How to Get Referrals (A Simple Way to Get Coaching Clients)

I know getting coaching clients is probably the big thing on your mind.

Can I offer a suggestion?

One interesting, and simple, way to get coaching clients is through referrals.

For example: Referrals from other coaches who don’t serve your niche.

Or: Referrals from related businesses who serve the same customers. (Like a divorce lawyer if you are a divorce coach. Or a test-prep business if you are a homework coach for teens).

Or even: Referrals from Facebook or other groups where your demo might congregate.

The joy of referrals is that they are low tech (people just need to know who you are) and simple. No need for fancy marketing campaigns or constant posting on social.

In fact, if you get a few good referral partners in your business, it *can* QUICKLY be the #1 way you get clients.

So when someone posts or asks for a referral, how do you respond? How do you get these magical referrals?

I get asked to refer coaches a lot, since I have YOU AWESOME PEOPLE as my community, and some of the responses I get are…

… *not* amazing.

So, here are a few things to consider next time you pitch yourself and your services to a referral partner (or anywhere really!).


🧁 First off, READ CAREFULLY and make sure you answer all of the questions/meet all of the requirements. If you don’t, it’s easy to be removed from contention before you really get a chance to be considered. Here’s why: If you forget a piece of requested information it can make you look unprofessional, which isn’t great. It also puts more work on the requester, as they then have to reach out to you for the missing information. If they get a lot of good responses, the chances of them reaching out for clarification are slim.

🧁 Second: Make sure you explain WHY you fit the bill, and make your case. Thoughtful responses usually = thoughtful coaches, which helps make you stand out. Do NOT expect me as a requester/referral partner to connect the dots on my own. Tell me specifically why you can help the demographic/goal I need help with. Most people don’t do this well so you will stand out if you take the time.

🧁 They will likely look at your website, so if you are pitching yourself for something that’s not on your website in terms of your niche, you’ll need to address that in your pitch. If I am looking for a retirement coach, and you tell me you can do that *but* when I go to the website listed in your email and find you are a career coach for millennials, you’ll lose some trust. If you address that up front in your pitch and explain why your experience helping millennials is relevant to retirement, then I won’t be surprised down the road.

🧁What you put out reflects back on the requester/referral partner, make them look good. As people and as organizations, we want to have good reputations. So the more thoughtful, on-point answer for the request, and the more polished and aligned your website/business is with the ask, the more likely you are to make the referral partner look good. (Note: The better they look, the more business/opportunities you will get!).

And if you want to PROACTIVELY build some referral relationships, here’s a simple email template to use to reach out.

“Hello Sarah,

I’ve just spent a lot of time on your website, reading about what you do.

I only intended to spend a few minutes, but your message really drew me in!

I’m reaching out because I know you cater to women of a certain age who are looking for styling help.

I’m a date coach, and I help the exact same sub-set of women, except we focus on finding great men instead of great style. 

I’m wondering if you would be open to chatting to see if we might be a potential match as referral partners?

I ask because I often have coaching clients asking me for styling help as they get ready to date again, so I thought I might be able to easily refer you business, especially for your “date night out” styling package.

If that’s of any interest to you, let me know and we can set up a time to talk that’s at your convenience. I’m always free on Monday and Friday.

Find information about me here –>

PS: I just wanted to add two things: 1) I love your website photos, you’ve got such great ones and they really show off your work, and 2) Your focus on building confidence is exactly the same message I give to my date clients, which is one of the reasons why I reached out. I think we have a lot in common!”

You’ll notice this template does three things:
πŸ’– Briefly introduces who I am and why I’m reaching out. Do not make this too long, if she’s interested you can tell her more in a subsequent email or chat.
πŸ’– Highlights the benefit to the other person (I can refer her clients). People are self-interested, make sure the win-win is clear to them.
πŸ’–  Makes it easy to say yes or no.
πŸ’– Offers up sincere flattery and information to show I’ve done my research, tailored my message, and am therefore worth a little time in return.

And if you want to connect with folks who have a bigger reach or businesses, here’s a blog dedicated to exactly that.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Get out there and get some referrals!

Need more marketing help? OF COURSE YOU DO.

Marketing is both awesome and powerful, and you have a lot of options beyond just getting referrals.

But which options should you take? And how do you know you are doing it right? Do you get on social media? Speak? Is it time for YOUTUBE?

DO NOT FRET.Β  I’ve got answers to all of the above and then some in a FREE on-demand webinar all about the 5 marketing mistakes new coaches make + how to fix them. Right now it’s free, so why not grab a pen and your couch and get your coaching business out into the world?

GO HERE TO JOIN, it’s free!

How to get clients