You don't have to wait for word of mouth to build in order to start getting referrals. You can seek out potential referral partners by identifying people who are in contact with your target market and getting to know them. Here are some tactics for networking and referral building:
Attending meetings and seminars. One of the best ways to meet people because they have often come for the purpose of meeting people.
Developing referral partners. Seek out people who serve the same clients you do.
Participating in online communities. Exchange ideas with online message boards, social networking sites, and blogs allows you to network without leaving your home or office.
Staying in touch with former clients or co-workers. Your best source of referrals can be people who have already worked with you. Keep in touch and don't be afraid to ask them to refer others.
Volunteering and serving on committees. Volunteer your professional services for a high-profile nonprofit to get recognition. Serve your professional community as an officer or committee chair to gain more visibility.
Sharing information and resources. Pass along articles or websites of interest and other ideas to the people in your network.
Collaborations and strategic alliances. An excellent way for any small business to expand contacts and visibility. Your collaborator may know another whole circle of people.