Updated: Oct 5
As a Business Coach, I primarily work with other coaches, healers, consultants and creative entrepreneurs. I love teaching people to ditch their fear of sales and grow their practice from a heart-centered place. What I mean by that is working with a “servant’s heart” – being willing to give your all for the sake of helping others, rather than for the purpose of making money. Trust me when I say that when it’s done right, a full practice and bank account come naturally as a welcomed by-product.
No matter where you are in your business, when it comes to filling a practice, I always start in the same place with new clients – asking for personal referrals. By far, the #1 way to get new clients and fill your practice is to leverage your relationships with people who already know, like and trust you.
It’s great that you’ve got an online and social marketing plan – I don’t discourage that. However, this is the perfect way to build momentum and get new clients right now, practically on demand. This will ensure that you are able to do what you love while your practice grows through other development strategies. Think of it as the short-term game versus the long-term strategy: you need both.
What I’ve found in my 20 years of business development experience is that there is an art to asking for referrals. By following my step-by-step process below, you can easily get new clients and fill your private practice through this one method alone. This will also work universally – for any industry, product or service.
Let’s break it down. Here are 4 simple steps to effortlessly fill your calendar with referrals:
1) Make a list of people who are your ideal client AND who are invested in your success or mission. Be exhaustive in your list. By including people who want to see you succeed, as well as your ideal clients, you open yourself up to everyone else’s network which massively and instantly multiplies your reach. Plus, coming to you as a personal referral means that they will automatically have a sense of trust in you. You also don’t have to reach out to everyone on the list every time you need new clients, you can contact the list in “waves”.
2) Give your referrers a reason to promote you. It’s important to give your contacts a clear reason to facilitate an introduction. That might be a new career objective, a new product or service you’re offering, or a personal milestone that you’d like to celebrate. To create a champion of your business, you need to have something they can connect with that is more newsworthy than, “I don’t have enough clients and need to pay my bills.”
3) Ask permission and make it easy for them to make an introduction. This is actually two parts. First, I’m a big fan of asking for permission, a concept that I picked up from the teachings of Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin in their co-authored book, The Prosperous Coach (my personal coaching bible that created the foundation for this entire process). I find that this works particularly well when asking for a referral because it inherently whittles your list down to those who are committed to taking action on your behalf. It also gives someone permission to decline, which is really powerful in itself because it takes the “sell” out of the conversation and leaves the referrer in a position to either help you, or not. Most often they will want to help.
Next, once they’ve agreed to help you, send them a template that they can easily share with your potential referral. Here is what you absolutely must include in your referral email:
Introduction to your referrer, including a thank you for being willing to share
Your newsworthy information drafted in Step 2: “I want to share with you the exciting news that ___________. In honor of this milestone, I’ve decided to launch a new program to/product that help(s) people ___________. “
A brief one sentence description of your ideal client. “This is ideal for someone who….”
Call to action: “Please forward this email or copy and paste the below”
Deadline: “This promotion is good until…”
4) Send a thank you note and brief update to your referrers. Keep your referrers posted on the outcome of the referral, without breaching confidentiality of course. I like to send my referrers a note to let them know whether or not I helped the person referred and if we have decided to work together professionally. This is also a good opportunity to ask if they know anyone else they can refer.
That’s it! Try out this process and leave a comment letting me how it works for you, where you get hung up, and where things are finally starting to flow. I especially want to hear from you if you’re not sure how to apply this in your business or particular situation.
Seeing some success and ready to take this deeper or need to finesse? Let’s talk. Schedule your Business Breakthrough Strategy Session and we’ll get that calendar full and the money rolling in.
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