Building Referrals: How Strong are Your Referral Partners?

So, you build your business on referrals, eh? Then, wouldn’t it make sense to deepen those relationships for a much bigger win/win partnership?

When we ask where a company gets referrals, often we hear that they come both from clients and third-party referral partners. That’s great! Both are great sources of referrals. So here’s a question….when you think about strengthening those relationships for more or better referrals, will you deploy the same strategy for both?

Truth is, you shouldn’t. Each needs a different strategy. For clients, start with robust client service. When your clients are treated well and love their experience, they’ll make better referrers.

For third-party alliances, set clear expectations, create an open dialogue partnership, and be realistic about the depth of the partnership.

For now, let’s tackle third-party referral partnerships. We call these Channel Partners, because you both act as a channel to each other’s client bases. Don’t assume that just because you have alliances, all the work is done and you can just sit back, relax, and watch the referrals trickle in.

Like all good, long-term friendships, a Channel Partnership requires attention. Some friendships are mere acquaintances, very friendly and you’ll say ‘Hi’ when you see them. Some, however, are deeply connected, very trusted relationships where you both feel comfortable to be open, honest, and available. Friendships can run the spectrum of depth, and so do Channel Partners.

Here’s a quick guide to begin determining how deep your Channel Partner relationships run. If it’s not as strong as you’d like, there’s a simple 4-step process you can take to create more depth and get more intentional with them.

Take an honest look at the referral relationships you’ve got in your circle and determine where they fall on this pyramid. Keep in mind, you only need a few at Level 1 (Pre-sold) to build a long-term future pipeline of ideal clients. These take a bit of attention and focus to develop, so it’s not for everyone. These are the ones you’ll spend your best time with.

Level 1 (Pre-Sold) Channel Partners are those that…
• know exactly who your ideal clients are
• know to recognize when someone needs your services
• know how to introduce you and tee you up
• are open to feedback to improve their referrals to you
• can do all of the above so well, that when their clients call you, they are practically pre-sold

Want to know the 4-Step process for developing strong Channel Partners? Join one of our B2B Connect Advisory Peer Groups and work with other B2B service providers in developing your Level 1 Channel Partners. Or check our site for webinars and local networking specifically aimed at B2B networking and workshops.

Why work to get just one sale today, when you can create a 10-year pipeline of future ideal clients with just one Level 1 Channel Partner? Set a goal to deepen these partnerships and get more intentional and pro-active with each other. Your future business success will thank you.

For more information, contact Think BIG! Program, 512-686-3600.

The Power of Local Returns

We are so excited to present the 2020 Power of Local, a half-day workshop for local business. The Power of Local is a half-day event to connect with others, learn how to build your business using the power of local and come together as a community to share ideas. Local business contributes to and defines our local culture. But what is the best way to embrace this as a tool for your business? Find out at this workshop! It’s fun. It’s informative. It’s beneficial to you and your business.

When: February 20, 9am to 1pm
Location:  ACC Eastview Campus, Room 8500
Cost: $49
 (includes all day admission, coffee and pastries and lunch from local restaurants)
The day consists of two presentations, one workshop and a luncheon featuring keynote speaker Derek Peebles, Director of the American Independent Business Alliance. Short breaks will follow each session to allow attendees to speak to the presenters individually.

9:00  Welcome

9:15  Community Conversation: The Power of Leadership with Bobby Jenkins, ABC Home & Commercial
The power of local is the power of roots, relationships and a real commitment to the community. This is one family’s story of engaging employees and the community through leadership and building a company that is an inspiration to all.

10:00  Community Conversation: The Power of Good
What are the benefits of engaging in social good? It helps the community but how does it help your business? Customers are increasingly making purchasing choices not just on your products, services and prices but on what you support. Can your support of causes you believe in boost your business? Panel discussion of four local businesses who practice the power of good. Panel Speakers: Kendall Antonelli, President and Co-Founder, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Hill Abell, Co-Founder, Bicycle Sport Shop, Karen Kovalovich, Ownership & Outreach Coordinator, Wheatsville Food Coop, Erin Portman, Co-Founder, Birds Barbershop and Verb Products.

