8 ways to Get More Referrals in Your Service-Based Business

business marketing Mar 05, 2021

Attracting a consistent stream of high-quality, IDEAL clients into your business is a struggle for MANY of the fempreneurs I talk to.

But you know what makes attracting clients SO. MUCH. EASIER?!


Referrals can put an end to the daily struggle to make money in your biz because your ideal clients are being sent your way by trusted colleagues, friends and family!

And the best part? You don't have to lift a finger!

Well, almost.

While we all want referrals, referrals must be earned.

Referrals come once you’ve gained traction by working with clients who love you, and once you’ve put your brand out there in a super clear way; making it obvious who people should send your way.

I receive thousands of dollars worth of referrals in my business every year. But it always hasn’t been this way. Before I discovered what it takes to get more referrals, I was struggling – maybe like you are right now – to attract any clients at all.


1. Work with More Clients

You might want to kick me for saying this (“but Jessie May, I need more referrals to work with more clients!”). I understand this might feel like a chicken or egg situation…

But here’s the deal: go out and do what it takes to attract some clients on your own - I recommend high-value, high-touch marketing activities like speaking or Facebook Lives. (You can check out this Facebook Live training I did on "17 Ways to Market Your Service-Based Biz" for more on this topic).

Referrals are most powerful when they come from someone who has personal experience working with you. Therefore, your past clients are your BEST referral sources.

2. Be Someone Your Clients LOVE to Work With

This may seem obvious, but it’s very important. You must BE someone who your clients adore and you also must DELIVER the highest-quality training and content that blows your clients minds.

I call this your Brand Experience - In other words, what’s the experience you consistently deliver for your clients?  When you deliver a brand experience that your clients LOVE, they will happily refer their friends to you.

3. Show Appreciation by Sharing the Love

Show appreciation to the people who send you referrals by sharing the love. In other words - send them a thank you card ... maybe even with a check inside!

If you have a referral program where you give your referral partners a free session with you, or maybe a percentage of the sale, make sure people KNOW about it!

If you have an office where you see people in person, you could have pretty framed message reminding clients about your referral program in your waiting room, or if you work virtually, send an email or pick up the phone!  

4. Make Sure People Understand What You Do and How You Can Help

Without clear understanding, referrals will not happen. You may be surprised by how many biz owners are GREAT at what they do, but end up going under because they fail to communicate the value they deliver in a clear and compelling way.

When you get clear about 1) who you help, 2) your signature method for helping them, and 3) how to talk about these things in a compelling way - you will start receiving more referrals!

5. Build a Community

This could be a Facebook or Meetup group.

Personally, I started with Meetup back in 2011 and was able to grow my business to 6-figures with JUST a local community.

My group (back then called, Daring Divas), grew to over 2,800 local members and was (and still is!) a HUGE referral source for me. Every month (before COVID), I hosted events with rooms full of 40+ women, and over time many of them became clients and/or referred their friends and family.

Being the leader of these events (now online), where I offer tons of value, immediately positions me as an expert on my topic and builds Know, Like and Trust fast. This is a MUST if people are to feel confident referring their beloved friends and family my way.

If you don’t have your own community yet, don’t worry. Here’s what you can do until you have your own: get in front of other people’s communities (and do it consistently)!

Speak, lead workshops, be interviewed on podcasts, guest blog, and participate in organizations or networking communities where you can start to build relationships.

6. Network (Consistently!)

Speaking of networking ... a great way to attract more referrals is to consistently participate in online and in-person networking events and communities. 

These could be Facebook groups where your ideal clients hang out, monthly networking events like “Dare to Connect!” (here at The Daring Fempreneur) or in-person Meetups in your local community. 

CONSISTENCY is the key though, because showing up once and never returning is a great way to waste your time. 

When you’re consistent, people start to remember your face, name and what you offer, and they think of YOU first when they, or someone they know, needs the type of service you provide.

7. Build Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships are relationships with other business owners who serve the same audience as you do, but offer a complimentary (non-competitive) service.

For example ...

  • If you’re a Massage Therapist, partner with a Chiropractor.
  • If you’re a Graphic Designer, partner with a Business Coach.
  • If you’re a Photographer, partner with a Makeup Artist.

These types of referral relationships work well because while you serve the same audience, you don’t offer the exact same thing, so your service might just be the exact thing your strategic partner's clients need to get the ultimate result they’re looking for.

8. Have a Professional Brand

No matter how great you are at what you do, if your brand is unprofessional or outdated, people will feel less inspired to send referrals your way.

We want to feel confident in, and proud of, the programs and services we recommend. A brand (or lack thereof) that's cheap, sloppy or DIYed will NOT give potential referral partners the assurance they require to send you new business.

Ready to up-level your brand? Check out my Million-Dollar Brand Makeover Program and let's make it happen for you!

Want to Take This Deeper?

Join me every Friday at 10 am Mountain Time, inside The Daring Fempreneur Facebook group, for a free brand-booming training. Bring your questions for on-the-spot coaching!

Watch the replay that goes with this blog post here.


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