Paying It Forward Is A Numbers Game
I’m excited today to share with you what I’ve been teaching high school students, teachers and homeschooling parents now for about a decade.
It’s the Art of Referring.
See, if you’re a parent, this applies to you.
If you’re a teacher, this applies to you.
If you’re a TNC, health coach or other professional in the field of helping people, this applies to you.
If you’re in any profession, this applies to you.
Basically, if you are a human being, the Art of Referring applies to you and is something that will greatly benefit you in your personal and professional life.
We learned on Day 3, from Paul Hatch, that people are everywhere and people are responsible for elevating our successes in life - through our connections with them.
If you didn’t catch that interview and aren’t part of the series, you can read up on Paul here in Finding Joy In Relationships. It’s worth your time!
Here’s how the Art of Referring Others doubles as Paying It Forward and a Numbers Game.
This is taken from an article I wrote for my own site EducationLady.com back in 2014. While my first path to referrals was all about tutoring, please do not let that stop you from getting the message here.
Case in point, I met Karen, my new amazing friend and now super-awesome partner in this thing called AEIOU.world through, what? You guessed it, a referral.
Referrals work. Referrals pay it forward. Referrals help others first and help you second.
Watch my interview with Karen (register for 28 Days to access it!) to fully grasp this piece - it’s important.
But first, dive into this article and think how YOU can start referring others today AND asking for a referral tomorrow.
Why Referrals Should Be The Cornerstone of Your Business
And How To Easily Get Them In Seven Steps
by Education Lady, Jill R. Stevens
When was the last time someone sent a referral your way?
If you can’t tell me today, yesterday, or this week, then you are leaving money on the table and sinking a no-to-low-cost opportunity to easily grow your business.
Thirteen years ago, I started the Center 4 Learning, a tutoring business, in the fabulous Florida Keys. I, a fresh-faced English teacher, went house-to-house in my bright yellow VW Beetle, tutoring anything from math to writing to test prep to organizational skills.
My business started with one referral. The mother of a student told another mother, of a struggling senior, that I might be able to help with essays and college applications.
Within two months my part-time, after-school tutoring hobby took off and I had ten students. Within another month, I had twenty and within six months, I was making more as a tutor than I was paid as a teacher.
You might be asking, what does this have to do with helping me get referrals?
My entire business started and grew by referral only. That should show you the power of a single referral.
I had no advertising budget and no online presence. My clients came strictly from word-of-mouth.
A good problem to have, right?
Referrals should be the lifeblood of your business. No matter what service or niche you’re in, the best way to gain a new client is from a happy one you are already serving.
Seven Tried & True Steps To Open the Flood Gates On Referrals
1. Open Your Mouth & Be Visible
Start telling people what you are doing and who your ideal client is.
Remember you have to be visible so they REMEMBER you when it’s time to hire you and/or refer you.
2. Get To Know Your Current & Future Clients.
This might sound silly but this is vitally important.
When you talk with a potential client take notes. Remember the little things. I am a firm believer in Relationship First and Business Will Follow.
I learned this from my own mentor and it’s served me well. It takes what I want out of the equation and puts the focus on the client – where it should be.
3. Immediately Send a Handwritten Thank You Note to Every New Client
Whether you have 5 to write or 55, the power of this one step is awesome and will make you memorable.
Give this task to an assistant or hire a reliable high school student with great penmanship to come in once or twice a week and write those thank you cards.
All you have to do is sign them.
4. Send a Handwritten Birthday Card
Be sure to include something personal about their child, their business, their dreams or goals. Go back to the notes you took when you were “getting to know your client” as mentioned in Number 2 above.
5. Edify Your Client - Always
Always speak LIFE into them, their actions and their abilities.
This breeds trust and loyalty while building confidence.
Confidence in you and in themselves. You want confident clients because confidence breeds success.
6. Ask for the Referral
Yep! Ask for it. I ask for testimonials too. And people give them. Get used to asking the question:
What are three things you liked about what you just (saw/heard/watched/did)?
Those answers are your testimonial.
Then you can follow up with: Is there anyone you know who may be in need of ________?
Simply fill in the blank with what you have to offer. In my case, I would have said “tutoring”.
7. New Client From A Referral Equals Reward
Send everyone who refers you a “Thank You” Card – yep, handwritten by your intern or high school hire with your signature.
This implies you start asking the question of every new client: How did you hear about us? Now my rule of thumb is this: Card. Card. Gift-Card.
When I received two referrals from one person, resulting in two new clients for me, I send a Thank You Card each time.
On the 3rd referral that earns me a client, I send a handwritten note edifying them and include a Gift Card to something/somewhere that matters to them.
Now I’d love for you to create your own simple system using these 7 pointers then head over to connect with me on my Education Lady Facebook page. I’d love it if you shared with me the three steps you will take today to get your next referral!
In closing, if you are unsure of how to start asking for referrals yourself, that’s okay, this takes some time to step into. What you can immediately begin to do, starting today, is CONNECT others.
I speak on this in great detail in today’s episode of 28 Days To A Sexier More Joyful U.
When you meet some, don’t think “what can I get from this person” but “how can I serve this person.”
Just this one turn on your intention with people will serve you well.
It will allow you to be a better listener.
It will allow you to focus on others, not yourself first.
It will allow you to hear what that person needs and access the JOY in giving to them.
What that person needs could be as simple as as a pet-sitter, a chiropractor, a store that sells yarn for their new knitting habit.
The point is, it’s not about listening for ONLY the NEED you can fill. It’s about connecting the dots - Paying It Forward - by being the bridge between others.
When you are the connector, you are memorable.
When you are memorable, you will be connected by that person who you gave the yarn store referral to, as your neighbor just happened to mention one the week before to you and you simply shared the information.
You were helpful. No strings (ha, no pun intended) attached.
But that woman, as she’s sitting with her new yard, knitting away, will remember you with a smile and when the opportunity comes, perhaps she’ll mention you and what you do to someone else.
But even if she never does, you’ve helped someone - selflessly.
That brings JOY to your heart. Try it.
That also brings referrals back to you times 3, times 7, times 10, times 100.
It’s truly a numbers game and the first time I got it was in reading the Bible… Jesus told three. Then the three told twenty-one. Suddenly there was a crowd of 100.
If you want to learn more about what I do when not knee-deep in AEIOU.world with Karen and Jenna, you can check out educationlady.com and sixfiguretutor.com where I teach teachers, retirees, homeschool parents and even college students how to start a six-figure tutoring business on a part time schedule. For fun!
But go start your own referral army today and begin Paying It Forward with Joy!