It is now three months since I became a member of BNI. I am a member of the BNI Ulti-Mates chapter in South Delhi, a young but vibrant chapter that is set to go from strength to strength.

In just about twelve weeks I have formed enduring bonds with a cross-section of SME entrepreneurs like myself and the power of business networking is apparent. When relationships based on trust and likability have been formed, business is bound to grow and you are bound to get referrals.

‘Givers gain’ is BNI’s philosophy, indeed its DNA, and its power cannot be overstated. If you are constantly looking out for how your group members can provide services to your customers, you stand to gain from BNI’s unique referral marketing techniques and grow your business. As we say in BNI: what goes around, comes around.

BNI’s referral marketing techniques have got me thinking of another way of growing one’s business. How about building a referral clause as part of a business agreement?

Let me elaborate. Every business relationship that we get into starts, and should start, with defining the terms of engagement. You define expectations, payment schedules, non-disclosure clause, termination or disengagement clause, as also any other clause to avoid confusion or conflict during the life of the project.

Why not include a referral clause as part of the agreement? There is positivity in a business relationship between two parties, both of whom not only safeguard their interest but also conduct themselves in an exemplary manner that results in an enriching, abiding relationship. If you deliver clear, definable value to your client, you can also have a referral clause added to the agreement. Words to the effect that “…if the business partner delivers on time and satisfactorily on the agreed terms, the client will reward the service provider with at least two referrals.

Legal experts, which I am certainly not, can help draft referral into a client-service provider agreement. That’s a step which will be a win-win for both parties. It will instill confidence in the client that you are confident of delivery quality service by clearly identified timelines and those are the qualities sought in service providers. Providing referrals to such service providers is not something that clients will be wary of.

Defining legal clauses protecting the interests of both parties, while including referrals, could be an innovative way to grow business.