Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Refer to Grow

Show Notes

Marketing is Hard.

Business is Hard.

These are common statements that I hear all the time.

But it doesn’t have to be.

The easiest and most effective way to grow your business is through referrals.

Refer to Grow

If you are not getting new clients consistently your business will not grow.

Doing a good job for your clients is not enough to get them to refer you. It is not that your current clients don’t want to refer you it is often that they just don’t think about it. If they are directly asked, yes they will refer you however they may not offer your name up in a casual conversation because they are not sure that is what you would want.

Having a referral strategy is an important way to make sure your business is growing.

Is Networking the Answer?

Long gone are the days of in-person networking where you run around the room trying to give every person your business card in the hope that they might just need your service at that specific moment.

There are less than 2% of people ready to buy your product right now.

Most people are somewhere else on their buying journey. They might be just researching, or they might not even know that they have a need yet. A buyer’s journey may take months, years, minutes or only a few seconds.

Your pipe bursts in the kitchen.

The buyer’s journey from not knowing you had a problem to needing and engaging a plumber will be very short. Whereas looking to buy a second-hand car for your child’s graduation in 12 months’ time might be much longer.

So how do you tap into referrals in a consistent manner?

Business has always been and will always be about relationships.

We have always asked our friends, family and trusted advisors for referrals. Getting referrals today is no different than it has been for hundreds of years. Now it is more amplified by the use of social media and our trusted advisors we might know really well but often are just anyone that has answered our post. It is little wonder why some of the advice we take on board is of devious nature, to say the least.

How to Get Referrals

Today successful referrals are about building relationships with trusted referral partners.

Who and How?

Great referral partners are people who can introduce you to their network of people who already trust them. These warm leads are very important because the implied trust is already established.

If your accountant suggests a financial advisor when you need one, you will most often follow their advice without a lot of extra research.

Referral partners are people/businesses that would with your ideal clients but don’t compete directly with you.

Think about who has your type of customers.

A photographer would be a good referral source for a copywriter, and both would be good referral partners for a web designer.

A florist and a coffee shop, a gift hamper business and a restaurant, a dog grooming business and a pet shop and I am sure you can think of many more. 

Looking at the things you need to get done, do they really need to be done today? Spending a lot of time on other people’s priorities is great for them but not so much for you. Remember that you can always move, delegate or remove tasks that are not important to get done now.


When you are networking whether online or in person it is best to think about the people who could be great referral partners.

Start with

  • how could you help them?
  • who could you introduce them to?
  • would your clients benefit from their services?

A great way to build your network and add value is to do cross-promotions. Adding value to someone else’s audience is a great service to both of you.

Airlines are the master at cross-promotions. You book a flight and immediately get asked if you would like to book a hotel or reserve a hire car.

There is nothing “icky” about cross-promotions because it is all about the value add and anticipating your client (or theirs) next need. Cross promotions can also include more than one service or provider which is exactly what the airlines do with accommodation and car hire.

A networking group I am in offers all new members a free sales training course as part of joining. It is a value add for the membership and an introduction for the sales training company that they would normally not have got.

Who could you join forces with and offer cross-promotions or gifts?

Asking for Referrals

When asking for referrals you need to make it easy for your partners. Do you have an event that they can be part of or offer to their clients?

Make sure you provide an email script or social post that your partners can share.

Some businesses even have referral manuals to help their partners know the types of questions that your potential customers are asking, to make it easier to know who to refer you to.

When thinking of referrals think of how you can work on a “one too many” strategies so that you are maximising the best use of your time and efforts.

Social Media

Yes, social media can be a powerful part of your referral strategy however it will be far more powerful when other people are recommending you and sharing your content. As always consistent content and presence is essential to making social work for you.

Refer to Grow

Listen to the full episode of Small Business Talk episode 159.

Refer to Grow

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