How To Build A Referral-Based Business
When I think about how some entrepreneurs spend THOUSANDS of dollars every month on Facebook ads, I cringe a little bit. While Facebook ads can be super helpful during a big launch (if done correctly), I think too many entrepreneurs depend on them for the everyday sale.
Back in 2015/2016, I was running Facebook ads almost non-stop. I ran them to get people to sign up on my newsletter list. I ran them to bring attention to my self-study courses. I ran them to promote discovery calls. I depended heavily on social media (and in particular, Facebook ads), to bring my services into the spotlight.
MY LIGHT BULB MOMENT...
I can happily say, I haven't spent a dime on Facebook ads for over a year - I haven't needed to. In 2017 I had an idea - what if I wow my clients so much that they do a big chunk of the marketing for me? Fast forward to today, and my business is largely referral-based - meaning, at least 50% of my new clients come to me on the suggestion of a past/current client of mine.
BUILDING A REFERRAL-BASED BUSINESS
Here's how I did it:
Under Promise, Over Deliver. In my experience, this is by far the BIGGEST thing that has helped contribute to a beyond satisfied client. The recurring compliments and reviews I receive include delivering my services way before the due date, responding fast to client inquiries, and providing quality work. I do my best to create a stress-free and joyful experience for my clients, resulting in them being wowed to the point of sharing their experience with their friends, family, colleagues and business associates.
Take a close look at your current offerings and see where you can make improvements. Ensure that you haven't been over promising and under delivering.
Make it a No-Brainer. In my coaching welcome packet (and for most seasonal programs), I map out the referral process for my clients. For a high-ticket program, it's usually along the lines of: "For anyone you refer to me who purchases a 4 week program of mine and pays in full, you receive your choice of CDN$250 or a 45 minute coaching session with me. For anyone who purchases a 90 day program of mine and pays in full, you receive CDN$250 AND a 45 minute coaching session with me."
You do NOT need to offer money or extra services though. Remember, if you can achieve point 1 above (under promise, over deliver), your clients will do it for you anyways and not expect anything.
Ask them. Sometimes it's best to get straight to the point. If you have a client who has been raving about you to YOU, ask them if they wouldn't mind sharing their experience with others in your Facebook group, on your podcast, or in another forum. The more others share their experiences, the more word gets around.
I have one client who has purchased from me over 35 times. Most of my clients are repeat clients who have also referred their colleagues to me. I once designed a nutrition intake form for a soon-to-be nutrition grad, who went and showed it to her classmates, resulting in over 10 new referrals within days.
It's amazing what word of mouth can do and how fast it can spread. For that reason alone, always strive to under promise and over deliver - it's literally been the key to my success this year. And with Facebook ads crossed off my list, one less thing this entrepreneur's got to worry about ;)
Keep on rockin' those big dreams of yours!