#53 | Generating More Referrals, Improving Your Onboarding, Setting Client Expectations

Featured image for episode 52 of Designing Growth, titled "Generating More Referrals, Improving Your Onboarding, Setting Client Expectations"

Client referrals can be a goldmine for service businesses. They’re typically faster to close vs. clients who hear about you through other marketing channels and often easier to work with because they fit your ideal customer profile perfectly.

In this episode, Sam Chlebowski discusses what you can do to generate more referrals. Sam explains that because happier clients are twice as likely to refer others to you, it’s essential to pay attention to your process of working with clients, and he shares tips for how you can do this by setting client expectations and improving your onboarding experience.

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Generating More Referrals, Improving Your Onboarding, Setting Expectations | Designing Growth #53

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Episode transcript:

[00:00:00] Sam Chlebowski: In this episode, we’re going to be talking about generating client referrals, and I’m going to walk through three tips that I have for you to generate more client referrals.

[00:00:09] Sam Chlebowski: I’m going to do more than just say, Hey, set up this email sequence or put up this form or offer this referral incentive.

[00:00:17] Sam Chlebowski: Those specific steps and having that kind of client referral action plan in place is really important. I’m going to talk about that towards the end of this episode. But first I’m going to talk about systems and processes that you can set up or improve to increase the likelihood that clients are going to want to refer their colleagues, friends, and family members to you in the first place.

[00:00:41] ​Intro Music Plays

[00:00:51] Sam Chlebowski: Happy Thursday, everybody. And welcome back to designing growth. This is your host, Sam Chlebowski joining you for another episode. Hope everybody out there is having a great week as for me and the rest of my team here at Motion.io, things are just rocking and rolling. Yesterday, I was joking with my two co founders, Perry and Zach, it kind of felt like the first day of school, which was an experience that I haven’t had since being in college.

[00:01:19] Sam Chlebowski: And the reason why it felt like that is yesterday was the first official day in our new office together. it was an absolute blast. even for somebody who is admittedly pretty pro remote work, I found so much value in being able to sit side by side and have like these impromptu conversations about the product, about what we’re building and new features that we want to prioritize.

[00:01:43] Sam Chlebowski: I liked it so much. I had initially even said I would be in about once a week. And already this week I’m going to be going in three times.

[00:01:50] Sam Chlebowski: And honestly I would probably be in more than that if my podcasting setup The video setup that I use for also recording our YouTube videos wasn’t here in my [00:02:00] home,

[00:02:00] Sam Chlebowski: but I mean, maybe I’ll even see, maybe there’s something I can set up in our office as well. So that’s been really fun for us.

[00:02:06] Sam Chlebowski: Apart from that, we have a ton of new features, new improvements we’ve made to the motion. io product itself over the past couple of weeks. The last episode I recorded number 52 goes into detail about those updates and I’ll also be publishing our full October release notes

[00:02:24] Sam Chlebowski: on Friday in case you don’t want to listen to that whole episode.

[00:02:28] Sam Chlebowski: For this episode, we are going to switch gears back to the normal sort of content of this show, and that is providing tips, strategies,

[00:02:37] Sam Chlebowski: and advice for growing your creative or service based business.

[00:02:42] Sam Chlebowski: If you are new to the show, I would say maybe about 75 percent of our episodes. 

[00:02:46] Sam Chlebowski: I feature guests, most often owners of businesses that they have started

[00:02:51] Sam Chlebowski: and either successfully scaled and exited, or they’re still in the process of growing, but they’ve gone through a lot of that early stage work to build up their business to where it is now. And I will pick their brain to get their insights on how they were able to do that.

[00:03:06] Sam Chlebowski: But I have some stories and some advice of my own Having helped to scale a marketing agency with my now co founder, Perry, from about 250 clients to 5,000 clients before we exited that business in 2020.

[00:03:21] Sam Chlebowski: In this episode, I want to drill into one specific strategy of how you can generate more clients. this strategy that I’m going to talk about is, honestly one of my all time favorites –just because I’ve seen how well it can work and depending on where you are within your business, there can be really simple things that you can do to get clients from this strategy that are a relatively light lift, meaning they don’t require a ton of extra work.

