The System of Creating Lucrative Referrals for Free
Like most things in life, when there is a system in place there is less chance for human error or forgetfulness.
Plus, people these days are so busy and distracted that they have to be reminded again and again for things to really stick.
Referrals are the lifeblood of any profitable coaching business and you can't leave this part of your business up to chance!
Sure, you could have tons of referrals coming from paid print advertising, SEO work, Google or Facebook ads, but most new coaches don't have the extra income to spend on these strategies.
And, I don't think they should.
I built a multiple six-figure coaching business and I've never spent a penny on advertising in the form of paid ads online or offline.
To be honest, I'm considering my first paid campaign this year, but for the last 15 years nothing on my balance sheet under "advertising".
But, I have created several systems to make sure that I have a steady flow of ideal clients coming in by referrals and building up my referral network.
Here is what I did and what you can do too...
1. Hustle (I mean connect) on Facebook & LinkedIn groups
I recently celebrated two $20K weeks!
I looked back at my client roster to see where did all these people come from and why now.
The only thing I had been doing differently was making a big effort to be visible and connect in online groups.
But not just any group.
Smaller groups (relatively from the big mega social media groups) where my ideal clients were hanging out.
I would answer questions, post helpful things, comment, like, share, etc.
I was THE go-to person in those groups.
You know, all those things we are told to do but we don't because we are distracted by cute puppy videos or we are just being voyeurs scrolling around the feed and not putting ourselves in the game?
Don't do that!
I made a deal with myself that if I was going to take the time to read a post I was going to chime in somehow.
2. Build an affiliate program
This sounds like a big deal but it is super simple, especially if you have a Wordpress website (and you should).
I use an easy plugin called Affiliate Royale
I've tried several platforms over the years for affiliate programs and this one is sweet and simple!
You can be up and running in about an hour!
Each person that signs up gets a special link that they can share to refer you.
All the keeping track is off your plate - the software does it for you!
3. Pay BIG!
Along with having an affiliate program is the payout.
I recommend paying BIG!
These are referrals that you did almost nothing to get!
No hanging out on Facebook for hours, no bad lunch at a networking group, no money towards Google Ads.
My "Mahalo" (thank you) checks are the happiest checks I write out each month to my affiliates.
They earn between $200 and $1,000+ just for sharing my programs with their friends and followers - something they would be doing anyway.
4. Remind often and train
I've said it earlier.
People these days are distracted and busy.
You have to repeat yourself and remind people often that you are seeking referrals and train them on how to send people your way.
Don't leave any obstacles to chance!
If they knew exactly how to refer and didn't have to think about it, don't you think they would be referring more often?
This is especially important for coaches.
The coaching relationship lends itself to being all about the client, right?
So it is even more important to make your referral process easier on them and to spell it out for them.
Don't leave it up to them to connect the dots.
They are clearly coming to you for help with their challenges during the session and are not thinking about you or your business.
You've gotta remind them often!
Here are a few places I remind people about my referral & affiliate programs:
- Pages on my main website and my group coaching and mastermind website
- In my Client Guidebook
- In my Welcome Packet
- Every 5 days on all my social media platforms (these posts are recycled & scheduled through MeetEdgar.com)
- During their complimentary "Aloha" (Hello) Strategy Session
- During a client's first launch call
- During a clients complimentary "Aloha" (Goodbye) Strategy Session
- In their mini business plan that I send out before we start working together
- In the email recap after we've worked together
- On my podcast and YouTube Channel
These are just a few. Remind often.
In my Client Guide Book and on their first launch call, I let them know the 3 ways that they can refer and how exactly to go about it so they don't have to think.
5. Have virtual coffee dates
I usually don't want to make time to meet someone for coffee in the middle of the day.
That would be a huge chunk out of my day when I should be creating and focused.
But on days where I do have a lot of coaching calls, strategy calls, podcast interviews lined up - I can also throw in some "virtual" coffee dates.
All you have to do is send them a quick note and a link to your calendar.
Here is mine if you would like to chat.
Grab your favorite beverage and call up someone you've never spoken to from your LinkedIn contacts or someone you met at a live event.
These calls can be as little as 15 minutes and you'll feel like you have a new best friend!
From now on everytime you see them online you'll feel like you really know them - they don't feel like a stranger anymore.
You can refer back and forth, become joint venture partners, or perhaps they will become a client (or vice versa) if it is a good fit!
5. Be seen everywhere it matters on and offline
Don't waste time posting or being everywhere.
Be where it matters for you and your ideal client/target market.
Then repeat step four, remind often and train.
Most big leaps I've taken in my business were because I simply asked.
Getting on the mega podcast, "Entrepreneur on Fire"
Having Hilton sponsor my podcast & web TV launch
Writing this article for Noomii :)
All because I simply asked.
Don't be afraid to ask.
So those are some of my secrets on how to build up your referrals as a new coach.
One thing I also noticed is that you have to do so little to get ahead!
You don't have to take massive action and be busy all the time.
So many people are doing that already.
They are massively busy with nothing to show for it.
You do have to be focused and do just a bit more of the right things than what maybe currently feels comfortable and your results will compound quickly.
Just focus on where your ideal clients are and be visible and useful to them.
Create systems for getting referrals and all other aspects of your business so you don't have to rely on memory or the "human factor" so you can work less and earn more!
Need help? I invite you to book your complimentary Aloha Strategy Session with me today!
About Erica Duran
Erica Duran is a business coach & freedom-based luxury lifestyle designer. She gives expert guidance, support and accountability to coaches, trainers and other service-based entrepreneurs to build their businesses so they can work from anywhere and earn to a consistent $5K-$20K+ per month while still having the freedom to work only 3 days per week. Erica travels full-time, living at the luxury resorts that sponsor her podcast and web TV show. For more information and to book your complimentary strategy session visit EricaDuran.co.
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