How to Get Referrals from Existing Clients

Referrals from existing clients are one of the best sources of new business for coaches and trainers. There is no better lead than one sent your way with a strong referral; no more motivated a prospect than one sent to you by a raving fan. The key to getting referrals is to deliver outstanding service in the first place. Then, ask your clients for referrals, make it easy for them and show them your gratitude.

Why are referrals from existing clients important?

Referrals from existing clients are effective, free, and keep you motivated to do your best. With so much emphasis on digital marketing, it’s easy to forget that some tried-and-true methods of lead generation are often the most effective. Marketing is part of the mix, but potential clients know that it is singing your own praises. They want social proof from a trusted source before investing in a coach or trainer.

When you depend on referrals for your next lead, every job holds the potential for a referral, and every new customer has the potential to be a future referrer, so you’ll be constantly motivated.

Best of all, referrals needn’t cost you a cent, and the process can easily be built into your workflow.

Ask for referrals.

Many people forget this crucial step. The way to get referrals is to ask for them!

The best time to ask for a referral is the midst of delivering excellent service, while you are still actively engaged with the client and have their full trust and attention. You may need to follow your request up with regular reminders. Make it part of your workflow until it becomes habitual.

Before you ask for referrals, make sure you deliver a level of service that makes your client want to refer you. That means communicating in an open and timely manner, going beyond what the client expects, and building credibility by using quality HR products in your training/coaching repertoire.

If a client is reluctant to refer you, there may be some dissatisfaction with the service you have delivered. This is a great opportunity to gain feedback, and resolve and lingering complaints.

Make it easy.

Many clients would be glad to refer you, but are unsure how to present you to others. The easier is it for clients to refer you, the more likely they are to do it.

Make it easy for them by creating special referral material that they can share. This could be a request for referrals on the back of your business card, a pamphlet or something in digital format such as an email template. Then all they have to do is hand over or forward something that is already created for them.

Give incentives and show gratitude.

Incentives are an effective way to encourage your clients to refer you. Offer them an incentive such as a value-add or discount for the next session they book with you.

Show your client how much you appreciate his or her referral with a bottle of wine, a hamper of gourmet goodies, or even a hand-written card. Tell them that referrals are the lifeblood of your business, and reiterate how thankful you are for their efforts.