[00:03:48] Sam Chlebowski: As long as you have a plan in place and know the steps that you should take.

[00:03:53] Sam Chlebowski: And a lot of times it’s way less risky than spending money trying out digital advertising and a lot of [00:04:00] times less time consuming than building out a full SEO strategy where you got to produce a ton of content just to make these incremental improvements in the search rankings. By the way, not saying that that’s not important. I’m just saying that this strategy can often work faster and is a little bit easier.

[00:04:16] Sam Chlebowski: So without further ado , we’re going to be talking about generating client referrals and I’m going to walk through three tips that I have for you to generate more client referrals.

[00:04:27] Sam Chlebowski: In this episode. I’m going to do more than just say, Hey, set up this email sequence or put up this form or offer this referral incentive.

[00:04:35] Sam Chlebowski: Those specific steps and having that kind of client referral action plan in place is really important. I’m going to talk about that towards the end of this episode. But first I’m going to talk about systems and processes. That you can set up or improve 

[00:04:49] Sam Chlebowski: to increase the likelihood that clients are going to want to refer their colleagues, friends, family members to you in the first place.

[00:04:59] Sam Chlebowski: And with that said, let’s kick it off with tip number one for generating more client referrals, 

[00:05:04] Sam Chlebowski: and that is better setting client expectations.

[00:05:08] Sam Chlebowski: this idea of setting client expectations can be a little bit nebulous. It’s like, what does that mean?

[00:05:14] Sam Chlebowski: And honestly, it can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different types of businesses.

[00:05:19] Sam Chlebowski: So I will clarify that when I’m talking about client expectations here, I’m going to be talking about service based businesses or creative businesses that do any type of work with clients.

[00:05:28] Sam Chlebowski: The work has kind of a longer process, and maybe that’s a week, maybe that’s several months, maybe it’s a year or more,

[00:05:35] Sam Chlebowski: but it’s all tied to some kind of service offering and more than just a product that you are selling. That’s kind of a one off purchase,

[00:05:43] Sam Chlebowski: The importance of setting client expectations was something that admittedly took me a little while to learn. I didn’t immediately see the value in it Until I learned the bad things that can happen when you aren’t setting client expectations.

[00:05:59] Sam Chlebowski: And the reason [00:06:00] why this idea of setting client expectations is so important in the first place is that if clients feel surprised by the fact that you don’t offer something, Or they are frustrated by how long 

[00:06:13] Sam Chlebowski: it is taking you to fulfill some element of the work that they’ve hired you for. It’s really going to impact that client’s willingness

[00:06:21] Sam Chlebowski: To refer other people to you. But on the flip side, if clients know exactly what to expect going in, they’re happier as the project goes along

[00:06:30] Sam Chlebowski: At some point during that project, or even at the end of it is going to become a no brainer for them.

[00:06:36] Sam Chlebowski: The first thing that I’ll say is be crystal clear on your pricing and what services you do and do not offer 

[00:06:44] Sam Chlebowski: this tip is going to apply to whether you have your pricing listed directly on your website, and it’s very clear packages with all of the things that you do clearly outline, or you’re doing custom proposals that are a different price each time, depending on the client and what they need.

[00:06:59] Sam Chlebowski: However you set it up. I think it’s really important to be in tune with how clients understand your services.

[00:07:05] Sam Chlebowski: And so one of the best things that I think you can do here is that whenever you are speaking with a client or even a potential client, And a question comes up about your pricing or the services that you offer. They ask, Hey, do you provide this as a part of this package? Or could you go into detail about what you do as a part of this specific thing that you say that you’re offering?

[00:07:27] Sam Chlebowski: Make a note of those things. You can keep it short and sweet, 

[00:07:30] Sam Chlebowski: just write client had a question about this thing.

[00:07:32] Sam Chlebowski: And then what you can do is compile all of these questions into a pricing and services FAQ doc.

