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Using complimentary businesses for your referrals

September 17, 2008
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Most people think of their customers when it comes to getting referrals, but the truth is, it’s hard to get referrals from your customers even if you provide them with excellent service. Why? People are naturally busy these days. They already have so much on their minds, so it’s hard to get them to talk about your business. The other reason is that it can be difficult to set up a “referral system” with individuals, because they are not system oriented.

Instead, I recommend targeting complimentary businesses for your referral marketing. Complimentary businesses offer a great opportunity to create referral programs since businesses already use systems such as this. So what type of business would be the ideal complimentary business to your car detailing service? Well, there are quite a few that I could come up with, but the best one that comes to mind are non-profit businesses.

Non-profit businesses need help with support. The two biggest problems they face are:

1. The lack of money

2. The lack of publicity

The one thing that non-profit organizations do have is a loyal following of individuals who are willing to help out. This is a great opportunity for your business. Let me give you an example. Elementary Schools are always doing fundraisers to raise money for certain projects or events. As a car detailing business, you can partner up with these schools to help them raise the money they need.

Remember, I said that non-profits always have a loyal group of followers who are willing to help out. In the case of elementary schools, this loyal group would be the parents of the children that go to that particular school.

You could approach a certain school in your area. Print up flyers that promise to give a percentage of the order to this school’s fundraising efforts. Take these flyers to the school so that all the students can take them home to their families. Make the offer available for a limited time. This is a great referral system because it benefits all parties involved:

1. It benefits to school because they get free money.

2. It benefits the student’s families because they are getting a great deal on a car detailing.

3. It benefits your business because you are getting more customers.

This referral system has been proven to work with other businesses like Pizza restaurants. I recently saw an advertisement that one PAPA John’s manager put together for a local school. For every pizza order, he gave 20 percent to the local school.

It’s a great way to help out your community and boost your business at the same time.

Jonathan Taylor is the owner of Strategic Marketing Solutions. You can reach Taylor at

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