We all know that warm recommendations are one of the most effective ways to get clients! A well-referred client, who needs exactly what you offer and is looking for that solution NOW, is likely to be a joy to work with and of financial worth to your business.
In addition to the value in personal satisfaction and opportunities for you to learn, if you’re in business you need to know how much money your clients, on average, spend with you over time! Do they see you once, or many times? Buy additional products? Come back for training? (If you have overheads, do remember to take out your costs to work out the true profit value.) Do the math. Write it down! Even if you’re not in it for the money, consider the saving of your time and energy if someone could be sending you your ideal clients.
Next question, who’s likely to be your best source of referrals? And who can you potentially refer work to? It can be a mutual partnership, or perhaps some sort of pay-it-forward network.
You can get referrals via clients you’ve worked with and/or colleagues that respect you, ideally people who have also experienced your expertise themselves or have seen the results on thier own clients. Sometimes family members of your patients can be excellent sources of referral as they will see the results of your work and often benefit by having a happier, healthier, nicer-to-be-around relative. That goes for friends too of course.
If you can get NHS staff referring you, that can add extra credibility too. (Over the years I’ve had various doctors and respiratory nurses refer to me for the Buteyko breathing work I do, because they’ve seen dramatic improvements in asthma or COPD symptoms after their patients have worked with me. These are people who would never have otherwise sought me out!)
Either way it’s going to involve people who know your work and have been taught how to send the people you love working with straight to you! Once they reach out and connect with you, it’s so much easier to make a connection and get them to become clients. (Next step is conversion – that’s another article.)
So do you leave it all to chance? Or do you know how to create an active referral network?
Who do your best clients see before, after or in addition to you? Chiropractors often get referrals from massage therapists and vice versa, life coaches might be good referral partners with someone dealing with trauma, fitness trainers with beauty therapists….. Try drawing a circle (or overlapping circles) of potential referral partners, explore how they link up. Start with job titles, then consider who you know in those roles that you know, like and trust. After all, when you refer a client elsewhere, it’s your reputation on the line!
I recommend providing a ‘cheat sheet’, preferably written as well as verbal. That means you’ll need to pin down the key elements of a referral so people know who to recognise as your ideal potential clients. Think about
- The client demographic, which may relate to any of the following – age, gender, interests, geographic area, income, business type, relative/owner-of-xyz etc
- Issues they have that you have expertise in helping (get specific – anxiety? That’s a good start, but it’s even easier to identify someone with anxiety about something particular, such as travel, or stage fright.)
- What sort of language or symptoms make it super clear that someone needs YOUR help and is ready to take it? What are the words that should make their ears prick up and make you instantly come to mind?
- What you would like them to say to the person to help them make the decision to contact you? What are the actual benefits of the work you do?
- Give a simple description of the approach you use. It’s not necessarily the first thing people want to know though – they want a solution, they want a trustworthy person to deliver it! They might not care if it’s via a talking therapy, exercise, nutrition or energy work, and they might not have any idea of the difference between Reiki and Crystal healing, or Yoga and Pilates. That may also be true of your referrer! Don’t make it complicated!!!
- Provide business cards or email/web/phone details for your referrer to share when appropriate.
It’s generally helpful to provide your kind referrer something in return. This may depend on whether they are clients or colleagues, and what the value of the referral is of course. Some people are happy with praise or a small gift. Perhaps a free session for themselves or someone they care about. Others will be looking for cross-referrals and/or a cash reward.
You can be informal in this process, or create an affiliate scheme. That’s where you provide a way for people to sign up to actively promote something you offer such as a workshop or book, and automatically receive something in their bank account when someone else buys it. Eventbrite, Aweber and numerous other platforms offer this.
Once you’ve got a list of potential referral partners and know how you can help each other, have a conversation, maybe do a swap, get to know each other. If it’s a good fit in either or both directions, educate each other in the art of creating a good referral.
Enjoy the benefits of the relationship long term!
Part of the Heart Centred Healer Programme by Jen Tiller. For more information, or to arrange a mentoring session, please EMAIL HERE or phone +44(0)1462 624 160
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