[00:07:38] Sam Chlebowski: Because from my experience, there will be times, especially early on where you get questions from clients or potential clients that you haven’t had to answer yet.

[00:07:47] Sam Chlebowski: At some point, you have to start being prepared to have the answers to these questions upfront

[00:07:52] Sam Chlebowski: Because when you do, it’s going to remove friction and ultimately help you close clients faster.

[00:07:59] Sam Chlebowski: When I was [00:08:00] working with clients and also doing our sales at brighter vision,

[00:08:02] Sam Chlebowski: one of the questions that we would get all the time was about SEO.

[00:08:07] Sam Chlebowski: It was totally free included with the service that we were providing.

[00:08:11] Sam Chlebowski: But initially, we weren’t super clear about what we did and did not do as a part of that SEO, And it led to some of our clients thinking that we were going to be doing a full content creation and SEO strategy where we would create new blog posts for them, write those for them and do SEO that way.

[00:08:28] Sam Chlebowski: Where if you’re somebody who does marketing or designs websites, you know that that is a much more expansive and time consuming project than writing on page SEO.

[00:08:38] Sam Chlebowski: And what we thought we were clear about that on our website,

[00:08:41] Sam Chlebowski: it turns out we could have been a little bit clearer. So one of the things that we started doing in our sales calls is we would not only be prepared with an answer 

[00:08:51] Sam Chlebowski: but what we’d also do is try and be proactive about answering this question.

[00:08:56] Sam Chlebowski: A lot of times in sales calls or discovery calls with potential clients, a question that they will ask. Is, Hey, are there any hidden fees or is there anything I haven’t asked that I should be asking when these types of questions come up, that is a perfect place to have that document of frequently asked questions about your pricing and packages open 

[00:09:16] Sam Chlebowski: and go into detail about a question or a common confusion about your service that often comes up and tell them right then and there. And back to my example of explaining our SEO services to our potential web design clients.

[00:09:29] Sam Chlebowski: What we would say, and I still have it just etched in my brain is as a part of your service, we will take care of writing the SEO for all of the pages of your website.

[00:09:39] Sam Chlebowski: we don’t write new content for you, but any new pages that you have us add through your unlimited support plan, we will take care of writing SEO for those as well.

[00:09:48] Sam Chlebowski: With a brand new website. It can be hard sometimes to know exactly how your page is going to rank and how quickly it’s going to take to move up in the rankings.

[00:09:58] Sam Chlebowski: But most of our clients [00:10:00] are able to find their websites. By searching X, Y, Z service in their area within a couple of months and often start ranking on the first page of Google, unless they are in a highly populated or highly competitive area.

[00:10:13] Sam Chlebowski: And so there’s a couple of things in there that you can break down. I told the client, what we did and did not do as a part of our included SEO. Which I knew from speaking with a bunch of clients before that people would have questions about. But then I set expectations of how long it’s going to take them to rank and also how high they can expect to rank.

[00:10:33] Sam Chlebowski: So when their website goes live, I don’t have to worry about that client being surprised that the day they’ve launched a new website, they’re not ranking on the first page of Google because they already know that information. I told them about that before they ever paid us a single dollar.

[00:10:49] Sam Chlebowski: Another thing I recommend doing to better set client expectations is talk about how you’re going to communicate with them through the project. Answer questions like, can they schedule a meeting with you whenever they want or are your meetings on a basically set schedule where stage, one of our project is complete.

[00:11:07] Sam Chlebowski: You have a meeting. After stage two, you have another meeting, et cetera, et cetera. As well as how long after they reach out to you, can they expect a response?

[00:11:16] Sam Chlebowski: And then you can also go into details about how you communicate. If you are somebody who texts your clients exclusively, tell them that if you do email and don’t do live calls, tell them that. And if you do a combination of any number of these things, also tell them that.

[00:11:30] Sam Chlebowski: I think not explaining how you’re going to communicate with the client throughout the project is a big mistake. And it’s often one that I see newer business owners make because it seems obvious. It’s like, Oh, duh. Well, I’ll just email them when I need to email them. I’ll schedule an appointment when I need to schedule an appointment with them.

