As a complementary therapist, one of the most valuable ways to grow your client base is through word-of-mouth referrals. When I restarted my practice in the UK, I had to start from total scratch. I didn’t even really have any friends to start with, and I was a foreigner. I didn’t have any marketing skills back then, and to be honest, the situation was pretty dire! Once I started working in a Health & Wellness clinic alongside other professionals, I started getting some referrals from them, and clients from the general foot-fall, but it still wasn’t enough to cut it!
I then started studying digital marketing back in 2013 when Facebook advertising was brand new, and the targeting demographics were simply incredible! I used highly targeted ads for 6 months to attract my total ideal clients. I was also working very differently from other therapists because I was offering my services as treatment plans instead of 1-hour sessions. This meant that my clients not only had a unique experience, but they also got great results with me. When you offer something unique – guess what… People talk about it to other people that are just like them! 😉
So after 6 months of targeted social media ads had filled my diary with my ideal clients, and I left them feeling more than satisfied with my services, I never need to market my clinic ever again! My diary stayed full and with a constant waiting list!
Referrals are one of the most valuable ways to grow your practice because they come with built-in trust and credibility.
When a client refers someone to you, they are essentially vouching for the quality of your services and recommending you to someone they care about. This can make a huge difference in how the referred person perceives you and can make them more likely to book a session with you.
Referrals are important for a number of reasons. First, they are a powerful way to attract new clients to your practice without spending a lot of money on marketing or advertising. Instead of relying on cold outreach or paid ads, referrals rely on the trust and relationships that you’ve built with your existing clients.
Second, referrals can help you build a stronger relationship with your existing clients. When you ask for referrals, you’re showing your clients that you value their opinion and that you’re committed to helping more people like them. This can make them feel more connected to your practice and more likely to refer others to you in the future.
Finally, referrals can help you build a reputation as a trusted and respected professional in your field. When people hear about your services through referrals, they’re more likely to see you as an expert in your field and to trust your recommendations and advice.
So how do you encourage clients to send referrals your way without feeling awkward or even asking for referrals directly? Fortunately, there are many ways to encourage clients to refer their friends and family without feeling salesy or pushy.
Here are 7 effective strategies:
- Provide exceptional service: This one goes without saying, but the best way to encourage referrals is to provide an outstanding service that your clients love. Make sure you are delivering a consistently high level of service and unique experience that exceeds your clients’ expectations.
- Create a referral program: Develop a referral program that rewards clients for sending new business your way. This can be as simple as offering a discount on their next session or a free add-on service or 30 mins added to their session for every referral they bring in. Put this information on your aftercare sheet or in the bottom of your automated emails.
- Ask for feedback: After each session, send an email that asks your clients for feedback and if they were satisfied with their experience. People believe themselves, and typing this ‘out loud’ will help to reinforce their positive feelings towards your service and make them more likely to refer others.
- Make it easy: I can’t emphasise this enough! Provide your clients with referral cards or email templates, or a graphic that they can easily share with their network both physically and digitally.
- Showcase client success stories: Share testimonials or success stories from satisfied clients on your website or social media pages. This helps to build trust and credibility with potential new clients and can serve almost as a third-party referral system.
- Focus on high-vibe clients: This isn’t necessarily a tip for generating referrals, but more just a tip! Instead of asking every client for referrals, (especially ones that you find to be emotionally draining!) focus only on your high-vibe clients that leave you feeling energised after working with them. These clients are also who are likely to be more enthusiastic about sharing their positive experiences with others.
- Thank your clients: Always always ALWAYS thank your clients for their business and any referrals they send your way. Showing your appreciation reinforces their positive feelings towards your service and encourages them to refer others in the future!
Of course, change it up to sound like you!
Hey [client name], how’s it going? I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to reach out and say thanks for choosing me as your massage therapist.
If you’re enjoying our sessions together, I’d love it if you could help me spread the word to others who might benefit from my services. I always love working with people who share your interests and wellness goals, so I know that any referrals you send my way would be a great fit for my practice.
If you happen to know anyone who might be interested, feel free to pass along my contact information or direct them to my website. And if they book a massage with me and mention your name, I’ll be sure to give you an extra 20 mins treatment time at your next appointment!
Thanks again for your business, [client name], and please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to make your massage experience even better.
Overall, remember that asking for referrals is simply another way of helping people. If you believe in the work you do and the benefits it can provide, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals from your satisfied clients. You will find that after a short time, your diary will be full of people you adore working with!! I truly believe that this in itself is one of the main secrets to a long-lasting, successful, and thriving career! What are your thoughts?