Here's what I mean.
When I was in the show business arena, I wanted to get some shows in a NEW area.
I contacted a local school and offered to do a show for FREE. They said yes.
Once I got finished with the show and they were PLEASED (Important), I asked if they would do a favor. Would they mind writing a letter that I could send to all the other schools in the area?
I said I would pay for their letterhead, postage, envelopes, everything. They agreed.
After I mailed the letters, I was able to book an ENTIRE summer of shows.
Why did this work?
I was being endorsed by an authority to others in the same market. The show only cost me about an hour of my time. The mailing: about $50. The shows: 60.
I've used this with other markets as well.
When I use it to get consulting clients, I do quite a bit of work for a high-profile business for no charge. When I am finished and the client is HAPPY, I ask the client to write a letter to non-competing businesses that they know. I do the same thing... pay the postage, cost of letterhead, envelopes, etc.
It ALWAYS works!
Hope this helps.