[00:11:46] Sam Chlebowski: But it’s often not so obvious to the client 

[00:11:49] Sam Chlebowski: and by not communicating these things up front and setting that expectation can lead to really frustrated clients.

[00:11:56] Sam Chlebowski: For example, let’s say that you do live meetings and live consultations with [00:12:00] your clients whenever they want , but you don’t offer phone support.

[00:12:04] Sam Chlebowski: If you don’t clarify that for the client, you are almost certainly going to have clients that are going to try and call you expecting to be able to meet with you right away when you are in another meeting.

[00:12:16] Sam Chlebowski: whereas if you instead said to your client before they ever even started working with you. Hey, by the way,

[00:12:22] Sam Chlebowski: we are able to chat live anytime that you want, but in order for me to attend to the other clients I’m working with, I do need you to schedule that using my online calendar software.

[00:12:33] Sam Chlebowski: Additionally, if it’s urgent, you can always send me an email. I respond to every single email within one business day. And if you put urgent in the subject line, I will prioritize that email and respond to it as quickly as I possibly can.

[00:12:47] Sam Chlebowski: And you can see in that example I didn’t just say, Hey, don’t call me. I’m never going to pick up. I instead said, Hey, we can talk whenever you want. You just have to schedule that first. And I also gave them a option for if urgent things come up, 

[00:13:01] Sam Chlebowski: Related to being crystal clear about the services you do and do not provide And how you’ll communicate with clients.

[00:13:08] Sam Chlebowski: If you do offer ongoing support, make sure you explain how clients get that support, how quickly they can expect a response and what kind of things that you do or do not do as a part of that support.

[00:13:23] Sam Chlebowski: For an example if you had a digital advertising company. 

[00:13:27] Sam Chlebowski: You do the initial campaign set up. And then you provide ongoing support to tweak their existing campaigns.

[00:13:33] Sam Chlebowski: If you don’t clarify specifically what you do and do not do as a part of that support package. It could be very likely that clients think. Hey, after my campaign goes live, I can just pay this monthly support fee and this digital marketing agency will create entirely new campaigns anytime I want.

[00:13:51] Sam Chlebowski: Where in reality, if they want that, they have to pay an additional fee for it.

[00:13:55] Sam Chlebowski: I would be crystal clear with my clients before they sign anything or make a payment that [00:14:00] you can tweak things like the targeting settings of their campaigns, but you’ll only create entirely new campaigns.

[00:14:06] Sam Chlebowski: If they’re willing to pay this additional fee, .

[00:14:08] Sam Chlebowski: And with that, my final piece of advice for how you can set better client expectations is to make sure your clients know what they are responsible and the things that they need to do at every stage within a project in order for that project to move forward.

[00:14:24] Sam Chlebowski: And the reason why I say that this is so important there are a lot of times for many service based businesses where client projects get delayed through no fault of the owner or anybody on their team who’s working on that project, but rather you’re just waiting for a client to approve something, send you something, fill out this form that you need. And even though you’re following up a bunch of times,

[00:14:47] Sam Chlebowski: the client still gets frustrated

[00:14:49] Sam Chlebowski: that the project in their mind is behind schedule.

[00:14:53] Sam Chlebowski: When in reality it had nothing to do with you and your ability to meet deadlines. But rather them not providing the things that you need and you trying to chase them down for those things

[00:15:03] Sam Chlebowski: And the best way that you can avoid this happening and avoid frustration down the road

[00:15:08] Sam Chlebowski: Leads perfectly into my second tip.

[00:15:11] Sam Chlebowski: That’s going to help you generate more client referrals, which is to improve your onboarding process.

[00:15:16] Sam Chlebowski: And I’ll say first that I view onboarding as the most important part of your process 

[00:15:22] Sam Chlebowski: and the reason why I think that onboarding is so important, even more important than deliverables, you end up sending them

[00:15:29] Sam Chlebowski: or ongoing work you end up doing for them 

[00:15:31] Sam Chlebowski: Is that onboarding provides your best opportunity to set the tone for that project and delight your client early on.

