The best way for coaches, consultants, trainers and professional service providers to build their practices and fully develop their businesses is by getting the people that they are working with or have worked with to refer them to other people that may benefit from the same type of services that they offer.
And the best way to get referrals is by getting results for your clients. Not only getting results, but then documenting these results for the ‘world’ to see.
You get hired as a consultant, coach, trainer or professional service provider to achieve a result for your client. The better you are at delivering that result will go a long way in determining how many and the quality of the referrals you receive from your clients.
There are a couple of very specific ways to get the results for your clients that will lead to quality referrals. I would like to share with you a couple of things I do in my practice that work very well.
First, I always have my clients sign a formal written agreement prior to working with me. No exceptions . . . ever. My experience has shown me that when results are not achieved or not achieved as fully as desired, it usually is the result of not having clear expectations in the beginning of the engagement.
A formal agreement helps set the proper expectations for both parties. I keep my agreements relatively simple, but there are always provisions to address the following:
- An overview of the objectives we will accomplish
- The time frame in which we will accomplish these objectives
- My responsibilities to my client
- My client’s responsibilities to me
- Investment for the program
- Payments schedule
- Confidentiality provisions
Secondly, I make sure that everyone is crystal clear on what the result we are seeking is and I actually have my new client talk through this a bit with me. For example, here is one of the first questions I ask at our opening meeting.
“In six months, (or whatever the specified time frame of your engagement is) what is the result that will make you delighted in your decision to hire me?” Describe for me in words what that is, what it feels like, etc.”
I actually record my client describing this, type it out, print it and keep it in the front of my client’s file, so that I never forget exactly what I was hired to do and what a delighted result is for my client when working with me. This step should be done above and beyond any type of formal agreement you have the client sign prior to working with them.
Once you have achieved results, what are the best ways to document these so that referrals will follow?
Here are the ones I use and seem to work the best for coaches, consultants and professional service providers:
- Testimonials – Testimonials, when done right, are a very effective way to build your referrals. Testimonials should be on all your marketing material including websites, marketing kits, direct mail, e-mail, etc. They can be in written form, audio, or video.
- Case Studies – Case studies are an effective method for you to demonstrate challenges your clients may have experienced and how you were able to resolve some or all of these challenges by your program, system or advice. Case studies should also be communicated in all of your marketing communications.
- Ambassadors – Ambassadors take the notion of a delighted client to the next level. These are the people that want to share with the world how much you have helped them, changed their business or lives and they are very happy to promote you in a more formal way. You only need a handful of these folks to drive your business to new heights. You should nurture these people by educating them on the best ways to refer you or your business to others.
If you deliver results for your clients, then document these results in a formal way, the quantity and quality of your referrals will increase dramatically.
To your success,