This blog is also for any firm or individual that has clients and a client base, rather than customers. It follows on from our other blogs on Referral Marketing and from info on our main website . Referral Marketing is the best business development strategy there is for Service Providers…

A COI is ideally a client who knows your firm and at least one person in it very well and trusts and respects what you do and is confident enough to recommend you often and without hesitation.

The reason they are like this is a combination of their character – “they are just naturally like that”, and their social status or power status at work. COIs need to be identified within your client-base and treated very well for obvious reasons. More…

Other COI in the local area that are not yet clients need to be identified, researched and carefully approached. These could be heads of Chambers of Commerce, managers of large clubs, the Major, local MPs, council executives and other public sector leaders, managers of the biggest firms in the area, newspaper and magazine editors, heads of influential business groups or associations, etc. A brain storming session is needed to build a list then ascertain why a person would be useful to develop a relationship with, and how you go about it.

Ideally you want these COI as clients and to get regular referrals from them – at the very least they need to know all about your firm and services and see you in a favourable light.

If in the course of conversations with a client, it transpires that they need help with something or they need a contact, e.g. to help get planning permission, raise funds, gain support for a new venture or influence authority, etc – then it clearly comes in handy if you can whip out your black book of COI contacts and other connections that you can introduce. You will be highly appreciated and remembered for when it comes to asking for referrals or recommendations in return.

Alexander Bullivant www.roxbourne.com

See our other blogs on Referral Marketing