[00:15:39] Sam Chlebowski: Because after you spend the time speaking with the client, creating a proposal for them, doing discovery, learning about their business. When that client agrees to work with you, and they are willing to pay you for the services that you’re providing them 

[00:15:53] Sam Chlebowski: because they’re excited about them. 

[00:15:55] Sam Chlebowski: An onboarding is your chance to keep that excitement going and reassure that client [00:16:00] right then and there 

[00:16:01] Sam Chlebowski: That hiring you and working with you is going to be a worthwhile investment.

[00:16:06] Sam Chlebowski: And the best way that you can do that is as soon as they sign that contract or make that first payment.

[00:16:11] Sam Chlebowski: Your client has a clear understanding of what’s needed for them for work to kick off.

[00:16:16] Sam Chlebowski: So they can immediately dive in to getting you the things that you need to fulfill the service that they’ve hired you for.

[00:16:23] Sam Chlebowski: And this doesn’t always have to be a list of tasks and things that they need to do or forms that they need to fill out. It can be something as simple as, Hey, once my client signs a contract, we’re going to hop on a kickoff call and I’m going to outline the project for them.

[00:16:38] Sam Chlebowski: Going to walk them through what’s going to happen. Our anticipated date of a launch, things like that,

[00:16:44] Sam Chlebowski: And show them that you are as ready and excited to work with them as they are as excited to have hired you for this project

[00:16:52] Sam Chlebowski: on the flip side, if your client signs up or signs a contract and there’s nothing that needs to be done, they don’t get any sort of welcome email, or they only have maybe some rough idea of when the project is going to start that can really allow the doubt to creep in and clients questioning like, Oh no, is this going to be worth the money? It seems like this person, this business doesn’t really have things together. Like they really weren’t prepared for me.

[00:17:16] Sam Chlebowski: And when that happens, it sets the tone for the rest of your time working together, where clients might doubt the things that you are doing. They might check in constantly because they’re worried. They’re not getting the value for the services that they’ve paid you for.

[00:17:31] Sam Chlebowski: And you can see right there of why onboarding is so important.

[00:17:36] Sam Chlebowski: As for improving your onboarding. There’s a couple things. I think that any type of service based business should be doing. To have a really professional, really buttoned up onboarding experience for their clients

[00:17:49] Sam Chlebowski: It all starts with documentation. So if you haven’t done this already, or you don’t have a clearly defined onboarding process, my suggestion for you is. Map that out [00:18:00] and be specific. Create a document, a spreadsheet, a flow chart, whatever you want to do, but clearly map out, okay, a client agrees to work with me, what happens immediately after that point?

[00:18:13] Sam Chlebowski: Start from that moment and write down, okay, person said that they’re interested in working with me. Here are the things that I do after that point until work kicks off. So for example, the things that I would look at documenting there is, okay, they’ve said they want to work with me. And in my business, I send a proposal that they have to view and accept before they can sign a contract and make a payment.

[00:18:36] Sam Chlebowski: On this document or this flow chart that you create, write down, okay, , here’s the tool that I use to send that proposal. Here’s how long it’s good for if there’s any type of expiration date.

[00:18:47] Sam Chlebowski: And then here’s when I follow up if they don’t end up accepting that. And here’s how often I follow up. Uh, When that proposal is signed, I then send them a contract. Okay. Same thing. Write down what tool you use to send that contract.

[00:19:03] Sam Chlebowski: If you don’t have an easy way for them to sign their proposal and their contract, you’d probably want to look into getting some kind of tool. That can help you with that and make sure it’s virtual. Because let’s face it, having to print something, sign it, scan it, and send it back.

[00:19:18] Sam Chlebowski: That is so 1990. Like it’s time to step into 2023.

