When it comes to an ecosystem of funding referral partnerships, what determines whether a relationship is likely to last or be successful? Hint: it all comes down to sharing your values.
Whether you’re a business development officer, finance professional, accountant or agent, the seeds you plant will determine what comes to fruition down the way.
While speed and responsiveness are key to relationship building, they will always be trumped by trust—and trust is determined by offering reliable counsel. That means putting people first and seeing relationships as the ultimate drivers of business growth.
Business professionals play an important role in driving economic growth for the businesses they help. Indeed, 92 per cent of respondents in a Nielsen report say they trust recommendations from people in their professional network more than any other source. And 88 per cent of B2B decision-makers rely on word-of-mouth (both online and offline) for “information and advice,” according to Capterra.
Building a relationship-based business
Perhaps a client has reached out, but you’re unable to help with their specific business challenge. Maybe they need help outside your area of expertise. Or maybe they don’t yet meet the minimum requirements to access traditional funding options. However, you still want to help your client and maintain a good relationship.
If you help businesses deal with cash flow challenges, you could be working with a variety of funding partners—and you may be looking for (or already using) a referral partner that specializes in alternative business funding. But without a values alignment, you may not be in the same position to service your clients with the advice they need.
Working with a referral partner who specializes in alternative business funding can help you grow your business, while helping your clients. But you want to make sure that any partner you work with will act as an extension of your brand—and maintain your reputation as a trusted advisor.\
Why do you need a referral partner?
There are a lot of reasons to consider this type of strategic partnership. First off, you’re putting your client first and helping them meet their needs, even if you can’t help them directly. Creating a great experience for your clients will increase the likelihood they’ll return to you in future and recommend you to their network.
And, if you build a strong relationship with your referral partner, they’ll also be more likely to send their clients your way. And you may even receive a referral bonus if your client’s financing request is approved by your referral partner.
But recommending a client (or potential client) to another business partner can be daunting. After all, you don’t want to risk your reputation. Before entering into a partnership, take the time to research your potential referral partner. You’ll want to find out what kind of funding solutions they offer, their terms and rates, and how long they’ve been in business.
Questions to ask:
It’s also important to ask questions to help ascertain whether they’ll be a good fit for your business—which goes beyond their stated capability to fund deals.
- Are your goals, values, missions and business needs aligned?
- Are they a thought leader in their field?
- In which ways are they at the forefront of their industry?
- Have they demonstrated a willingness to go deeper to find a solution with other clients?
- Most importantly, will they uphold your reputation if you send them clients?
Taking a people-first approach
Taking a people-first approach turns a transactional relationship—one that focuses on providing a service or fulfilling an order—into a dimensional partnership. That means focusing on building a relationship, not completing a transaction, even if it means referring business elsewhere.
For example, when Claudia Serna started her trucking business in San Marcos, Texas, she had just one truck. Over the years, she expanded her fleet and built up a highly successful business. But, like many other business owners, she struggled with delays between receiving payments from her customers and paying her subcontractors.
So she turned to her business advisor at the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, who in turn suggested she seek assistance from his connection at Liquid Capital. After getting to know Claudia’s business needs and challenges, the Principal at Liquid Capital in Austin helped her set up invoice factoring so she could immediately pay her subcontractors—and significantly improve her cash flow, growing the company by 20 per cent.
Read the full story here: Serna’s Trucking: Driving results within the construction industry
This was good for business, but also built trust with her advisor at the Chamber of Commerce. Serna’s Trucking—which sees consistent year-over-year growth—is now a strong contributor to the local economy, and Claudia uses her success to make donations and give back to the community, including assisting teen sports programs at local schools.
Relationships are everything
Working with a referral partner who shares your values will help your clients in a way that will deepen your relationships and expand opportunities for your business. Finding the right strategic partnerships not only helps to build your reputation, but can also take your business to the next level in unexpected ways.