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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group


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How to you encourage your clients to give you referrals


I'm not sure yet whether I have met a trainer who likes doing cold calling... If I am honest, I am like the majority of trainers, and would prefer to receive all my new business via referral from people who know me and existing clients.

The question is, how do you encourage, without being pushy, your network and current clients to give you referrals. (That actually do turn into some work)

It's a good question, and one which many other professionals, not just trainers. would love to know the answer too! Firstly, before you can expect any referrals from your current clients you need to make sure you are doing a good job with them. Therefore, if you have a high attrition rate and struggle with getting more work from your existing clients, then you need to address these issues first, BEFORE trying to get referrals from your current clients.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Know who you want to meet!

This is probably the number one reason why trainers  struggle to get referrals from their existing client base. If you are asking in vague terms about who you want to meet - i.e

[quote]HR decision makers in corporates[/quote]

Then you will struggle with getting many targeted referrals. 

Get really specific about who you want to meet - what size of company? Where in the UK will the company be based? What are the key characteristics of the company? (Structure, ownership, product/service) What will the HR department look like? Will the HR department have a training manager? What typical things will you hear people from the company saying?

2) Do your research

Get active on LinkedIn and connect with your current clients on LinkedIn. Then each week give yourself a task to go through the one of your client's contacts on LinkedIn. Which three people from their connections would you love an introduction to? (And, why - try to couch the 'why' in terms of a benefit for the client/contact, not you personally.) Then in your next scheduled meeting or call with the client, ask for an introduction to these three people.

3) Ask for introductions from your clients at the right time

Getting introductions is all about timings. I.e. at the end of a course, when you and the client are exhausted is not the right time to ask for any introductions. However, when you get some good feedback from your clients take the opportunity to ask them the question:

"I love working with people similar to you, who else do you know who would also need this service? Can you introduce them to me please"

4) Start making introductions for your clients

Look through your client list. Who would benefit from knowing who? Give yourself a target to make one useful introduction each week to one of your clients. You will be amazed how many of your clients will start to reciprocate.


Author Credit

Heather Townsend helps professionals become the Go-To-Expert. She is the author of the  award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking’ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 1000 professionals at every level of the UK's most ambitious professional practices.

Heather blogs regularly at Partnership Potential, How to make partner andJoined Up Networking

Author Profile Picture
Heather Townsend


Read more from Heather Townsend

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