[00:19:22] Sam Chlebowski: And then after that contract is signed and it’s time for them to make their payment or enter their credit card information,

[00:19:28] Sam Chlebowski: Clearly outline where they go to make that payment, what tool they use

[00:19:33] Sam Chlebowski: and what happens after they make that payment. 

[00:19:35] Sam Chlebowski: And what I would also do as a part of this onboarding process that you are getting down on paper is also pay attention to, when you’re communicating things to the client . 

[00:19:46] Sam Chlebowski: So for example, something that I really like to do and I see a lot of value in is as soon as a client makes that payment, send them an email, welcoming them to the project,

[00:19:56] Sam Chlebowski: Show them that you are just as excited for work to [00:20:00] begin as they are to have hired you for that work.

[00:20:03] Sam Chlebowski: And provided a brief explanation of what’s going to happen next and what they can expect

[00:20:08] Sam Chlebowski: That step is something that seems small, but I got to say, it’s oftentimes something that I see is the number one creator of happy clients, especially early on.

[00:20:18] Sam Chlebowski: So within this fictional onboarding flow that I’m documenting so far, I have the proposal and how they accept that proposal, what tool I use as well as how they sign the contract how they make their payment payments or enter their credit card number.

[00:20:32] Sam Chlebowski: And then also. I’ve documented what kind of welcome information , that I am going to prepare them with.

[00:20:38] Sam Chlebowski: On the same document, you should be understanding how you get the information that you need from clients for that work to kick off because for any type of service based business, it doesn’t matter if you’re a wedding and event planner, a web designer, a digital marketing agency.

[00:20:54] Sam Chlebowski: There is information that you need from your client. Because if you don’t have that information, they’re going to be really unhappy down the road that you just designed a website without consulting them or launch these ad campaigns.

[00:21:08] Sam Chlebowski: And without ever getting to understand their brand , or even planned a event for them that is nothing like what they wanted. And that’s probably pretty obvious to most of you out there But at the same time,

[00:21:22] Sam Chlebowski: if you don’t have systems to collect this type of information from your clients early on, number one, it’s going to make it a lot more confusing for you to be able to provide that client what they want and could lead to a lot of revisions and changes and back and forth down the road. 

[00:21:39] Sam Chlebowski: And number two, if you were asking for these things in a way that’s unclear, like, for example, if you are just speaking with them on the phone and not telling them. Why you’re asking for this information, they might not even know that. The things that you are asking them for are going to impact the project later down the road.

[00:21:57] Sam Chlebowski: And if your client is unhappy with the [00:22:00] work that you’ve done down the road, and it’s different from what they had initially envisioned, the fault, in my opinion, is going to be because of your onboarding experience, you weren’t clear of what you needed and why you needed it.

[00:22:13] Sam Chlebowski: And so one of the ways that I think that you can avoid this.

[00:22:16] Sam Chlebowski: Creating specific action items for your client

[00:22:19] Sam Chlebowski: to provide these types of things that you need and explain what you need them for. A couple of examples of this can include a really high quality onboarding form.

[00:22:28] Sam Chlebowski: On this onboarding form, you can ask them to tell you about their business, what their goals for the project. 

[00:22:34] Sam Chlebowski: And even provide you inspiration for what they want out of the project. In the case of a web design business, that could be things like, Hey, send me a couple of websites that you like. Or for a brand redesign project that could be send me some brands that you really admire. But if you are asking those types of things in an onboarding form, be very clear that, Hey, this is not what your final product is going to look like.

[00:22:57] Sam Chlebowski: But it does help me get a sense of what you’re looking for.

[00:23:00] Sam Chlebowski: If you need their brand assets for a new website, make sure you tell them that, Hey, I can’t start designing the site until I have these things.

[00:23:09] Sam Chlebowski: So please send them my way.

[00:23:10] Sam Chlebowski: Otherwise we’ll be behind schedule

[00:23:12] Sam Chlebowski: and as with everything else on this onboarding flow that I’m describing the process of documenting, make sure you have a crystal clear idea of what tools that they are using for these different things for your onboarding form.

