Struggling to Generate Client Referrals?




In my role as a business coach, I speak to clients a lot about client referrals.

Or more specifically, why people in the fitness industry struggle to generate client referrals.

There seems to be this expectation that if you're good at what you do and play your part by referring others, then reciprocation will kick in and people will refer you.

I don't know about you but that rarely happened for me.

If you think about it, expecting people to refer you spontaneously just because they know you and you might have referred them is expecting a lot.

Just think of what has to happen inside their head for them to be able to refer you confidently.

Content Referrals

Make It Clear What Your Offer Is

Firstly, they need to know that the person they'll be referring you to really needs what you have to offer.

Otherwise, they'll be wasting both your time and theirs.

(Hint: have you made it clear who would be a good referral for you and what would indicate that they might need your help).

Deliver Your Best

Secondly, they need to be confident that you'll do a great job.

You might think it goes without saying, but it rarely does - especially since their reputation is on the line when they refer you.

(Hint: focus your attention for referrals on people who have seen you in action - for example clients and ex-clients.And find ways such as workshops to demonstrate your expertise to people who haven't worked with you).

Be Top Of Mind

Thirdly, you need to be top of mind.

Most people don't wander the streets constantly thinking about how to refer others.

So you need to make sure they remember you.

(Hint: do you systematically keep in touch with your top potential referrers in a way that adds value to them just like you would do with your top potential clients?)

Deliver Value

Fourthly - and this is the most overlooked one - they have to be confident they're not just setting up the person they're referring you to for a sales pitch.

Now you might think your approach is not pitchy at all.

It's friendly, you get to know the people you get referred to, you find out their needs, and you only offer your services if appropriate.

But to a potential referrer and the person they'd be referring you to, that's still a sales pitch.

It's still a meeting or calls with the primary purpose of getting you some business - even if they would benefit from your services downstream.

There's no inherent value in the meeting itself to the person they refer you to.

Is it any wonder they're hesitant to refer?

They have to be really convinced of the downstream value to run the risk of introducing their friends and colleagues to someone whose main motivation is to sell something to them - even if they're going to do it ever so nicely.

So change that dynamic around. Don't make the referral about you getting business. Find a way to make it about the person they refer you to getting value.

Have you written a book or created a case study or report that potential clients would find really valuable?

Then make the referral all about getting that to them, not about meeting with you to talk about working together.

Or turn a meeting into a "high-value briefing" where you share some valuable information about them.

Not a "strategy session" or "needs assessment" or "initial consultation" that's all about finding out what they need so you can offer something to them.

Make it a session where you give something valuable to them without expecting to discuss how you could help them.

If you do those sessions, and the content is valuable and relevant enough, many people will ask how you could help them.

But the key is that they're far keener to have a pure value session than one where the agenda is really about you finding out their needs so you can offer something to them or...

Content Referrals: start to build a relationship

..."start to build a relationship".

(And, of course, they're far more likely to say yes to working with you if they've asked about it themselves rather than feeling they've been steered into it by your clever strategy session script).

Being good at what you do and being generous at giving referrals is the foundation.

But you'll get far more client referrals yourself if you can follow all four of these steps (especially the last one).

And your contacts will refer you enthusiastically rather than doing it out of a sense of duty.

Let us know how you get on 🙂

About the author, Andrew Wallis

From two decades in the corporate world to finding my freedom in fitness, I'm known as Braveheart—a Personal Trainer turned marketing maestro for Fitness Professionals. I'm all about unlocking potential and empowering Fit Pros to grow their businesses. 'Finding Your Freedom' isn't just a mantra; it's a collective journey I embark upon with my clients.

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