Getting referrals from existing clients can be one of the best and most cost effective ways of securing new clients. If you’d like to maximise this channel more, then Lisa Wight shares just how to do that. But she also shares a word of warning. This might seem like a great way to gain leads, but it’s not always as smooth sailing as you may hope.

Okay, let’s start sensibly. Before you can hope to get leads in from clients, the first thing you must have is a clear coaching strategy that will help clients to achieve results. I’m going to take it as a given that you have, but if you feel there is room for improvement here, then maybe just take a little time to look at that first.

To capitalise on the opportunity of getting referrals from existing clients, you need to be achieving results, but you also need to be capturing those results. You need to be recording the key data from day one – whether it’s net profit, turnover, sales, conversion rates, or lead generation. It doesn’t matter what you’re recording, but you must recognise the importance of statistical data. Make sure you get the baseline data when you first start, and then have periodic check in points. That could be at each coaching session, or maybe every three months or six months.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re capturing this in a chart or summing it up in a spreadsheet. The point is that you’re keeping a record of some description whereby you can visibly see progress from when you first start working with a client to where they are today.

The idea is that by collecting that data, you’re regularly having a conversation around progress, and you’re ultimately reinforcing the fact that things are getting better. And they’re getting better because you’re working with them.

As soon as they start to see this for themselves, it builds a psychological lead up into then asking for referrals. It means that when you do get to the point of asking for a referral, it’s going to be far more natural and you’re going to have a higher chance of them saying yes.


You may be sitting there, very pleased with the work you’ve done, eager to ask your client to give you an introduction. But you have to see it from their perspective if you’re going to secure that yes. The fact is that when someone makes an introduction, they’re putting their reputation on the line. And it’s vital that you constantly keep that in mind.

Your clients will need to be confident in your ability, feeling reassured that you’re going to achieve results for their colleague or acquaintance or friend – whoever they refer. You need to assure them that you are going to treat that introduction with respect, that you are going to communicate well, and that you are going to contact them in a timely manner.

That means there’s a certain amount of relationship building that you need to do before you can actually ask for a referral.

Role Play

Let’s play it out so we can see it working in practice.

Let’s say I’m your coach. We’ve had a few sessions and we’re now starting to get results. You could say we have a good relationship and you’re very happy with the results we’ve achieved so far. In fact, you’ve told me this very thing. But even if you hadn’t it could be useful for me to ask.

I’d literally say, “How do you feel it’s progressing?” You should never be afraid to ask questions and pull that information out of clients.

However, when it comes to asking for the referral, you need to be smart. I wouldn’t say, “Hey, do you know any other business owners like you that I could help?” I would actually want to be really specific.

For example, let’s pretend I am helping you with an employee engagement issue. It seems your team isn’t that motivated. As soon as I’ve started getting the results to show that, by working with me, the team has become more engaged, I would then follow this up.

I would say to you, “Do you know of any other business owners who have similar issues with their teams?”

Because I bet your bottom dollar that these business owners have talked to other business owners about the issues they’re facing. The only exception here might be if it’s a very personal or ego related issue, but generally business owners will talk to their peers. We all do. So by me asking the client specifically, they’re highly likely to think of someone relevant.

And when and if that’s the case, I then follow up with, “Do you think the work I’ve done with you could be of benefit to that person?” Nine times out of ten they’ll say yes.

Then I’d go on to ask, “Would you be willing to introduce me to them? Because I’d love to have a chat with them to see if I can help them like I’ve helped you.” Again, nine times out of ten they say yes.

If you want that magic yes, then you need to do some groundwork in the relationship building stage, but when you’ve done the work, the results can be fruitful.

Word of Warning

So you now know how to secure those referrals. But I said I had a word of warning, and here it is.

You need to realise that you probably don’t want to get referrals from all of your clients. The reason I say this is because some clients are better than others. It’s not down to whether they’re a good or bad client per se. What you need to factor in is how well suited they are to you.

For example, perhaps the client is a bad payer. Perhaps the client insists on meeting in person when really you want to work online. Or perhaps the client is very negative, and you don’t want to be around that kind of energy. You want more positive and growth mindset clients.

I think it was Jim Rohn who said: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” That means the people that your client is likely to refer you to are probably going to be similar to them, because that client mostly likely has a close relationship with this prospect they’re recommending.

So if you have got a client that isn’t the best fit for you, I would be cautious about asking them for referrals.

Get Recording

Remember, every time you solve a problem for a client, it’s an opportunity to ask for a referral. But to prove you’ve solved that problem, you need the data to back it up. That’s where hubbix can be your friend. You can track actions, track KPIs and track what you’ve been working on through the system. That means it becomes your all in one place for securing those referrals.

It can also help you to refine your coaching strategy, if this is something you are looking to improve.

If you haven’t got your system in place yet, take a look at hubbix. It could be the answer you’ve been looking for.