation-based referrals (those who may know someone who has worked with your firm or have simply heard about your reputation in your community or industry).

So how can you tap into this pool of potential clients? Frederiksen had a few suggestions:

  1. Understand your target audiences. “By understanding your audiences’ challenges and priorities, you’ll be able to better connect with them.”
  2. Develop a strategy. Figure out how to “increase your firm’s visibility and further improve your reputation in your industry.”
  3. Demonstrate your expertise. “These marketing efforts might include speaking engagements, blog posts and articles, e-mail marketing, or writing the go-to book in your industry niche.”
  4. Build your professional network. “Utilize social media networks — especially LinkedIn — to connect with other leaders in your industry.”
  5. Expand your visibility. “Make your website more visible on search engines and showcase your expertise across the platforms that your audiences are on.”
Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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