Has anyone ever done a "client swap" or referral exchange?
I'm interested in doing a "client swap" or referral exchange with another professional in business development. I'd like the opportunity to make my network aware of what they have to offer and have them do the same for me. Does anyone have any experience and advice around this?
That is an interesting creative idea. Watch out for confidentiality issues. Legal issues. Sharing one or two should be over lunch or coffee. That's a test. You don't need to do an entire exchange or dump.
It's when you use the word "exchange" and the actual exchange or act that there are many more concerns.
It is done but be sure it works for both parties. You really need to think about all of the concerns with a "partner," since you are partnering with the lists. You want the same or "people," in the nine P's of marketing. From my first line: It's only creative if it sells or works. Start by trying under the right situations
Hope that helps as a start. All the best.
I engage wtih several partners. I look for partners who are targeting the same industry segments and the same functional departments but who would not be competitors. For example, I provide change leadership, leadership development and sales and service training. One of my industry targets is large call centers. So I tend to partner with firms who serve the technoology needs of those same clients. We are frequently tallking to the same decision makers but not conpeteing in each others space.
We always sign non-disclosure agreements and we negotiate up front revenue or profit sharing agreements. And we always base shared compensation on collected revenue rather than billed or contracted revenue.
Just be sure that your clients are OK with being contacted by others as there is nothing worse than doing this and getting a negative reaction from loyal clients. You need to find the right person to do this with, be careful.
The only suggestion is that you have everything in writing before ny referrals are put on the table. Don't start 'negotiating' once there is a possibility. Networking is essential to any service business. However, when two consultants, who have not worked together on a project, are both invited into a firm to work together, one usually feels the other is taking centre stage and conflict and / or bad feelings shortly follow. So whatever the situation have everything you can think of worked out in writing before anything might happen. Referral fees vary from 5% to 20%.
The term "swap" sounds bad.
Although I might refer a client to another service etc., I would never create access to a client in exchange for access to a prospect - just doesn't sound like a good idea.
Yes, I have. I started referrng all my piano students to my piano tuner. After a bit of convincing, he refeerred some tuning clients come to me for lessons. It was our customers who contacted us, not vice versa. It worked out quite well. We even got married. Everyone was happy (until the divorce!) .
There are referral networking sites out there, as well as B2B sites. I myself offer B2B on my site for my clients as part of the services I offer. The main thing you should focus on, is that your referral should be something of a service that is mutually beneficial. A lot of times these things can be one sided. Make sure youre playing matchmaker correctly.
Hi Ed, an example of this on LinkedIn would be through making introductions to your own network/clients on behalf of the other participating party to people of their professional interest and the same would be reciprocated.
Thanks for the clarification Tyrone. Here's something I do. Once I get to know a person (and they me), I ask if they would be my ambassador. By “know” I mean having the opportunity to 1) understand clearly what each of us does and what each of us is seeking and 2) develop a sense of trust and confidence in each other. While we may not provide services for each other we have developed a camaraderie that supports, at a minimum, being able to vouch for each other’s character.
I ask the ambassador to keep me in mind as they meet and interact with people. I provide them details about “red flags” that a person may display that indicates they may benefit from my services. If the flags are displayed I ask that they suggest “you may like to contact Ed…”.
The arrangement is reciprocal and no monetary incentive is offered.
Hello, I actually work Channel Partner Agreements with those that have natural opportunities that can be shared and benefited from.
I think I understand what you are saying when you are speaking of client swaps. I have worked with several clients where we exchanged contacts of clients we are or have been working with to grow business for each company. It has its pros if the company you are working with does not do the same business as you. The only downside I have had is if the company you are partnering with does the same business as you, you take the risk of loosing the client if they offer "better service or lower fees". In my opinion and experience in this its always good to have some type of agreement in place that prevents that from happening.
Tyrone, please update your post to tell a little about what you have to offer the reader