Do you want to work with more of your ideal clients?

Would you like to save time on marketing and get better results?

Do you desire to become a recognized expert in your field?

You can do all of this and more when you build your business by referral. If you ask for and encourage referrals, you’ll be able to fill your practice with ideal clients who need the exact solutions that you offer.

By taking the time to figure out exactly what type of clients you’re looking for and how to describe them, you’ll have a much better success rate with attracting referrals and you’ll see your business grow. Follow these three simple steps to ask for and encourage referrals from your current clients and contacts:

  1. Decide who you’re looking for.  If you don’t have an ideal client profile in mind, it’s time to create one. Your ideal client profile should detail the qualities, attributes and needs of the exact type of person that you want to work with. Take some time to get clear on EXACTLY who you want to work with and what problems they are experiencing that you can help with. Getting clear on this before you start asking for referrals will make it easy for you to explain what kind of leads you are looking for to your referral partners. It will also help your clients and contacts to prequalify the referrals for you.
  2. Time your referral requests just right. The best time to ask for a referral is when a client has commented on the quality of your work. Graciously thank them for their feedback and then ask “Who else do you know that is looking for [SOLUTIONS CLIENT HAS ENJOYED]?” As they brainstorm about who they can introduce to you, listen carefully to the contacts they have in mind. Be sure to explain simply how they can best introduce their contact, both so that the individual is comfortable and so that you can effectively follow up on the lead.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask! Many service providers stop themselves from asking for referrals because they are intimidated. But honestly, you have nothing to be afraid of. If you’ve been doing a stellar job for the client, it’s completely acceptable for you to ask for a referral. And what’s the worst thing that they could say? “Probably, I’ll keep that in mind.” That is a good thing! The only thing you have to lose is the opportunity to be of service to a new client and increase your income.

In addition to asking your existing clients, let your contacts, family and friends know that you’re open to referrals as well. Use the same steps outlined above to educate them about what solutions you offer. They may know someone who is struggling with the exact problems that you solve. By arming them with information about your business, they’ll be able to recognize people who need your services.

Here are some things to do if you are just getting started:

  1. If you don’t have an ideal client profile mapped out, now is the time to do it! Take some time to think about exactly who you want to work with and why. Describe their characteristics, the type of problems that they are experiencing and how you can help.
  2. Look for opportunities to ask for referrals. When you’ve completed a project or your client has given you a compliment on something, it’s time to ask who else they know that would benefit from your services.
  3. Push your fears aside! It’s perfectly okay to ask your clients who else they know that would be a good match.
  4. Educate friends and family about what you do so that they know what to look for as well. You never know who they might know.

Many seasoned entrepreneurs have grown their businesses strictly by referral. If you’d like, you can be one of them. As with all effective marketing, creating the desired result simply takes focused, consistent effort on your part. By making it clear who you serve and what you do for them, you empower your clients and contacts to make referrals that will be beneficial to you and the people that they refer as well.

What type of referrals are you looking for in your business? Share your thoughts below and allow others to support your efforts to grow your business.