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How to Increase Referrals for Your Consulting Firm


How to Increase Referrals for Your Consulting Firm

If your consulting firm doesn’t receive the referrals it should, this article from David A. Fields identifies key steps you can take to gain more referrals and increase your client base. 

Most of your consulting firm’s business comes from referrals. Sure, inbound leads inspired by your marketing are great; however, leads who have been introduced to your firm by an independent source turn into paying clients faster and more often.

Are you getting as many referrals as you could?

Not by a long shot.

Before diving into how you can increase the number of referrals your consulting firm receives, make sure you’ve read part 1 of this 3-part series: What Your Consulting Firm Really Wants From a Referral.

All referrals and introductions are good. But what you really want are Champions, Enthusiasts, and Broadcasters. People who will, unsolicited, recommend your consulting firm.

Let’s say Priscilla Prospecto meets four peers at a conference:

Una Weir has never heard of your consulting firm.

George Curious recently learned about your firm and has been exploring your offerings.

Vera Loil is a longtime client who views your consulting firm as a solid, reliable service provider.

Dee Seipul hired your consulting firm a number of years ago and, while she did not engage you again, your work for her unlocked huge, personal transformations.

Who is most likely to introduce your consulting firm to Priscilla: the current client (Vera), the past client (Dee) or a non-client (Una or George)?  

You’d think your clients, for whom your consulting firm has delivered excellent results, would naturally be proactive referrers. Especially if you strive for “customer delight” and high Net Promoter Scores.

But they’re not.

Here’s a painful twist of irony: as you work with a client, the likelihood the client will proactively introduce or refer your consulting firm to other prospects often decreases.

In fact, the biggest drop in likelihood of a spontaneous introduction may occur before or soon after a client engages your consulting firm.

That feels totally unfair, doesn’t it?

What’s going on, and what can you do about it?


Key points include:

  • The Referral Catalyst: Emotion
  • The power of anticipatory achievement
  • Action steps to take