We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your happy, successful clients are the best marketing tool you will ever have.
When your clients are getting great results, their friends and family are likely to ask what's going on. Of course, they will talk about the amazing nutrition professional they have been working with. (Yes, that's you!)
But you can do even more to get your clients sending people your way. Today we’re going to share some tips on creating a referral program for your nutrition business including what to offer and how to ask for referrals in a non-pushy way.
What to Offer for Referrals
When you’re asking clients to refer their contacts to you, time with you is your most valuable incentive since they’re already paying for that.
Kayla Saint-Onge is a Holistic Nutritionist and BIE practitioner who offers free follow-ups as a referral incentive for her clients.
“I let my clients know that for every three clients they refer to me, who book an initial consultation, their next follow-up appointment is free."
When a new client books, Kayla always asks how they heard about her to determine if they came from a referral and keeps track of this in her practice management software.
Another option is to offer a discount on future sessions for referrals. Nutritionist, Ashleigh Norris, does this by offering clients $25 off their next consultation for everyone they refer to her.
You can also offer nutrition resources as a referral incentive such as a personalized recipe book or customized 7-day meal plan. That Clean Life for Business makes it super quick and easy to build these valuable resources so you can easily offer a referral incentive without having to spend a ton of time on it.
How to Ask for Client Referrals
Asking clients for referrals is not something that comes naturally to most nutrition professionals. But your referral incentive will only work for you if your clients actually know about it!
Here are a few ways you can let your clients know about your referral program:
- Mention it in your newsletter
- Post about it on social media
- Add it to your intake paperwork for clients
- Write a reminder on their meal plans
You can also ask clients for referrals directly when they are feeling really great about their results. Ashleigh Norris does this as a part of her process for collecting testimonials:
"I ask every client or workshop attendee to write a testimonial or review after our program ends or I see amazing transitions happen for them. Timing is critical. I provide a set of questions I've put together thoughtfully depending on what program they completed, which reminds them of their own healing transitions. In this set of questions, I ask for a referral to friends and family and tell them about the incentives.”
Nutritionist, Amy Hardesty, runs referral contests a few times per year to generate referrals from existing clients. The clients who make the most referrals in a one month period win prizes.
"Every quarter I run a contest where the top three referrers get a prize, sometimes it is a free month with me, one time we gave away an Apple watch, we just try to keep people engaged. Weight loss is a sensitive subject, especially for my obese patients, so when they can find the confidence to share what they’re doing it is a win for everyone!"
Tracking referrals can be tricky. Proper tracking can make or break your referral program so it’s important to have a good system in place. Making a note in your client’s file every time you receive a referral from them is the best way to keep track of who has sent you business.
It’s also a best practice to send a personal thank-you note to clients when you receive a referral from them. Just a quick note to show gratitude can go a long way.
Need help with your thank you note? Use the template below to thank your clients when they refer a friend or family member to you:
Hi [Client Name],
I wanted to send you a quick note to thank you and say that I really appreciate you sending [referral name] my way. It means a lot that you trust me enough to recommend me to the people in your life!
To let you know how much I appreciate it I’m offering you [referral incentive].
Can’t wait to see you again!
Remember that it may not always be necessary to offer a referral incentive in your business, but it can definitely help! Viktoria Jones from Solji Nutrition discontinued her referral incentive after some time:
"I originally started offering a referral incentive for $10 per person they referred to me. I did get a lot of referrals, but I noticed most people wouldn't use their credit and still referred people. It was just a little bit of a hassle and since people didn't stop referring I just nixed the referral credit altogether. Most of my clients are happy with the results they get that they want to tell their friends and families about my services."
At the end of the day, the most reliable way to guarantee referrals is to provide a client experience worth talking about!
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