Referrals are one of the best ways to get new business – I get requests all the time asking for creative ways to attract the RIGHT referrals. So what are some new and unique ways to get referrals from current clients, and new ways to gain business?
How can you get beyond the scripts and templates, and creatively ask for those referrals to have the accounting firm of abundance you’ve been dreaming of?
I’m going to share 6 creative and effective ways to encourage the RIGHT kind of referrals. These will help set you apart and bring you not just more referrals and clients, but those high quality, low volume clients we all love.
But first….why referrals?
Why Ask for Referrals?
A referral is the key to the door of resistance. A new client is sometimes hard to get; they don’t know you or trust you yet. But when you get referrals from current clients, the prospect will have less resistance because there is less of a barrier between you and your new client. The pressure is off.
I thrive on referrals: they are the best lead. They come because people think WOW Michelle knows her stuff.
Don’t you think that your current clients have friends who trust their friend’s opinion of you and your services? That’s what I mean by removing resistance. They are ready to work with you!
Don’t forget the basics: You need to know who you want to work with to avoid getting referrals that are NOT your ideal client. I’ve been referred to people who are great people, but not the kind of people that I can deliver the best results to.
If you don’t have a referral system in place, you can read more about how to ask for referrals HERE in this blog post.
Now, let’s get to it…
Here are 6 creative ways to get referrals from your current clients.
1. Always Have Referral Cards Handy, No Matter the Time of Year.
I know tax season is the busiest time of year, and you’re seeing LOTS of clients. One of the best ways to get referrals from current clients is to ask for a referral card to be filled out. Think about having a card that is prepared and ready for every single new client and current client. Make it easy for them!
You can keep it simple! It could be an index card if you work with them in person, or an online form that they fill out if you work with clients virtually.
Most of the time, people are happy to do something like this if you ask. If you do their yearly taxes or their tax planning and save them money, they are going to be excited about your work and want to share it with others!
Don’t only ask during high volume times, though – reach out during the slow season. Pick up your phone, do a video call; make a connection.
If you ask, the referrals will start coming!
2. Make a Game Out of It
The first referrals you ask for may feel uncomfortable, but you can find ways to make it fun!
Offering prizes for referrals is always a fun game. You can have clients put names in a hat (even get an Uncle Sam hat if you wish!) anytime they visit your office to pick up their paperwork, drop off paperwork, or come visit your office for any reason.
After a couple of months of gathering referral cards, you can draw a name from the hat and that client wins a prize!
You can make the prizes anything you feel is okay giving away. Obviously, follow rules and regulations, but prizes can be a fun way to get people to share referrals. If you’re seeing a lot of clients – like during tax season – they may find it awesome to drop their name in the Uncle Sam hat!
Here are a few prize ideas:
- Amazon Gift Card
- A day at the SPA with their significant other
- A pack of 4 movie tickets
This can be fun! Give it a try and let me know how it works out.
3. Have Catchy Email Headlines to Entice Online Referrals
You can also have fun asking your email list for referrals. Hook your readers with a catchy headline!
Here are some great examples:
- Can We Count You In?
- Help Us Help YOU!
- We’ve Crunched the Numbers, This is a Win-Win!
Sending these to your email list of current clients can encourage people to enter online giveaways. You’re creating an opportunity for them to enter. Doing these online can also make entering and referring easy!
These create engagement with your current clients, and are, of course, FUN!
4. Do Referrals for a Cause
Giving to a charity is another great way to encourage referrals from your current clients AND give them an opportunity to give back.
Here’s how it works: when a client refers someone, tell them that a portion of the revenue from the referral will go to a charity. It’s like the TOMS method – for every pair of shoes purchased, the company gives a pair away. You can pick anything that is important to you! As a bonus, this will help your current clients get to know you better and build on your existing rapport.
Giving a percentage of the referral revenue to a charity is truly a win-win. It allows you to give back, but it makes the person giving the referral more connected as well – it’s people helping people! This leads to a domino effect as the referrals keep coming.
Find a cause that feels good to you, and share it with your clients.
5. Incentivize Referrals
We all know that I don’t believe in discounting your value, but how can you offer additional, exclusive value to those who give referrals?
What about a VIP club that provides a monthly newsletter with the latest tax information of the month? Give a unique benefit to them as a thank you for their referral.
You can also give them something tangible that they can take back to their office or home. Think about some company swag; a calendar, or a mug. It keeps you and your services in front of them.
I’m also a big believer in handwritten notes and gift cards. iTunes, Amazon – who doesn’t love them! I know the value of a referral for some accountants can be a minimum of $400-600 dollars. A nice hand-written card with a gift card in the same envelope would be an amazing incentive! In your industry there are rules and regulations you must follow, but you can still get creative with non-monetary incentives as well.
Through all of my referrals, I’ve never received anything like this. You can really set yourself apart for your clients with a creative incentive.
6. Follow Up With Previous Prospects
Now, this one comes with a caveat: this is based on your boundaries checklist and your follow up plan. These are the folks you can re-target. They may have not been a good fit as a client, but they may be a great fit for asking for referrals.
Here’s what I mean: If you’re targeting brain surgeons as your ideal client, you might not serve real estate investors. But that real estate investor may know a brain surgeon, and may be able to connect you with an amazing referral! Knowing your boundaries checklist will help with this process.
When used with the other tactics I’ve mentioned, and you can ask freely for a referral from someone who may not be a great fit for you. This could bring in thousands of dollars worth of revenue, and lead to even more ideal clients to grow your firm.
Asking for referrals can be difficult at first, but it will change your business!
Referrals are the life of my business, and I have found so many of my clients have brought me more business than I ever could have found on my own!
I’d like to encourage you to apply one or two of these ways to get referrals from current clients in your business. Your referrals will turn into 2 or 4, and then that turns into 6 or 8, and then that turns into 18-20! The domino effect happens quickly and flawlessly when you keep asking for referrals.
Which of these referral strategies is your favorite, and how will you apply it in your firm today? Let me know below in the comments!
PS. Over the last 18 months, I’ve been perfecting something called the Selling Without Ever Selling System. Up until now only my high-end clients have had access to this information. But I’m so excited about this that I’m offering you a free coaching session so I can share this information with you too.
This system is all about getting your IDEAL clients coming to YOU and finally getting paid what you’re worth so you can build your dream practice and still have the time and money to enjoy your family and kids. If you’re tired of waiting around for business, relying on busy seasons, or guessing at what works, this free coaching session is for YOU.
Learn more at theabundantcall.com.