Referral marketing remains one of the most effective ways of generating high-quality B2B leads for many professional practices including financial services firms. However, despite its definite advantage over other marketing channels, it has stayed largely under-emphasized by many financial services providers. This avoidance is almost certainly due to a lack of clear ideas on how to create and implement an effective referral system. If you’re planning to design such a program yourself, here are some of the steps you need to take.
- Define your target referrals and sources. Financial services companies need to precisely identify their target prospects as well as decide which sources to tap into for referrals. Define the characteristics of ideal referrals before doing anything else. A good way to access great sources of referrals is to communicate with your existing customer base or warm market upfront or through other means like telemarketing or email campaigns.
- Include branding in your program. Branding strategies and tactics should also be a component in your referral program. Come up with a referral message that communicates the value that your financial services represent. Make sure that your message is easily understandable and reflects how you want your B2B leads or referrals to view your company.
- Set up incentive system. The key to a successful referral program is to develop a creative incentive scheme that really motivates your referral sources to keep the stream of B2B leads flowing. There are countless techniques to motivate your sources like discounts, refunds, cash payments, gift checks, etc. The main idea here is to reward your referral sources for the additional business they brought in.
- Closely communicate with your sources. Maintaining clear lines of communication between you and your referral sources throughout the campaign is vital for its success. At the start of your project, your referral sources should already be well aware about the campaign specifics. Your sources should also be provided clear communication channels to submit referral information and get updated on the progress of the B2B leads they delivered.
- Outline your referral conversion process. You should clearly identify the procedures to be followed in order to turn your B2B leads into clients. From appointment setting to lead nurturing and follow-up, you should know exactly how to manage the flow (or lack) of referrals from your sources. This process needs to be defined at the planning phase and modified accordingly during implementation if needed.