How To Convert A Referral

The steps to convert a referral into a client

Converting referrals into clients has more to do with the power of your branding and marketing than you might have imagined.

Many entrepreneurs get business from referrals and wonder why they should continue to invest time, effort or money into any marketing if they get clients from word of mouth anyway. 

It is a valid question, but to convert a client from a referral, you still need to build credibility and trust. And for that, you need to have branding and marketing in place.

It can take between 6 to 20 touch points to convert a referral into a client

To illustrate that even better, here’s a story about one of our current clients who came from a referral, how we converted her and how the power of our brand influenced her decision to work with us. The story goes like this…

Hearing about your work: Touchpoint #1 & #2

We worked with a client called Jessica who was very happy with our collaboration. Abby was Jessica’s friend and she was coming up against some challenges in her own business. She sees the work we produced for Jessica and asks her who is helping with her branding and marketing. Jessica talks to her about us, The Orange Notebook. That is touchpoint no 1: Abby gets to hear about us for the very first time.

Introduction and connections: Touchpoint #2 & #3

Moreover, Jessica speaks highly about our approach, our personality and makes Abby curious to get to know us, so Abby asks for an introduction. Jessica sends an email putting us in touch. That is touchpoint no 2. Apart from that, we also connect on LinkedIn which is touchpoint no 3.

Checking your online presence: Touchpoint #4 & #5

In our discovery call, Abby says “I looked at your website and I love it”. This is touchpoint no 4. “I love the look, the vibe, what you talk about, it’s very professional”, she says. She mentions checking our social media and relating to the content we put out; touchpoint no 5.

Converting referrals means that your prospect clients will check out your online presence

So far, Abby has been able to:

  • See the work we produced for Jessica showcasing our concern for quality
  • Hear Jessica’s testimonial discussing how she experienced The Orange Notebook
  • Conduct her own research on our website and discover case studies, our story and the value we offer
  • Review our LinkedIn presence and read more about expertise and academic qualifications

Because we always want to see evidence that what we’re being told is trustworthy. 

Connecting after the call: Touchpoint #6 & #7

As we discuss Abby’s challenges in our introductory call, we treat it not as a sales call, but as a coaching call. It is essential for Abby to see value, so that she can decide we are the right experts to help with her problem. She takes lots of notes and seems very happy and engaged. At the end of the call she says she would like to work with us and asks for a proposal; touchpoint no. 6.

We made sure the proposal addressed everything discussed in the call, packaged it nicely in our branding livery and sent it across. A week goes by without an answer. So we followed up with an email (touchpoint no. 7), offering to clarify any questions. A few days later, we get the reply: “Thank you so much for the proposal. I checked everything and it’s very thoughtful, it looks like exactly what I need. I would love to work with you, please send me the contract”. Contract and the first session were approved and booked within the next couple of days. Yaaaay!

To convert a referral you have to think beyond a discovery call

Looking back on this, we understood that among the things that influenced Abby’s decision to work with us was that instead of a salesy call, we actually delivered a mini-coaching call. In a way, she got a teaser of how we could work together. She could understand first hand that we can help her.

Next, the proposal we sent took into consideration everything that she shared with us and offered tailored solutions to her specific problems. 

And finally, the contract showcased security, professionalism and respect. 

Converting a referral into a signed contract can take a minimum of 7 touchpoints

Altogether this communicated the message that we are serious about our business, we treat our clients with respect and we produce quality work in our business.

So this is how we converted a referral into a client. But more importantly it was about how the power of branding and marketing influences clients’ decisions. 

You could call it subtle, subliminal even, but without all these elements being well connected, and a consistent brand presence at every single touchpoint, this story would have ended differently and we would have never converted Abby from referral to client.

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