[00:23:25] Sam Chlebowski: Are they submitting a form on their website? Are you sending them a Google form? Are you including this form as a part of something like a Dubsado workflow? Make a note of that. And the same with uploading files. Are you using Google drive for this? Do you expect them to send it via email to you?

[00:23:42] Sam Chlebowski: and how do you know when these things are completed so that you can move on to the next stage?

[00:23:47] Sam Chlebowski: At Brighter Vision , which was that web design agency I’ve mentioned earlier in this episode, a couple of times in this podcast, we were onboarding at one point upwards of 400 clients in a single month. 

[00:23:57] Sam Chlebowski: it was really important that we’d [00:24:00] clearly defined our onboarding process in the same type of way early on, but also that we continue to improve it because when you work with that many clients, you start to see cracks

[00:24:10] Sam Chlebowski: We actually ended up building A very automated and streamlined system that would walk a client through. Okay, here’s what happens when they officially sign up, the end of their credit card number, they’re enrolled in our monthly plan.

[00:24:21] Sam Chlebowski: We went super deep with it and we said, here are the emails that we send them. Here’s when they can expect a call with their lead designer. Here’s when they can expect their first draft after submitting their onboarding questionnaire. And here’s how they get support and things along the way. 

[00:24:38] Sam Chlebowski: That onboarding process, once it was fully built out, was really streamlined. Most of it was automated aside for the couple of manual things that we did that involved speaking with the client, learning about their business.

[00:24:50] Sam Chlebowski: Before designing the site.

[00:24:52] Sam Chlebowski: And at the end of the day, what we had built there in a lot of ways, directly inspired Motion.io. Because we didn’t have a system that could handle our onboarding process for us. And we had to stitch together all of these different pieces of software in order to make it work and automate it.

[00:25:10] Sam Chlebowski: And it was a huge lift for us. With Motion.io, what we’ve done is we’ve made it so you can have all of these things that I’ve outlined in one simple place for your clients. So after your client says, Hey, I’m ready to start working with you, you invite them to a portal where they accept their proposal, sign a contract, make their payment.

[00:25:28] Sam Chlebowski: And then you have client tasks for them that allow them to provide that onboarding information or upload their files and even schedule that walkthrough call. And what you can do is take all of these independent systems that you’re using and make it really simple for your clients so they can access all of these different tools that you’re using in one dashboard.

[00:25:48] Sam Chlebowski: So I’ve talked about my first two tips for generating more client referrals, which were better setting client expectations and improving your onboarding experience. 

[00:25:56] Sam Chlebowski: And if you do those things, it’s going to make people much [00:26:00] more likely to want to refer others to you in the first place.

[00:26:04] Sam Chlebowski: My third and final tip is going to focus entirely on how do you capture those referrals?

[00:26:10] Sam Chlebowski: This tip is all about making it easy for clients to refer.

[00:26:14] Sam Chlebowski: So even if you are setting client expectations perfectly, you have an awesome onboarding experience. People are excited throughout the projects that you’re doing.

[00:26:23] Sam Chlebowski: And just couldn’t be more thrilled with the end result or the ongoing services that you’re providing. Even if you do those things really well. If you don’t make it easy for clients to refer others to you, you might not get any referrals because even if they want to refer people to you, they don’t really know how besides sending you an email or they end up forgetting about it.

[00:26:44] Sam Chlebowski: One of my favorite strategies for this is after a project is completed or after some kind of key milestone, maybe the website is launched or the ad campaigns are live or you’ve helped the business announce their brand relaunch on social media and through other channels like their newsletter,

[00:27:02] Sam Chlebowski: send the key contact person who was a part of that project. A message that says something to the effect of, Hey, I’m so excited with how this turned out. It was amazing working with you. If you were happy with your experience,

[00:27:14] Sam Chlebowski: I would love for you to share it with other people, you know, who might be interested in this.

[00:27:19] Sam Chlebowski: And offer some kind of incentive for them to do that. So that could include something like a monetary incentive. Maybe you give them a hundred dollars per person or maybe it’s a discount on their next month’s bill or future work.

