I get a lot of questions about how to generate quality referrals — it’s because a large part of my own business has been built through referrals.
In this world of constant online chatter, I find it so valuable to know how to create powerful referrals — they are almost always the most ideal prospects.
Here are some of my favorite questions (& answers) to help you create amazing referrals for your business!
Q: Do you need a huge community of followers in order to be able to generate referrals in your business?
A: Absolutely not! While it’s wonderful to have a huge community of followers, it’s definitely not necessary. What’s most important to be able to begin to generate powerful referrals is to have relationships with people who know and appreciate you – those people can be your clients, your colleagues, your friends, your old schoolmates, your family, or anyone else you know. You start your first round of referral campaigns there, and through that the contacts and followers grow.
What’s most important to be able to begin to generate powerful referrals is to have relationships with people who know and appreciate you – most potent here is going to be clients who have already worked with you and who really appreciate and love the work you’ve done together. Happy clients are the most enthusiastic people who will let other people know about you and how you work. This is one of the reasons why I’m so, so passionate about being on a journey to continuously deepening your transformational skills. It’s good for the world and it’s good for your business!
You don’t need scores of happy clients to start generating referrals – truly one or two are enough to get going! (And those clients can be clients who have paid you, or clients who have been volunteer clients).
In addition to happy, satisfied clients, you can generate referrals through your colleagues, your friends, your old schoolmates, your family, or anyone else you know.
Q: What is the proper etiquette when asking for a referral?
A: Asking for referrals is an art unto itself, with many nuances and possibilities. You can get as creative as you want!
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- One of the most important tips when asking for a referral that I can give you is to keep it personal and intimate. Don’t use formal business language when asking for a referral – be yourself, with your personality. The more personal and intimate you can be when inviting folks to refer you, the more effective your invitation will be.
- If you are sending emails or notes to folks and asking for referrals, if possible, send individual notes versus group emails. This is in line with keeping things intimate and personal. In the note, don’t leave things vague (for example “please spread the word”); instead, make a specific ask that includes, for example, you offering to hop on the phone with folks that are interested or seeing if you can be connected via email with the referral. And remember to follow up!
- Be specific about what kind of person you can really help and what you can help them with. This is, of course, important for all of your marketing – to be as clear as you can about who you help and what you help them with. The more you can educate those who will refer you on who to refer, the more effective your referral strategies will be.
- Consider holding a free workshop for clients/friends and the referrals/friends that they bring to it. This is a GREAT, easy way to add value to people you already know (and/or give them a better sense of your work so they can refer more!) while also getting to connect with their friends and community.
- Let people know in various different ways that your business is a referral based business. You can include it in your email signature, in your newsletters, when you speak to clients and beyond. It often doesn’t occur to people to refer unless they are asked!
Q: Whenever I think about asking clients for referrals, I get a stomach ache – it feels icky and sales-y and desperate to ask for business. What do you think about that?
A: I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that exact fear come up (in fact, years ago, I used to feel it myself!). And it’s true – if you feel icky about asking for referrals, one of two things will happen: 1) You will never ask for them or 2) You’ll force yourself to ask, but it will feel misaligned and it won’t come off as powerful or inviting to the person you’re asking.
That’s why it’s vital to shift into a Referral Mindset and know that it doesn’t mean you’re desperate or unsuccessful or anything else when you ask for referrals. Instead, it means that you know your work is valuable enough to let others know about it, and it also means that you know that the people around you appreciate you and support you and are happy to be asked to help!
To really feel this way, of course, may take some inner work (one of the many, many reasons why in Sacred Depths, I don’t only teach you how to become a better practitioner; I also support you through your own inner work around fears and beliefs so that you can show up powerfully in your work and life)
When you shift to a Referral Mindset, so much can change: you feel confident about your services & products, you feel excited to ask connections for referrals, and the people you ask join in your excitement about your work and communicate it to others.
Q: I’ve heard that if someone sends you a referral and they buy from you, you need to then send the referrer a cash kick-back. Is that true?
A: So glad you asked, and the answer is a definitive: NOPE! What is important is that you always, always, always thank your referrer in a personal way, but the thank you does not need to be cash at all!
Most people refer not because of a gift, but because they want to be helpful and make an impact – for the person they refer and for you.
Start with heartfelt words of appreciation, and from there if you’d like to add a gift, think about what the person would value most. Is it cash? Is it a session with you? Is it a fun gift in the mail?
You get to be creative and tend to your referrers needs!