Through a commonly used relationship, you can have business owners in other cities eagerly recommending your products and services to their loyal customers–with you paying a percentage, fixed amount (or nothing) when sales are made. And whether you’re a retailer, service business, manufacturer, professional practitioner, or online marketer, this strategy lets you benefit from the time, effort, and money other business owners have spent building their database and maintaining their customers’ loyalty–with payoffs that are both immediate and substantial.

In today’s topic, I have the perfect solution if you own a service business whose customers often need your service in other cities where you can’t operate — either due to distance, lack of personnel or excessive cost.

Asking Distant Businesses to Refer New Customers to You

The first step in getting referrals from business owners in distant cities is to locate companies who provide the same service or product — and whose customers, members, subscribers and students trust them for ongoing information and expertise. Even direct competitors could be a good source of new customers if they are amenable to promoting your service whenever they can’t fulfill on a customers service request.

Trading Referrals With Similar Companies in Other Geographic Markets

If you are geographically limited to working only in a local market (or if a competitor is), you can trade referrals with similar companies in other cities or pay referring companies a small commission for the referral. If you run a service business using heavy equipment that is difficult to transport–venue clean-up, for example, or audio services for entertainment companies that are touring from city to city–you can refer your clients to companies in other cities in exchange for those companies referring back whenever one of their customers needs a provider in your city.

To find potential companies to endorse you, simply do a Google search for your kind of service — typing in keywords relevant to your business, plus the name of another major city into the search window. Google Local will return a convenient list of companies (with contact information and websites) at the top of the search results.

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