Structured programmes for Referrer Relationships

At a recent referrer management course we talked about categorising and prioritising referrers and intermediaries according to the strength and value of the relationship. Marketing and business development teams might develop indicative programmes to show the appropriate relationship management and collaborative marketing activities depending on the stage of the relationship. Structured programmes for referrer relationships mean that resources are focused where they are most effective.

Some firms use a simple bronze, silver and gold model to classify different types of referrer relationship. It makes sense to plan relationship development as it takes time to get to know about each other’s firms and people and whether there is likely to be a long- term, mutually valuable referral relationship. It takes time for people to develop the knowledge and trust that would support the referral of a client.

Of course, individual fee-earners will continue to create, develop and maintain their own referral relationships. But more structure might be required when fee-earners want to start involving members of the firm from other teams or offices or when they require support and resources from the marketing and business development team for joint events or social media campaigns.

An illustrative “menu” of activities depending on the nature or priority of the relationship might look something like this: 

Level 1 Referrer Relationship

  • Social media connections between members of each organisation
  • Addition of referrer organisation’s individuals to the firm’s CRM database to receive regular updates and mailings

Level 2 Referrer Relationship

  • Liking and sharing each other’s social media content
  • Exchanging of guest blogs and newsletter articles
  • Invitations to seminars and other networking events
  • Quarterly coffee catch ups

Level 3 Referrer Relationship

  • Detailed analysis of each other’s services and clients
  • Roundtables where six of your team meet six of their team
  • Mutual exchange of web links on relevant web site pages
  • Junior peer-to-peer networking events
  • Shadowing and short term secondment programmes
  • Specific client introductions

Level 4 Referrer Relationship

  • A planned programme of activities managed by a nominated relationship partner
  • Regular team meetings including both organisations
  • Internal communications programme
  • Co-branded conferences and seminars
  • Jointly develop new products and services
  • “Preferred” status

Other points of interest on referrer management

At the end of the session, the delegates identified the following most useful takeaways and actions:

Details of future one day “Developing More Work from Referrers & Intermediaries” courses

There is also a half day course for marketers and business development staff at Professional Marketing Forum