How to Develop Reciprocal Referral Relationships -- A Two-Step Process

If you're looking to grow you business faster, start by looking for opportunities to build referral partner relationships. I consider this "networking on steroids". After all, wouldn't you love it if you started to get referrals coming your way... every week!
Yes, we all would. I encourage my clients to take networking to a new level by focusing their efforts on finding and developing referral relationships. Even though we'd all love to walk out of a networking event with a hot prospect, its short-sighted if we miss out on building referral opportunities.
Referral partners can quickly help you to increase your business -- while you help them increase theirs.  There are several types of referral partner relationships, and the most typical and obvious is the reciprocal type.  Read on to discover how it works and where to find it.
Step 1 - Identify
A reciprocal referral partner relationship is when you both have the same target customer and you can easily refer customers back and forth to each other. Often you'll have complimentary services that are a close fit. You might even share some of the same suppliers. 
But where can you find these people?  Look at your ideal or target customer and figure out what other services or products they buy that align with your own products or services.  
For example, a computer network installer could easily collect referrals from a moving company, a commercial property manager, or even a security systems salesperson.  These are all people who would likely know of someone who's moving and could use the computer network installer's services. 
Here is another common example to think about: a mortgage broker, a lawyer, a realtor, and a home stager all go together because anyone who sells a house will definitely need a mortgage broker, a realtor, and a lawyer.  And if they want to sell their home faster and for more money, they could also use a home stager.
That foursome works well together. But it doesn't have to end there.  A moving company, a yard clean-up company, and even an organizing specialist might be able to fit in as well. They all work with people who want to sell their house, and so they could make ideal reciprocal referral partners for each other.
Spend some time thinking about your target customer and what other services they might use. Start by making a list of aligning industries or services and products that your target customers regularly purchase. Don't be shy about thinking out of the box - for example: a life insurance salesperson can be a great reciprocal partner to a fitness trainer or health coach. 
Step 2 - Approach
Once you've identified some aligning industries begin networking to meet people in these industries. If you're not sure who to approach, simply ask your customers for an introduction or at networking events ask for introductions or referrals to people in these positions and companies.  
Once you have an introduction, set up a meeting to explore each other services. You want to ensure they have the:
  • The mindset for reciprocating 
  • The opportunity to come into contact with good prospects for you (& you for them) 
  • The same professional level of quality standards you have
And finally remember, that like any relationship.... It takes time and consistent contact to develop.  So get started! You'll be thrilled when referrals start coming your way.