How to Get More Client Referrals by Getting Clear on Who

Filling your practice with clients is one of the biggest challenges for new coaches. And while there are many ways to get the word out on your services, those efforts won’t be as successful as you’d like if you aren’t clear on who you help – in the right way.

Let me tell you a fascinating story on the power of communicating “who.”

Recently, a friend of mine whom I play tennis with was recently laid off from a comfortable network-administrator job in a prominent oil company, earning about 100K.

This event occurred at a particularly bad time because he had three daughters in middle school – all aspiring to go to college.

He had been looking for a new job for months but was unable to land one. He said the market is tough because there are younger people who can do his job for much less. He was also worried about what to do, and was afraid he wasn’t going to be to pay the bills.

As he gave me the details, I thought, “Wow. He’s pretty frustrated with his job search.”

And then a light went off in my head – “Ding! I know a career coach who helps job seekers who are frustrated with their search!”

A perfect match.

But here’s the crazy thing: I would not have made this connection if my career-coach friend didn’t repeatedly tell me that he works with “job seekers who are frustrated with their search.”

He told me this on the phone. He told me this via emails. He told me this on his website. He told me this in his newsletters.

In essence, he had engraved in my mind that he works with frustrated job seekers. And when it came time for me to identify a frustrated job seeker, I did so unconsciously.

And here’s the even crazier thing:

When I told my tennis buddy, “Hey, a good friend of mine helps people who are frustrated with their job search,” his eyes lit up like fireworks on the Fourth of July and he instantly demanded the coach’s name and number.

People know their problems intimately; they can feel the pain caused by their problems. They like to talk about their problems with others, and their radars are constantly scanning for ways to solve them.

The clear message of “who” that my career-coach friend puts out did its job well. It got me to identify my tennis buddy as a good referral, and it got my frustrated job-seeking tennis buddy to contact my career-coach friend for help.

The bottom line? When it comes to your marketing material, including your website, make sure you identify who you are looking to work with along with the problems they face.

On your website particularly, you have room to go into greater detail about who you work with. Give more specifics on demographics (age, sex, profession); more specifics on psychographics (beliefs, values, thinking); and, of utmost importance, more detail about the problems they face.

The key is to get crystal clear on “who,” by identifying your target audience as well as the problems and concerns they’re dealing with. Not only will this help you grab attention as you spread the word about your coaching services, it will result in your ultimate goal – getting more clients.