Referral Marketing for Consultants

There is one secret to making referral marketing really work for your consulting business. It doesn’t require any fancy techniques. You don’t need to purchase a huge system to study it.

The secret is to make getting referrals easy.

I learned this lesson many years ago. I was meeting with a multi-millionaire investor. He actually owned his own private equity firm. We had a nice chat and I found the workings of his business to be very interesting.

But then he asked a question that locked me up. He said, “So Michael, what kind of clients are you looking for?” My response, “Well, I’ve worked with many technology companies, financial publications, consulting firms …” and I continued to list the kinds of companies that made up my clients.

That was a big mistake.

You see, this successful businessman wanted to give me a referral. He wanted to support me and was looking to see if someone he knew might be a potential client.

But I messed it up. By overloading him with information, I made the process of him giving me a referral to be very difficult.

When you ask for referrals, you need to make the process of getting them as easy as possible. Here’s how to do this:

  • Create an image of your ideal client (age, income type, industry, hobbies, etc).
  • Talk about ONE area you focus on.
  • Show or read through a list of neighbourhoods, associations or other list that is relevant to your business and the person you’re talking to.

The idea here is to help jog the memory of the person you’re speaking with – not to overload them with information.

Us humans are strange folks…

We always want more. Our minds tell us that the more we list the better – in reality it’s the opposite. The more focused our approach the better results we’ll see.

If you’re not sure, try it out. I’ve had great results over the years with this, and I know many others that have too.

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  • hannah wiley


    Show or read through a list of neighbourhoods, associations or other list that is relevant to your business and the person you’re talking to.”

    Would you explain what you mean by the above? I have been trying to figure it out and I just cannot. I don’t understand what you mean & even guessing, I don’t understand how to segue into this or what the point or purpose would be. I’m sure it’s useful, I just don’t understand either the purpose or what in fact you are saying to do. I’m getting ready to start asking friends, family & acquaintances for referrals, so am looking for all pointers I can..Thank you.