[00:27:33] Sam Chlebowski: But it could also include things that aren’t specifically tied to a amount of money that you are giving them or a discount that you’re giving them. It could also be something like some piece of swag that you’ll give them for referring someone to you.

[00:27:45] Sam Chlebowski: Or a gift card, all types of things will work for this. But when you ask for that referral, make sure that you are explaining how happy you are with how the project turned out, thanking them for working with you, and then also incentivizing that [00:28:00] referral.

[00:28:00] Sam Chlebowski: A strategy that I really love from a past episode, which was episode number 35, where I was speaking with systems and automation experts, Sam Whisnant is she actually in her final

[00:28:16] Sam Chlebowski: invoices that a client pays, puts her referral program details at the bottom of that invoice. And what this basically does is that when a client goes to pay that final invoice, she’s like, Hey, do you want a discount on this invoice? Refer somebody to me. And if they sign up, I will pay you X number of dollars.

[00:28:33] Sam Chlebowski: And I love that. I thought it was really smart. Another thing that we did at Brighter Vision is that when a client’s website would go live, we would send them a form that said, Hey, did you enjoy your experience? Enter your friend or colleague’s email. 

[00:28:46] Sam Chlebowski: They’ll get a month free and you’ll get a month free of our service. And what was really amazing about this, 

[00:28:51] Sam Chlebowski: is that all a client had to do to refer someone to us is enter their email and the email of the person that they wanted to refer. And we would automatically send out an email that came from that client to their friend that said, Hey, I’ve loved my time working with brighter vision.

[00:29:08] Sam Chlebowski: If you want to sign up, I can give you a month free and I’ll get a month free and return, just click this link. And doing that one thing helped us triple the number of client referrals that we were getting in a month. So it’s small things like that that can have a really powerful impact.

[00:29:25] Sam Chlebowski: But if you don’t tell clients about them and you’re not strategic about it, you’re not going to be able to capture those referrals as effectively.

[00:29:32] Sam Chlebowski: So that does it for this episode on how to generate more client referrals. Walking back through the tips that I shared. Number one was set I talked about communicating things like your services, what you do and what you do not offer as well as explaining how you communicate with clients and what they can expect there.

[00:29:53] Sam Chlebowski: My second tip, I talked all about how to improve your onboarding explaining my view that onboarding is the number [00:30:00] one thing that can either create happy clients or If you don’t have a good onboarding experience can create unhappy clients.

[00:30:09] Sam Chlebowski: And my big tip there was make sure you have a clearly documented onboarding process that outlines all of the tools that you’re using, all of the things clients are doing, all of the things that you’re doing throughout that onboarding process.

[00:30:21] Sam Chlebowski: And then my final tip was make yourself easy to refer

[00:30:25] Sam Chlebowski: saying that if you don’t ask for referrals, you’re not going to get any referrals and that you should also incentivize clients to refer people to you while making it as seamless as possible. For them to give you that referral, so that concludes episode 53 of designing growth.

[00:30:41] Sam Chlebowski: I hope you enjoyed this episode and can take this advice and use it to generate more client referrals and ultimately grow your business.

[00:30:50] Sam Chlebowski: If you enjoyed this episode or our weekly listener of design and growth, it would mean the world to me. If you went to apple or Spotify and gave us a five star review, I’ve been doing this podcast for a while now.

[00:31:02] Sam Chlebowski: This is episode 53, and while I love doing it, it is a lot of work on top of all the other things I’m doing at motion. io and reviews, even if it’s just clicking the five star button and not even leaving a comment. Those are really helpful for us to get the word out to more people. And it also encourages me to keep going and understand that the things that I’m talking about are worthwhile for all of the entrepreneurs, business owners, small teams who are listening to this podcast.

[00:31:29] Sam Chlebowski: So I would really appreciate it. With that, my name is Sam Chlebowski signing off of episode 53 of Designing Growth. As I say every week, have fun, good luck and go crush it. See you next Thursday, everybody. Bye bye. 

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