Sign a new client this month with zero marketing on your part.

Yes, you read that right. I am sharing how a solid referral program can stream new clients into your business… without having to constantly hustle. 

Sometimes we forget what straight up G-E-N-I-U-S’s we are.

And I often say to my clients, “I wish you saw yourself the same way I see you.”

Chances are, you know what I am talking about.

I am 100% sure you have a friend of family member who “toots your horn” faster than a taxi cab driver in NYC. They’re out sharing your contact info and giving you total props on the awesome work you do!

So, why are we NOT using this in our marketing strategy?

Incentivizing our clients, former clients, friends, family, and business associates to spread the word about you/your business (AKA free marketing) is the easiest way to gain new clients.

There’s no doubt a personal referral is the strongest recommendation you can receive.

A recommendation, will tempt a potential client (a total cold lead) to quickly schedule a call with you. This quick action is unlike the hours you spend nurturing your email address to book a call with you! 

Not only that, it’s proven when a lead comes from a recommendation there is a higher percentage they will become a client. 

Ugg.. the joys of referrals, why can’t our entire business be this way?

 So, why do most small businesses neglect having a referral system to consistently filter in new clients? 

Ready to consistently incentivize others to drive business your way?

Let’s break down how to implement a solid referral program into your business and start getting the word out today! 

There’s no doubt small businesses have always thrived off of word of mouth. 

Think about this, if your best friend called you right now raving about the most amazing ice cream cone she just ate. I bet, you’re going to be checking out the ice cream shop in no time.

Same goes for our businesses. Let’s set you up as the ice cream shop! 

This simple to follow 3-step process should take you all of 20 minutes! Plus I am sharing 11 ways to get the word out about your new, shiny referral program! 

Step 1: Who receives a referral bonus?

It doesn’t matter if you are brand spanking new to business or if you have hundreds of clients. You want to ensure you’re rewarding anyone that sends business your way! 

A solid referral program can reward friends, family, business acquaintances, current customers,  past customers. Anyone that is knowledgeable about your business or your abilities. 

If you are starting the program today, you can decide if you want to go back and reward anyone that has sent you business in the past. You can always just start fresh with today being day one. 

Step 2: The terms of your referral program.

Having solid guidelines in place for your referral program will make it crystal clear for both you and the people referring business to you. These are things you need to lay out. 

  • What constitutes a referral bonus? Is it when a new client signs on?
  • Lay out a process of identifying who referred clients and how you can get in touch with them. 
  • When will you pay your referral bonus to the recipient? 

For example in my business, I consider a new client as someone who’s signed a contract/agreement and paid their first invoice.

When I first onboard new clients I ask them if they were referred by anyone. 

You can do this on the initial form for your clarity call. Or on your on-boarding process.

(Don’t have an on-boarding process? I’ve got you covered… steal my process here!) 

I send out referral bonuses at the first of the month and the 15th. The payments are sent through Paypal. I also write a personalized handwritten note and drop it in the mail!

Pro-Tip: Don’t wait too long to send out your bonus! When someone receives a referral bonus they don’t want to wait 90 days! That doesn’t scream, “I appreciate you.”

Step 3: Bonus Structure 

Here is the thing, we are all in different phases of business. If you are just launching or still building your clientele, you may not be able to give a cash bonus. 

$50 may be going to paying your bills and staying in business. 

You will need to think, what would is cost effective but still show the person that you appreciate the referral? (perceived value being greater than actual value) 

You can think along the lines of a Starbucks gift card or Amazon gift card. A small token that can easily fit within your budget. Also, I would highly suggest a handwritten card at this point as well! 

Cash is king.

If you are a in a position to send cash referrals, they’re two ways you can do this. The first is just using straight up dollar amounts. 

You can do straight up dollar amounts.

Example: If you refer one person you receive $50! 

Now, if you really want to incentivize people you can create a tiered system.

1st referral $50

2nd referral $100

3rd referral $150

This means if someone sends 3 people your way you would be sending them $300!

If you are thinking, wait that is a lot of money. Let’s do a little math.

If your average client is $3,000 and someone referred 3 people to you. You have the potential of making $9,000. 

Paying out $300 is less than 4% of your total revenue for three clients. 

The second option is setting up a percentage of how much you make. 

If a new client signs on for a 3-month session for $3,000 and you pay out 10%. You would send your referral $300!

Laying out the terms and setting everything up. Pretty easy. This should take you no longer than 20 minutes. 

Now that everything is in place. How can you get the word out about your shiny new referral program (without hustling)?

Step 4: Getting The Word Out 

Not everyone you’ll meet will be a potential client…
(if you missed the 30-day challenge of how to make money in your business, check it out here- total game changer)
but having a referral program in place takes all those people you meet and turns them into a marketing outlet for you.

Here are 11 ways you can start marketing your referral program today

  • Send an email to your existing subscribers. To specifically target market, email people on your list, who are or were clients.
  • Strategically place your referral program on your website- add it to your navigation bar on your home page.
  • Google sheets- I created a business referral page in google and shared it with other businesses! This way if I need to refer someone out I just reference this list! (add your business here)

  • Meeting someone in person? Casually mention your referral program while handing them your business card. Bonus if you add your referral program to your business card! They may have a lead they magically remember when they realize they will receive $300!
  • Promote the program in your email signature
  • Add it to your social media bios.
  • Next time you pay out a referral bonus ask the individual what they will be using the money for!
  • Create a post for your social media channels highlighting your bonus and share how your newest bonus recipient is spending their money:  “sipping cocktails at the beach!”
  • CTA (call to action) on your blog posts.
  • Find an influencer willing to spread the word!
  • Add it to your confirmation or thank you pages. Especially when someone signs up for your email.
    Make a video about your referral program and share it on social media, your website or in a blog post.

Hands down, having a referral based program set up in your business is the easiest way to have consistent customers. (Without having to hustle!) Not to mention, it is easy!

A testimonial from a past client, friend or family member is the fastest way to take a cold lead to a client! Now you have the opportunity to add this to your marketing strategy!

Here is a great example of Kristi from Signify having an amazing referral page on her website! Check it out!


Are you ready to launch your own referral program?

 Leave me a comment and tell me about your business, your target audience, and your shiny new referral program! If you added any additional items share those as well! 

If you are ready to put solid systems in place for your business and looking to hire a strategist… And this article resonates with you.  Book a 15-minute call and let’s discuss your business goals today!