Previously we talked about the benefits of Successful Referrals as part of your VA Marketing Toolbox, and in particular the things you should consider or the questions you should ask when either making or receiving a referral.

Let us look at the various types of Referrals available to you:

Reward Scheme: You can let people know of a reward scheme, which means if a referral is converted into a client, the person who referred you to your new client can receive 10% of the first invoice (once payment is received of course) from you.  In my VA business we pay 10% of the first three month?s invoices upon receipt of payment from the client. You may choose to pay a one-off set fee of your choice.

Client Referral Scheme: Another opportunity is to ask your existing clients for any referrals. It is a good idea to do this after you have had your first client review with them. Once your clients have started to see for themselves the positive impact you have had on their business, how you have solved their problems, and the positive impression you have made on them with your client management, you are in a stronger position to ask them who they know that would also want to achieve the same results, have the same problems solved and who also wants to benefit from using your VA services.

If you feel awkward at first to ask verbally, why not do one of two things. Firstly, if your are sending out a client evaluation form after the first review, you can add a final point mentioning to them that you value them as a quality client and that you are looking for new clients of their calibre, could they think about who they know that they would be happy to refer to you.? Mention here about your reward scheme. Secondly, you could send them a letter asking the same question.

You can offer your client a referral discount, this means taking 10% off their invoice, once the referral has become a client of course. If your client is not looking for financial gain, then ask them if they would like something they can drink, eat or read.

Referrals from Introducers or Connectors:

Who else works with the same niche market as yourself?

For instance, if your niche includes training consultants, then your ideal connectors would include PR and marketing consultants, business coaches, accountants, web designers, business coaches and business solicitors and HR consultants to name but a few.

Never bombard people for a referral, if they want to go away and think about who they know, then let them come back to you in their own time. There is nothing more off putting than someone that appears desperate!

Referrals via Affiliate Links: Through using affiliate software you can provide people with an affiliate link which they can use on their website under useful links. When a visitor of their website follows the link to your site, the affiliate software will automatically recognise the link so you can keep track.  In return you can offer the same or have their web links under their testimonials or in your Useful Links page.

Referrals from Your Service Providers: Think about the people you will be using for printing, stationery, book-keeping and accounts, web design, PR or marketing, business coaching etc and ask if they would be happy to provide your information to people they know. This could be done as a feature in their email newsletter, providing your business card or flyer in their office/reception area or when they next do a direct mail campaign (you may need to contribute towards postage).

Referrals With Other VAs: Yes that’s right. Think about the prospective client, they may not fit into your niche, they may have a particular need that you cannot fulfil, they may want you onsite and that doesn’t fit with the way you work or they are not in your location. Whatever this may be, another VA may just be the perfect fit for them. Ensure that the other VA contacts the client in a short space of time for consistency and professionalism. The client will respect you for this and if they came to you for good reasons, they will trust who you recommend too. You do not necessarily need to charge a referral fee to the other VA as you would hope that they would reciprocate if the same opportunity arose to mutually support you.

In your marketing: In your marketing material, ie on your website, email newsletter or online brochure, you can ask people to think about who they know that would value you being their VA and talk about an incentive scheme.

Having now looked at the variety of types of Referral Marketing available to you, it would be great to hear in the Comments section below, what methods of referral marketing you use in your business, in particular what you have found to work (or not work) that may benefit others.