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Home > How to figure out who would be a good referral/ideal client

How to figure out who would be a good referral/ideal client

This article has been written to help all those people in my network take the first steps in really making their Business Buzz Networking events successful. It’s focussed on people in the business to business sphere. The business to consumer version will follow soon!

The key is to know who the Buzz team and I can introduce you to, where they will instantly understand the value you can offer. Be aware, if you don’t already know your customers quite well, then you might need to pick up the phone and chat to them to find the answer to some of these questions.

It’s a difficult one, isn’t it? Of course, you can deal with ANYONE. But I can’t introduce you to EVERYONE and have them see the value in what you do.

So, here are some questions to ask yourself with explanations and tips. I’m really hoping they help and I’d love your feedback if they do. Message me on LinkedIn (or, even better, tag me in your post asking for introductions…)

Connect with Leigh Frost on LinkedIn

Who do you already deal with?

(If you’re a brand new business, with no customers at all yet, skip to the next question.)

The easiest way to find more customers is to look at the best customer you already have and find more of those. You can also find more introducers that would be able to pass you on to LOTS more customers.

If you didn’t know already, an introducer is someone who deals with similar customers to you, understands what you do and can refer you to more customers (and ideally you can refer them to yours). They’re sometimes called Strategic Partners or Strategic Alliances etc.

Get two sheets of paper and at the top of the first one, write the name of your favourite and best client. On the top of the second one write the name of your favourite introducer (if you already have one).

If you’re not sure who your best client is, take a look at your invoicing (having a cloud accounting system makes this much easier these days) and go through who has been spending the most money with you and try and pick someone that you really like working for.

Ideally, your favourite customer will:

  • Pay on time
  • Really value what you do
  • Be nice to work with
  • Not demand discounts
  • Not leave things until the last minute (unless they’re paying extra for the privilege)
  • And hopefully they’re someone who is open to giving you feedback to help with the next stages…

Thinking about these two named people, write down the answers to the questions below on the relevant sheet.

If you don’t know the answers to all these questions, that’s fine, but it could be a good excuse to call them up and ask if they would mind you finding out more information about them.

  • What do they do?
  • What does their business do (if it’s different)?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • Where do they spend most of their time?
  • Who are their customers?
  • What are their key motivators for buying from you?
    • To save money,
    • To save time,
    • To protect something,
    • For fun,
    • To improve something,
    • To help others,
    • For peach of mind,
    • Something else… (write down the details)

If you aren’t able to answer any of these questions, it could be that you could benefit from spending a little extra time chatting with your customers and getting to know them. It not only makes business more fun, it creates loyalty too!

New to business or diversifying your business? Start here.

When you’re first starting out, there’s a HUGE amount to learn. Understanding your market and your ideal clients can take a little time, but it’s really worth making the effort. Plus, just doing the work to find out who they are can actually be part of getting your first customers!

This section is all about market research which gives you the ability to find out the information you need to know in order to get your first customers. Start by thinking about who might be working with people who already need your services but who don’t clash or conflict with what you do.

For instance, for our web design side of Truesilver, I would look for companies that offer IT support, GDPR advice, virtual assistants and photographers. They often speak to people about their website, technical issues they might be having with it, the security they need on their website…

As another example, because I really like to get to know my customers, I often come across people who need help with HR, legal advice, graphic design, signage, business coaching and tax advice. Not only can I pass business to them, they all deal with business owners who are looking to grow or are having challenges in their business.

How do you add real value (that customers can instantly understand)?

Standing out from the crowd if you’re in a highly competitive industry is where you can make some real progress. If you’re in a niche industry, hopefully, that’ll help you with being quite different from everyone else, but then it comes down to developing the correct messaging.

One of the ways to stand out is to offer a service that others don’t that gives peace of mind. We offer pay-monthly complete website packages starting from £27 per month with no setup fees, no minimum contract and no hidden costs. Customers love it. And we receive lots of referrals because of the pay-monthly system we use.

Are you able to offer a service that instantly seems like a great offer (while also creating profitable sales)?

Alternatively, you can give something away. If you have plenty of time on your hands, then a free virtual or face-to-face session can be ideal. If not, then you might want to think about creating a free download of vital information (the keyword here is vital) that your customers know they need.

Some examples:

  • A free [enter something customers always need advice on] session
  • A free web strategy session
  • Free download: Top 10 tips to [enter the result that customers want]
  • Free download: Top 7 tips to boost your social media engagement
  • Free webinar: How to [enter the result that customers want]
  • Free webinar: How to network successfully

Aim to use these freebies to build up a list of people you can ethically market to later. That might be via email, social media or good old fashioned postal addresses. Make sure you’re complying with GDPR and if you’re not sure how to do that, contact us for a recommendation to a GDPR specialist.

Do you have case studies or success stories?

A great way to help customers understand how you can help them and introducers understand why you’re great to know is by sharing experiences.

TOP TIP: Always get written permission from the customer to share information about the service you gave them and offer to anonymise the information (so no one can tell who they are), especially if it could impact their reputation.

If you don’t have any success stories because your business is too new, then offering your service at a reduced rate or with added benefits in exchange for being able to feature them as a success story can give your new venture a big boost (as well as help you get that first customer)!

Ask your customer key questions such as:

  • How did they find out about your business?
  • What was the reason they needed you?
  • Why did they choose to work with you?
  • How did you help them?
  • If they were going to recommend you, what would they say?

That’s it!

Hopefully, you now have all the information you need to ask for referrals and introductions to your next best clients and/or someone who knows lots of your next best clients.

Complete this sentence:

My name is ___[name]__ from ___[company]_____, and I/we help
____[enter some of the information you found out about your best client]_______
by _________[enter how you added value]__________. I’d like to speak to people you know who are looking to _____[enter the buying motivation]______ and I offer ____[enter what makes you stand out]_____

If you’re a Business Buzz attendee and fancied sending me your completed sentence, I’ll be happy to see who I can refer you to.