The most important thing in your business is your connection with people. The strong interpersonal relationships that you cultivate and nurture make a world of difference between living passionately as a successful coach and subsisting as a struggling coach.
Because referral champions will bring business to you by recommending you to their network.
Continue to cultivate relationships after you’ve closed a sale and long after your clients have completed their coaching programs with you. Relationship building must be continuous and evergreen. The process does not end once you have made a sale.
Don’t be the coach who continually thinks of seeking out new clients rather than leveraging on word of mouth for referrals and repeat business. It is the biggest mistake that struggling coaches make in their business when they do not tap on the power of referrals!
Motivate your fans to be referral evangelists
Successful coaches strategize to be the coach who is sought after by clients needing their help. Coaches with this mindset recognize the value of cultivating their referral champions through authentic relationships and trust building.
They create a network of referral evangelists.
These are people who will gladly refer their friends, associates, colleagues and relatives to you because of their trusted relationship with you.
Your referral evangelists can come from a variety of sources in your network, including:
- Your clients (current and past)
- Your fans
- Your followers
- Your mastermind group
- Your peer support group
- Your audience
- Your guests
- People of influence in your chosen niche
Let’s take a closer look into the strategies and approaches you can use to cultivate relationships to maximize your reach and impact.
Your objective is to maximize the power of word-of-mouth. You can do this effectively by enlarging your circle of influence so that more people know about you and your capabilities and they will speak well about you to others.
My Top 10 Tips to Cultivate Your Referral Champions
Here are my top 10 tips to boost your credibility and cultivate relationships with your referral champions:
- Brainstorm and post something on your chosen social media platforms – an article, a discussion topic, an inspirational message, a survey….keep your platform alive and buzzing.
- Leave a thoughtful or flattering comment on a blog post, LinkedIn post or Facebook post that was contributed by a person of influence in your chosen niche.
- Get interviewed on podcasts and reach out to podcast hosts requesting to be featured on podcasts that are related to your chosen coaching field of expertise.
- Interview a person of influence or someone who has a large following.
- Sign up to relevant forums and discussion groups where you can contribute as a subject matter expert, then post thoughtful and helpful responses to others’ questions. Be sure you have a bio that is appealing and concisely explains what you do and who you help. Where permitted, have a link to your website so that forum members can find out more about you.
- Send your past and current clients a birthday greeting. This little touch costs you nothing but can mean so much to someone. (It’s a nice little feature I’ve built into the CoachVantage dashboard that reminds coaches when their clients’ birthdays are coming up so you remember to send them a birthday wish).
- Create surveys or polls that seek useful information and insights from your community with the promise of sharing the data with your niche audience. Send the survey to your followers and mailing list. Ask them to participate and let them know that you will share the results with them. Your audience benefits from the shared information and at the same time you get to learn more about them.
- Write articles that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in your subject matter and contribute these to newsletters, publications and ezines that are popular with your target audience. Check out Feedspot.com which allows you to post your blogs to their subscriber base. It’s a great way to get inbound links to your website/blog.
- Send an email every so often to your past clients and prospects (even those who said ‘No’ to you before) just to check in and see how they are doing. Make it conversational rather than salesy. You can let them know what you’re up to and simply ask if they need help with anything. Often, coaches forget to continue their relationship with a client after the coaching engagement has completed. Don’t make this mistake. Your past clients are your best referral evangelists if you have transformed their lives!
- Spend more time on your referral champions with the personal touch. Call them and have a conversation with them. Send a personal email asking how they are doing, what they have planned for the holidays and send birthday wishes. If you know of specific projects that they are working on, mention it and inquire how they’re doing. Inspire them with motivational messages every now and then so they know that you have their interest at heart.
Remember – everyone has an emotional bank account. Make your deposits before a withdrawal. Do something nice before asking for something in return. Once you have deposited sufficient goodwill credits, don’t be bashful about asking if they know anyone in their social circle or colleagues who would benefit from joining your community and/or working with you.
Then, give them constant feedback on how things are going with the people that they referred to you. Keep them ‘in the loop’. Don’t let their names be tarnished among their circle of friends and associates. They recommended you because they have faith in you, so don’t disappoint them. If things work out or even if they don’t, keep them updated and let them know what’s going on! People feel good about themselves knowing that they contributed toward helping someone in need.
Finally, reward them for their referrals. Give them an incentive to show your appreciation. While referral fees are certainly a great incentive, be creative if you really cannot afford to give away cash.
You could even reward your referrers by letting them in on a closed Facebook group in which you open up an hour each week for a webinar session or telesummit to share strategies in an open session.
There is magic in your creativity, so explore what works that will make your referrers feel good about being your champion!