Word-of-mouth is a terrific form of advertising for your financial coaching business. When your friend or even a friend-of-a-friend makes a recommendation about anything from their favorite shampoo to the next great restaurant, you’re more than likely going to remember it and are probably more likely to try it than you would have without that endorsement.
That’s why referrals are one of the most effective tools for building your financial coaching business. Having referral partners is like having a built-in sales team that already knows who your potential clients are and what you do. It’s a match made is business-development heaven.
How do you build and increase your referral network?
A good first step to building any network is to make connections within your own community. When you’re networking to build your financial coaching business, here are some examples of people in your community that could become a great external sales team for you.
Referral Partners in Your Community
Financial Advisors, Accountants, CPAs
We are like peas in a pod with these people. Accountants provide an annual snapshot through tax filing as well as the big picture of assets and spending. Financial advisors help with investing for big purchases like homes or big life events such as births, adoptions, and weddings. They help navigate the financial world of stocks, bonds, annuities, dividends, and so on. These people work in long-term finances.
We as financial coaches help people decide how to use the money they have on hand. We advise them on how to spend, save, or plan what to do with their funds until the next paycheck. We aid in the short term so our clients are in better financial health for the long term. Financial advisors and accountants are a natural fit as our potential referral partners because they are as invested in financial health as we are.
Realtors and Mortgage Lenders
Financing is a major part of daily life for these community members. They might have clients who are having trouble putting together a down payment or who have a budget stretched so thin that they can’t afford the house they want.
Realtors and mortgage lenders are often privy to financial conversations – especially if they are dealing with a couple – and have listened to their client’s anxious thoughts about bad credit scores or taking on more debt. This is where your services can be of help and where you can pop to mind. With a good referral partnership, your local realtor, mortgage lender, or any other type of financier will send their clients to you for help in solving these kinds of pain points.
Counselors, Pastors, Business Coaches
These community members offer advice and support for people going through difficult times or growing pains. Financial stress is a common challenge that individuals and families alike have to overcome, potentially many times throughout their lives. You can help advisors do their job by being a resource for relief through financial coaching.
It’s common for counselors and pastors to help couples going through marriage strife, and as most people know, money can certainly be a source of tension and conflict within a marriage. Similarly, business coaches are meeting with individuals to help them get to the next level in their entrepreneurial efforts and often times that means either a strain on finances or managing a new level of cash flow. Either way, your services would be beneficial, so seek out other advisors to increase your referral network.
Online Teachers, Podcasters, Social Media Engagers
The digital members of your extended community may be having online conversations about the same subjects you coach others through all the time. Most people were never taught the basics of budgeting and money management, so find a person or group featuring your expertise and school their audience on the benefits of financial coaching.
Wellness Professionals, HR Directors
Money is a leading cause of stress so you have a lead in with health and wellness professionals. If money troubles are keeping someone up at night, a financial coach can be uniquely qualified to help a person eliminate or reduce that cause for concern.
Similarly, many corporations today are including financial education as part of corporate wellness. Many companies offer these services or will invite financial professionals into the office to talk about money management and budgeting. Similarly, many people in the online space are actively involved in promoting health and wellness in many facets. Bloggers, YouTubers, Podcasters, and Instagrammers can refer their listeners and readers to you when the subject of financial health and well-being comes up.
Building Your Network of Outside Business Partners
Find Good Partners
Really valuable referral partners want a value-add for their clients. They aren’t necessarily looking for a cut of your profits. The only referral bonus they want is keeping their clients and business partners happy. If they can help make their clients more engaged, wise, and satisfied on financial matters, then they look like superheroes for introducing their network and clients to you. Nurture partnerships with people who love to talk about you and what you do.
Share and Share Alike
Referrals should be reciprocal. If a referral partner sends someone your way, send one of your clients their way. After coaching someone on budgeting for a down payment on a house, get them in touch with your referral partners in real estate when they’re ready to start looking at properties beyond surfing the Redfin app. Reciprocation is a vital cog in business network construction. And the beauty of it is everybody wins.
Don’t Forget About Your Clients
People remember quality service, which is why as much as it’s beneficial to strike up referral partnerships with other business owners and entrepreneurs, do not forget your own clients. If you provide them with an unforgettable – dare we say life-changing – experience, they will tell their friends and family about you. Heck, they might even blast it on social media.
Your clients want their friends, family, and colleagues to do business with skilled, trustworthy people, so if you do a good job coaching someone, you’ve already planted a seed for a potential referral.
The Bottom Line
Your goal for all referral partner building is to have more one-on-one conversations. Referrals are great but they should all ultimately lead to more face time with potential clients.
We say that with confidence because conversations are how our business started out. Within a month or so of Kelsa starting Fiscal Fitness, she won a grant that gave her a year’s membership to the Arizona small business associate and to BNI, the business networking group. Within a few months of attending the weekly meetings, she started to get more and more referrals. All Kelsa had was a business card – no website, no Facebook, possibly not even an updated LinkedIn profile. But she had conversations with the business owners and professionals in her community who were talking to her ideal clients every day. Those conversations lead to more conversations and business started booming.
Ideally, business will boom for all parties involved in a good referral partnership. The outcome should be successful networking that strengthens relationships and creates more work. It’s in everyone’s best interest and bottom line.