A Referral Plan
For many coaches getting business can be one of the hardest things. You’re great at teaching, training, getting others to implement and take action, but unfortunately you don’t have enough people to work with.
We are told, do a great job with your clients and then ask them who they know who needs help with their challenges.
Pay your clients and your networks to pass you referrals.
Go to networking events and hand out business cards.
Unfortunately, all of those strategies are missing important ingredients to get you more referrals and more business. So hence they don’t work to the extent that you would like them to.
Getting referrals is an art form, a system, a process that anyone can put in place. When you do the right activities, you will get the right results.
So, what are the key things you need to be thinking about?
First you need to understand the referral process. Skipping any step will ensure you end up with no results. For most people they believe as long as you know what I do, then you should be able to pass me referrals. So, they go out and hand out business cards, have coffee catch ups and try to spread their message as far as possible.
I don’t care what you do, I care that I can like you, trust you and that I can put my name on the line for you. Therefore, we always have to start with TRUST.
Start with trust
Get people to trust you and they will be willing to do a lot more for you. So, forget about spreading the word and handing out cards and start connecting with people so they can trust you.
Next, we need to build our referral teams. Teams of people that sell to the same people we sell to and we don’t compete with one another. So, ask yourself, where else does my client spend money?
All of those people could be potential partners. Building teams of people that can refer business to you because you have the same sort of clients, same sort of networks and you actually want to help one another becomes very powerful.
Once you find these people you need have regular conversations and strategies on how you can help one another.
The reason why most referral relationships fail is that there is a lack of communication and a lack of creating action plans to help one another.
Therefore, both parties don’t see the benefits and the relationship fizzles out and dies.
Once we have found referral partners we need to train them correctly. You wouldn’t expect your sales team to create sales without training them, so don’t expect that your referral partners will create your referrals without training them.
We do this through our referral training manual. (You can grab a copy in the resource section below)
By training our referral partners they now understand how to find you the right sorts of referrals, how to position you correctly and to ensure you win more business.
We talk all the time about building a team of 66 people in your referral teams.
We break those down into - people that we will speak with weekly (Profitability Partners),
- people we speak with monthly (our Super Group),
- people we do one off things with (Cross Promotion Partners),
- people we get to promote us on social media platforms (Content Distributors) and
- people who will make sales for us (Affiliates).
Every person in your referral team understands their role, the framework they are a part of and it is because of the structure that you actually have referral partners doing real things that you get real opportunities and results.
The second part to building your referral system is using your networks more effectively. You all have a network, but how well do you use them?
For most people they grow their network with no real purpose and therefore they can’t really use their network as well as what they should. I say you should be growing your network with people that can buy from you, partner with you and people who can open doors for you.
When you grow your networks with the right sorts of people you can then engage better with you networks, create conversations and therefore create new opportunities to do things that help one another.
However, all of this starts with having the right sorts of people to speak to in the beginning.
Your networks should be great promoters of you. They should be able to share you into their networks and most importantly, they should be ready to promote you if given the chance.
This rarely happens for most people, because they don’t use their networks correctly and they treat their networks as a transaction rather than taking an interest in them and caring about them.
Just imagine if you were treated as a transaction, meaning the only time I spoke to you was when I wanted something. Would you go out of your way to help me?
When we show our networks that we care, when we grow our networks with the right sorts of people and when we personally engage with our networks it is amazing the number of opportunities that will be created for you.
The third and final thing that will help you create your own referral plan is to create leverage and partnerships.
When you leverage into other people’s networks then you get seen by people who previously didn’t even know that you existed. You are getting more exposure without having to pay for advertising.
Doing things like cross promotions, getting on other people’s podcasts, webinars, speaking at other people’s events are all great ways to get more exposure into other people’s networks.
Again, there is an art form to making this happen. If you went up to a podcast owner and said, “Can I be on your podcast?” more often than not the simple answer will be no.
You need to find ways to collaborate, find win/wins and help others.
I have a simple motto, look to help someone else before asking for help.
Partnerships help you build your audience and ensure that you always have a full funnel of people to talk to.
When you build your referral teams, use your networks more effectively and start leveraging into other people’s networks with partnerships then generating referrals and opportunities daily becomes easy.
Michael Griffiths is the founder of Referral Marketing Guru and helps coaches and consultants to build their own referral marketing machines to generate endless amounts of referrals and opportunities into their business.
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