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a waitlist? as if! (no but really)
now accepting clients for july 2020

get on the waitlist!

Complementary Businesses and Referrals

April 2, 2020

Creating Business Relationships and The Power of Referrals 


Let’s face it, we can’t specialize in everything (we wish we could, but that’s not how the world works apparently). That being said, we pride ourselves on being able to focus on the services that we are great at and fully enjoy providing the best customer experience possible. And we hope that providing the best experience and product possible will result in some amazing referrals! (More on this later).

Unfortunately, businesses are weary to partner up with other businesses due to fear of competing or losing out. It’s like that one person in a group project who hates being there because they’re afraid of not getting a 100 because everyone else has their own ideas and ways of working. Like being in a group project, businesses need to learn how to work well together because when that happens, everyone shines. So realistically, when you strategically align your business with a complementary business, you are adding value to your business and your customer base.

One of the reasons we love the idea of complementary businesses is because of the benefits they reap. Specifically, the number of referrals you can get from a great partnership. Referrals are one of the best ways to generate leads, and they also improve your customer base, therefore making you look more beneficial to other companies in terms of them wanting to collaborate or partner up with you in the future.

Many types of businesses can benefit from this, especially if you’re in the restaurant, hospitality, health and wellness, tourism, or real estate industry. These industries work well because they tend to have a lot of customer to employee, person to person interaction that can leave a long-lasting impression on a customer and ultimately encourage them to give a referral.  But don’t listen to us- listen to the stats about referral marketing:

  • 60% of marketers say that referrals generate a high volume of leads
  • 78% of marketers in the B2B industry say that referral programs or referrals generate excellent needs
  • Marketers, in general, generate the 2nd highest source of quality leads. 


The key to a complementary relationship is offering value to both your customers and your partners. Both parties involved should gain from the experience. Symbiosis, if you will. By having this complementary relationship, you gain access to their network because now, they’re helping promote your business or services and vice versa. This is generating new exposure in a different target market for you that becomes very beneficial. So, what’s one way you can achieve this?

Taking it back to referrals and referral programs, certain tactics work better than others in terms of trying to get that golden answer of “yea, I do know someone I can send your way!” It’s really fairly simple as well. An obvious way is offering an email template of referring someone via email or phone number directly after a sale. The key here, according to Forbes, is right after the sale is made, when your customer is very excited about the purchase or product they just received. And offer rewards for referrals to encourage getting as many leads out of them as possible! Discounts, special offers, exclusive products, entry for a raffle- anything that is enticing enough to make your customer want to forward a referral to his Joe-Next-Door. 


So after you generate leads from referrals, how do you know which business is the best to work with?

In a perfect world, there would be a Bumble or Tinder or Hinge for finding the perfect business match to start working with- (*cough* LinkedIn are you listening *cough*) but because there isn’t, we’ve provided a handy checklist of things to think about when searching for “the perfect match”: 

  • Do they have positive client reviews?

  • What do those reviews say about their work style? The type of business they work well with or don’t?
  • Do you like their work? Would you be proud of showcasing it as your own?

  • Are their brand mission/values symbiotic with yours? 

  • Are they a local business? Where are they located?

  • How could their services provide value to your customers?

  • What are their price points? Do they align with your customers’ average budget?

  • If the price point is higher, are they willing to offer discounts? Special services or products that offer value to the customer in relation to your products/services, but also provide an introduction to their brand at a better price point?


Once you’ve run through all these boxes, you’re hopefully on the right track to finding a new, happy collab. If you’re interested more in how to find the right business, we wrote a blog on finding the right marketing company, but some of the same points still apply when just trying to find a compatible partner in general.

So, what are some great examples of collaborations that can lead to even better referrals? Say you’re a graphic design brand or business but you don’t specialize in social media in any way, but you do creative work for a lot of marketing firm’s clients. You and the marketing firm have a great collaboration, that they are referring their clients to you and your work for the social media channels. Boom, you got leads or interested customers. 

Another example is you’re a coffee bean roaster and you sell to one coffee shop, and your coffee sells well enough that they refer your product to another local coffee shop, and then they buy from you! We could go on with a million other examples, but the point is, finding a business that you work well with and both benefit from, can benefit you even more with the power of referrals. We hope you take our advice and happy business partner hunting! (Oh, and make sure to refer a friend to this blog 😉 ).

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