In today’s episode of Nutrition for Your Business, we’re showing you how you can get a steady stream of clients by leveraging something super powerful that most health professionals completely overlook: referrals.
There’s a lot of hype out there when it comes to marketing your business. Sales funnels, lead magnets, free challenges and more.
But... let’s be real.
In order to implement all of these things, you’d need to be a full-time digital marketer, and that probably isn’t what you signed up for when starting a nutrition business, right? We think it is probably safe to assume you signed up to help people achieve better health, so you might feel totally overwhelmed by the thought of having to market your business.
Well, good news.
We’re here to tell you that you can focus on serving your people and still get a steady stream of new clients without having to spend a ton of time on marketing. You can do this simply by making your clients successful and leveraging the power of referrals.
We truly believe that a successful, raving client is the most powerful marketing tool you will ever have. Pair that with a strong referral network of other health professionals and you have a marketing strategy that literally speaks for itself.
We know tons of health professionals who are growing their businesses on referrals alone, simply because they rock at what they do and have strong relationships. Today we’re going to show you how you can do the same.
Getting Referrals from Clients
First things first. In order for your clients to refer their friends and family to you, the quality of your services must be amazing.
When you focus on making your clients successful and ensuring they are satisfied, they will naturally tell other people about how awesome you are. That is why we say a successful raving client is the most powerful marketing tool you will ever have.
A wise person once said, “One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” and this is absolutely true. A successful client telling their friends about you is way more powerful than any form of advertising.
Research shows people trust referrals from people they know and are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. It’s human nature to talk about the things we love. People talk about services that have helped them, and the people who offer them. Focus on making your clients happy and they will refer you to their friends and family without you having to do a thing.
With all of that being said, there are a few things you can have in place to further encourage your clients to refer you to their friends and family.
1. Offer a Referral Program
A referral program allows you to reward your clients for spreading the word about your services.
To set up a referral program, simply decide what you will offer as the referral incentive and then tell clients about it. We’ve seen health professionals offer things like complimentary follow-up appointments, a discount on their programs and services and personalized meal plans or recipes books in exchange for referrals.
Remember. Your referral program will only work if your clients know about it. You can educate clients about it via email, social media, on their paperwork or in-person. A simple blurb or statement like “Refer a friend and get a complimentary personalized meal plan!” will definitely grab your client’s attention make them think more seriously about referring you to their friends.
To track referrals, always ask new clients how they heard about you. If you learn that they heard about you from one of your clients, you can reach out to say thank you and provide them with the referral bonus. Saying thank you for referrals is so important as it lets your clients know how much you appreciate it, and makes them more likely to refer more people in the future.
2. Ask Clients for Referrals
If having a referral program isn’t your jam, no worries. There is nothing wrong with simply asking for referrals.
When a client expresses how happy they are with their results or your service, that is the perfect time to ask them for referrals. Tell them how happy you are to hear that they are loving your services, and since things are going so well, you were wondering if they have any friends or family that could also use your help with their nutrition.
3. Offer a Sample of Your Work
Another thing you can do to promote referrals is to create something valuable your clients can share with their friends and families like a meal plan or recipe book with your branding and contact info on it. When they see how much value you provide and know you are working with someone they trust, they will be much more likely to consider working with you.
4. Ask for a Review
And finally - consider asking your happy clients to leave a review of their experience with you whether it is on your Google business page or your public Facebook page.
A glowing review will go a long way when people are searching for your services.
Getting Referrals From Fellow Health Professionals
We’ve talked about a lot of powerful ways you can generate referrals from clients, but another great way to get referrals is from fellow health and wellness practitioners.
There are many times clients come to you with problems that might be outside of your scope of practice or that require complementary care to help solve. This is when having a referral network comes in handy, which is essentially a group of other businesses you band together with to provide referrals to one another. When your client has a need you can’t meet, you can refer them to someone in your referral network who can better help, and they will do the same for you.
So who should be in your referral network?
Well, essentially anyone who offers awesome services your clients could benefit from.
- Personal Trainer
- Naturopathic Doctor
- Social Worker
- Massage Therapist
- Registered Medical Professionals
- Nurse Practitioners
Also think about businesses that offer items that would improve your client’s lives:
- Health Food Stores
- Fitness Studios
- Healthy Cafes
- Meal Delivery Services
Remember that a strong referral network needs to flow both ways. In order to be successful, you have to be referring your clients to the professionals in your network, and they must be referring clients to you. This means you should aim to partner up with established practitioners who are serving just as many clients as you, otherwise, you might end up on a one-way street.
Just like with client referrals, providing those in your referral network with something they can give to their clients when they tell them about you can definitely help encourage referrals, like a sample meal plan or branded recipe book. These resources are much more effective than a business card as they provide value and help the client get to know about what you offer.
Again, don’t forget to send a thank-you note when you receive a referral from a fellow health care professional. A small thank you goes such a long way. It lets the person who made the referral know how much you appreciate it and makes them more likely to continue making referrals in the future. With that thank you, remind them that you will be sure to make referrals to them whenever possible!
When you are working hard to ensure your clients are successful and build professional relationships, you really set yourself up to have a consistent stream of clients through referrals alone. This is such a great client acquisition strategy for health professionals as it doesn’t require any fancy marketing tactics and happens really organically, in a way that you can feel good about.
We really can’t stress it enough: Word of mouth marketing is one of the most powerful drivers of growth for your business. People trust referrals way more than any form of advertising, so do yourself a favor and don’t sleep on this.
You do not need to be a full-time digital marketer to be successful as a health professional. Set your business up for a steady stream of referrals by focusing on your client’s success and building relationships with other health and wellness professionals.