When I ran 544 Productions Website Design I had clients in 10 different states. All of these clients were from word-of-mouth. As I’ve been working with clients of the Referral Institute I’ve found that businesses with nationwide clients feel that word-of-mouth can’t work for them. Here is what I’ve found that really works.
Growing your business to have clients in ten states follows the same methods that a business owner would follow if they wanted 10 clients in their neighborhood. The first step is to run a good business – provide a great product and superior customer service. The second step is to follow the same rules that apply for growing your business locally. Here are the rules I followed:
- Use word-of-mouth at home to grow your business. I lived in Ithaca and I had a few clients in Ithaca. I wanted more clients in and out of Ithaca – as my goal was to bring in business for Ithaca based graphic designers, writers, and programmers. I joined BNI and started to grow my business locally.
- Identify people that you already know that might make good referral sources. I choose BNI members that had the same target market as my web business (My Target Market was Business Owners).
- I also identified clients that were in professions that had nationwide counterparts (Educational Consultants, Massage Therapists).
- I developed strong relationships with these BNI members and these clients. I worked to educate them on what I liked to do for work, who I liked to work with, and that clients could be from anywhere in the United States.
- I worked to motivate these sources (from the 15 ways to motivate from Certified Networker) and they started to generate referrals for me.
- I worked with these referrals and turned the referrals I received into clients.