Relationship Building for MSPs: Strategies for Generating Referrals & High-Quality Leads

As a Managed Service Provider, you know that referrals are one of the best ways to grow your business. Referrals are not only a source of new customers, but also a sign of trust and satisfaction from your existing ones.

However, getting referrals is not always easy. You need to build strong relationships with your clients, partners, and prospects, and provide them with value and incentives to recommend you to others.

In this article, we’ll share some effective strategies for relationship building that can help you generate more referrals and high-quality leads for your IT business.

Understanding the Power of Referrals

Before we dive into the strategies, let’s underscore the significance of referrals in the MSP realm. Referrals are more than just word-of-mouth recommendations; they are a testament to the trust and satisfaction your clients have in your services.

A referred lead is often pre-qualified and comes with a built-in level of trust, making the conversion process smoother and more efficient. This is borne out by the statistics.

Ninety-two percent of consumers say they trust referrals from friends and family more than other types of advertising. In the business realm, 86% of B2B buyers say that word-of-mouth is the most influential factor when making buying decisions. So, honing your referral game can greatly increase lead quality and shorten your conversion time.

Smart Ways to Increase Your Business Referrals

Let’s dive into each of these strategies and see how they can help you boost your referral marketing.

Deliver Exceptional Service and Support

The first and most important strategy for relationship building is delivering exceptional service and support to your clients. This is the foundation of any successful referral marketing campaign, as it creates loyal and happy customers who are more likely to spread the word about you.

To deliver exceptional service and support, you need to:

  • Understand your clients’ needs and expectations
  • Provide proactive and responsive solutions
  • Communicate clearly and regularly
  • Add value beyond your core offerings
  • Go the extra mile and exceed expectations

By doing these things, you will not only retain your clients, but also increase their satisfaction and loyalty. This will make them more likely to refer you to their friends, colleagues, and network.

Create a Referral Program and Reward Your Advocates

The next strategy for relationship building is creating a referral program and rewarding your advocates. A referral program is a system that encourages and incentivizes your clients, partners, and prospects to refer you to others. A referral program can help you generate more referrals and leads, reduce your marketing costs, and strengthen your brand awareness and reputation.

To create a successful referral program, you should:

  • Define your goals and metrics
  • Identify your target audience and ideal referrals
  • Create a clear and compelling value proposition
  • Choose the right incentives and rewards
  • Promote your program and make it easy to join
  • Track and measure your results

By creating a referral program, you encourage more referrals and show your appreciation for your customers. This will make them feel motivated to refer you more often.

Educate Your Audience and Position Yourself as an Expert

Educating your audience means providing them with valuable information, insights, tips, best practices, case studies, etc. that can help them solve their problems or achieve their goals. Positioning yourself as an expert means demonstrating your credibility, authority, experience, and thought leadership in your field.

By educating your audience and positioning yourself as an expert, you can attract more prospects who are looking for solutions, establish yourself as a go-to resource in your niche, and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Regularly post on an IT business blog
  • Host a webinar
  • Offer eBooks and white papers (These are great lead magnets too!)
  • Be a guest on a podcast
  • Share valuable content on social media, email newsletters, forums, etc.
  • Host or attend events, workshops, seminars, etc.
  • Join or create communities, groups, associations, etc. (online and offline)
  • Collaborate with influencers, experts, media outlets, etc.

By doing these things, you will not only educate your audience, but also position yourself as an expert. This will make them more likely to trust you, buy from you, and refer you to others.

Network with Other MSPs and Complementary Businesses

Participating in industry events, conferences, and local networking groups provides valuable opportunities to connect with potential clients and collaborators. These events offer a face-to-face platform to showcase your expertise, exchange ideas, and build relationships organically. Remember, personal connections often translate into more meaningful and lasting professional relationships.

Some tips on networking effectively:

  • Attend or host industry events, conferences, trade shows, etc.
  • Join or create online platforms, forums, groups, directories, etc.
  • Reach out to potential partners or collaborators via email or phone
  • Offer value or assistance before asking for anything in return
  • Follow up regularly and maintain contact

Networking is a great way to build a referral engine through others in your community. This also goes both ways. For example, you may refer your clients to a non-competing business, whose owner is in your networking circle, and vice versa.

Ask for Feedback and Testimonials

Feedback is a two-fold opportunity for MSPs. Firstly, it provides valuable insights into areas where you can improve your services and address any concerns your clients may have. Secondly, it opens the door for obtaining authentic testimonials. After successfully resolving an issue or completing a project, kindly ask your clients for feedback on their experience.

Here are some tips on asking for feedback:

  • Make the feedback process easy and straightforward
  • Send a short survey or schedule a brief follow-up call
  • Ask about what went well but also about areas where you could enhance your services

Once you’ve gathered positive feedback, kindly request permission to use it as a testimonial on your website, marketing materials, or social media. Testimonials act as social proof, showcasing real-world examples of your company’s effectiveness. Potential clients are more likely to trust your services when they see positive feedback from others who have benefited from your expertise.

By actively seeking feedback and testimonials, you not only enhance your relationship with existing clients but also create compelling content that can influence potential leads, reinforcing the credibility of your business in the eyes of your target audience.

Leverage Social Media

In the digital age, social media has become a powerful tool for establishing brand presence and engaging with your audience. Actively participating on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even industry-specific forums can significantly contribute to relationship building and lead generation for MSPs.

Regularly post content that is informative, relevant, and valuable to your target audience. This could include industry insights, best practices, case studies, and news about your company.

Social media is not just a broadcasting platform; it’s a place for conversations. Respond promptly to comments, messages, and mentions. Engaging with your audience demonstrates that your team is approachable and responsive, fostering a sense of connection. Encourage discussions, ask questions, and actively participate in conversations within your industry.

By being active on social media, IT businesses can not only strengthen relationships with existing clients but also create a dynamic online presence that attracts referrals and high-quality leads. The key is to be authentic, engaging, and consistent in your efforts, fostering a community around your company that extends beyond traditional business interactions.

Communicate and Check In with Clients Regularly

Effective communication is key to any successful relationship. Regularly check in with your clients to ensure their satisfaction and to address any concerns proactively. A simple phone call or email to inquire about their experience and whether there are any areas for improvement can make a significant impact. This not only helps in building rapport but also demonstrates your commitment to client success.

These ongoing touchpoints will quietly encourage existing clients to refer you to others because they’ll feel valued and well taken care of. Regular communication and check-ins with clients are essential for maintaining strong relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction. Here are some effective ways to achieve this:

  • Set up regular meetings with clients as a touch-base.
  • Send out periodic newsletters to keep clients informed on topics of interest.
  • Send annual client satisfaction surveys.
  • Create an online client portal where clients can access account-related information.
  • Conduct personalized follow-up calls after the completion of a project or resolution of a major issue.
  • Occasionally, send small tokens of appreciation or personalized messages to express gratitude for their partnership.
  • Use automated systems to send reminders for upcoming meetings, contract renewals, or other important milestones.

By implementing a combination of these communication strategies, IT businesses can foster strong, transparent, and collaborative relationships with their clients. Regular check-ins demonstrate your dedication to client success and provide opportunities to identify and address evolving needs proactively.

Build and Nurture Relationships to Grow Your Referrals

Relationship building for MSPs is a multifaceted endeavor that involves delivering exceptional service, fostering communication, and actively seeking referrals. By adopting these strategies, you can generate high-quality leads and create a network of satisfied clients who are enthusiastic advocates for your services.

If you need help generating customized content for your clients and prospects, reach out to us today. We are a team of experienced MSP marketing experts who care about helping you grow your IT business.

What percentage of your business comes from referrals?

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