Tuesday, May 16, 2006

One Secret To Dramatically Increase Referrals (and Get More Clients)

One Secret To Dramatically Increase Referrals (and Get More Clients)
By Fabienne Fredrickson

To dramatically increase referrals, it’s important to educate the people you consider personal advocates (those who know you, like you, trust you, love you, and want the best for you), and let them know what you’re up to and who your best clients are.

If you’re just starting out, it’s a letter of introduction; if you’ve been in practice several months or years, write an “update letter” on how your practice has grown or new services that you provide.

The fact is, most people who are your personal advocates will be happy to help (people LOVE to give referrals and to help a friend in business, especially when the person is a trusted friend). It makes them feel good, yet most of us somehow feel that we’re being a burden on our network when we do this. The good news is, it all depends on how tastefully it’s done.

In starting both of my private practices, I sent “warm” letters of introduction letting my friends and family know what I was doing and asking them to think of me when they saw or overheard a particular situation relating to my coaching.

Both times, I received clients right away, and both times, friends also referred people as long after the fact as 6 months to a year after receiving the letter. One referral came 3 years later and it came as a direct result of sending my warm letter of introduction.. It feels awesome to get those phone calls from people you don’t know saying they’d like to work with you.

This will be one of your most effective client attraction tools, and best of all, it’s relatively no-cost to you!

I sent it to everyone I knew, about 10 to 20 a week. I hand-wrote a couple of words at the top to make it more personal. (“Hi Mary! It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other. Would love to catch up over a cup of tea. I’ll call you this week. Best, Fabienne.”)

That following week, I would call the person, set up a meeting for breakfast, lunch or tea, get caught up on their life and talk to them about my new business, asking them if anyone they knew fit my ideal client profile.

The result? Word spread and I received a number of my first round of clients and referrals this way. The idea with this letter is to keep it consistently going out to people in your network. The first time around, in my nutrition business, I sent 250 introduction letters out at the same time. You can also send the letters to five or ten people per week, it’s up to you.

In doing this, you actually set yourself up for getting that first client, that new client or that referral you didn’t know was waiting for you.

Client example:

A client of mine dragged her feet with this idea at first, thinking that it was too sales-y for her personal style and that she wasn’t going to get any leads or new clients that way.. After some coaxing and coaching, she started the process of sending out letters of introduction.

She was absolutely shocked at the results: new clients started coming in and her friends, former colleagues, school friends, and family were the ones referring them. She was thrilled and years later continues to update her personal advocates on what she’s up to, using her update letter.

Your Assignment:

  • Create and send a “warm” letter of introduction as an announcement/update of your practice to contacts that you already know.

  • This includes everyone (your family, friends and colleagues, past clients and acquaintances), EVERYONE.

  • Keep it friendly, as well as educational, but definitely NOT sales-y.

  • You may write a handwritten hello at the top of the page to make it more personal.

  • Follow up one week later with a phone call and invite people to join you for a conversation, either in person for a casual meeting or over the phone.

  • Describe your Ideal Client and ask them if they know someone who might fit that profile.

  • If you have been in practice several months or years, write an “update letter” of how your practice has grown or new services that you provide.

You too will be shocked at how quickly you get new clients and referrals using this simple system. It takes a bit of work upfront, but you’ll be singing all the way to the bank!

If you’d like to see the EXACT letter I used (and got a ton of clients with), pick up a copy of the Client Attraction Home Study System™. The letter is right there for you to use on page 91 and will save you LOTS of time and effort. This tip itself will bring you new clients, as will the other hundreds of low cost Client Attraction strategies. Pick it up here: www.TheClientAttractionSystem.com

© 2006 Client Attraction LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Fabienne Fredrickson, The Client Attraction Mentor, is founder of the Client Attraction System™ and www.ClientAttraction.com, the proven step-by-step program to attract more clients, make more m’oney being self-employed, while having more time off to enjoy it all. To receive your F.R.E.E. Audio CD by mail and get weekly how-to articles on attracting more clients, visit www.ClientAttraction.com.