10:45  Community Conversation: The Power of Connection
The most important thing for you and your business is connectivity, both with the local community and with customers and clients. As a group, we will enter into a fun moderated connectivity event based on HAVE•NEED•WANT. What do you have to offer other businesses in attendance? What does your business need that others can provide? What connections do you want to make atThe Power of Local? Moderator: Rebecca Melancon, Executive Director, Austin Independent Business Alliance

11:30  Lunch

Attendees will enjoy a buffet lunch from Wheatsville Co-opPasta & Co and Pok-e-Jo’s.

12:00  Lunch and Keynote Address
Derek Peebles, Director of the American Independent Business Alliance. As the new director of AMIBA, Derek is charting a new course for the Buy Local Movement in America. He is also the founder of Neighborhood Grow, an organization that leverages social capital, private capital, and technical expertise for sustainable neighborhood development and increased civic participation. Until accepting his current position at AMIBA, Derek was director of the Economics of Compassion Initiative, a step to support a sustainable and resilient economy for all citizens.

Sponsored by:

AIBA Membership Survey Results

AIBA conducted our annual membership survey in November and the results are in (read the entire survey here.) Thank you to everyone who took the time to take the survey. We take your answers seriously and use the survey to guide us in the coming year. We also have three award winners drawn from survey participants. Sisters & Brothers, Inc won an additional year of membership, Body Business won a membership upgrade and Texas Ponds & Water won a $50 Gift card to Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill. Congratulations to our winners but we must admit, AIBA is the real winner for having such great members who so generously gave us their time.

The survey proved amazing support for AIBA and all our activities. According to your answers, we are definitely on the right track in providing the resources you need. We appreciate the ‘kuddos’ and ‘good job’ responses. These make us feel fabulous (I secretly read them when I’m still working at 2am) but it’s the constructive criticism that makes us a better organization for you.

Highlights from the survey show that:
79% think that AIBA’s marketing members on social media is valuable (up from 58% last year).
69% have utilized other AIBA members for their business needs. Way to go buying local yourselves!
69% also said they had made valuable connections at an AIBA event and 67% think AIBA events are important or crucial. This shows members are really benefiting from the AIBA Community.
60% said their business has benefited from information received from AIBA (up from 52%b last year).
97% would recommend membership in AIBA to another business. Go ahead a recommend us!

And advocacy is important:
88% say AIBA’s Advocacy is important to crucial.
87% are satisfied with AIBA’s advocacy or want us be more Vocal for Local.
60% say our advocacy has benefited their business (up from 54% last year).
51% are dissatisfied with city council.
87% volunteered to be active in our new advocacy program.

There’s always room for improvement and members made the following suggestions:
Members want more promotion of services and B to B businesses. We’re on it.
Sometimes the sound could be better at restaurant events. We’re looking into obtaining a small portable sound system (any member who can help with this?)
You’re looking for more information on business regulations and local opportunities to grow your business. Watch for the new AIBA HUB coming soon where you’ll find all the latest info.
More events in North Austin—help us find great locations and we’re on it.

There is a wealth of information in the survey that we will be acting on throughout the year. Thank you respondents for all your guidance.

Local Biz Camp Nov. 20

Local Biz Camp is a half-day workshop that will help you grow you business or nonprofit with practical advice on market ing, tech tool management, and more. World-class speakers with real-world experience will share free and very low cost tips and strategies. It’ a fast-paced event with lots of helpful information you can put to good use right out of the gate.
Wednesday, Nov. 20TH, 12:30-4PM
Texas State SBDC
1555 University Blvd., Lecture Hall, Room 256
Round Rock, TX 78665
Tickets $40 AIBA Members use promo code AIBA to save $10

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Development Services Department 4th Quarterly Stakeholder’s Meeting

For Commercial & Residential Building Plan Review and Inspections

The City of Austin’s Development Services Department would like to invite you to attend the fourth and final quarterly Building Plan Review and Inspections Stakeholder Meeting of 2019, on Tuesday, November 19th from 1:30-3:30 p.m.  The November 19th meeting will combine updates from Commercial and Residential plan review, inspection teams, and partnering departments. Topics will include updates on:

  • Staffing and organizational changes
  • Process improvements
  • Performance updates
  • Current initiatives

Seats are limited, so we encourage you to register soon.

If you have any questions or suggested topics for discussion at future meetings, please email Emlyn Lee.

November 19, 2019, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
One Texas Center, 3rd Floor, Room 325
RSVP: Register Now