referral programReferrals. It’s the easiest, most affordable way to get new, great-paying clients. It’s a budget friendly marketing strategy that most entrepreneurs do not leverage in their own business. Let’s change that starting today.

According to the research report from Nielsen, people are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend? Four times! That’s powerful. When you have a formal Referral Program in place, your new leads for new Virtual Assistant clients increase even more.

When you have referral partners in place that benefit from your Referral program is an easy way to drive new leads of other like-minded people that you can serve.

Here’s 3 steps to create a Referral Program that will bring you great (new) clients with your new invisible sales force:

Step 1: Determine the budget for what you can afford and what you want to provide as a referral perk.

It doesn’t make sense to send someone $500 when you get a new client that only pays you $350 for your monthly service. Or sending a $150 bouquet of flowers to a referral partner that refers $75 job for you.

Instead, come up with a budget that makes sense for you and your bank account. Most of the time, the amount of money you spend isn’t the driving factor that motivates a referral partner. It’s feeling acknowledged and receiving a small token of appreciation that goes a long way.

You can send a gift, a hand-written note or personalized email, a cash thank-you bonus or a combination of a few different things. The great thing is that YOU can design your Referral Program that entices your referral partners to take action and fits within your budget.

One easy way to calculate a budget is to add up the average lifetime value of a new client and make 5% of that total your referral perk budget. For example, if an average lifetime value of a new client is $300 a month and you usually keep a client for a full-year, that new client is worth $3,600 so you can spend up to $180 on your referral perk.

Step 2: Establish your Referral Program and how it works

Once you figure out your budget and what you want to provide to people who referral you, you need to let people know how you want them to introduce you.

I ask my referral partners to do an email introduction and then let me take it from there. I also let my referral partners know that I will keep them in the loop on how it goes. (That’s a huge secret…referral partners want to stay in the loop on what’s going on. Connectors love to know that their connections matter.)

After you create the step-by-steps of how a referral partner can easily refer you and how they get their referral perk from you, it’s all about finding the perfect referral partners.

Step 3: Promote your Referral Program and nurture your referral partners

You must feel comfortable promoting your new Referral Program to people of influence. This could be current clients, past clients or people who know people who you would be fit to serve. By doing step 2, you’ll feel organized and professional to let others know about your Referral Program.

Tell your new referral partners about your Referral Program and answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

Let them know that you have a new Referral Program in place and how it works. They are your champions. Your referral partners will bring you qualified leads of new clients that are like-minded and ready to say YES to working with you.

Don’t forget to keep your referral partner in the loop and provide your referral perk when you get a paying client.

Bottom line, when you create a Referral Program that has perks that your perfect referral partners enjoy, you both will reap the rewards. It’s an easy way to market your services to fill your client roster.

Terra BohlmannTerra Bohlmann is the creator of The Business Mapping Method™ and a business coach for women entrepreneurs. She takes your ideas and runs them through her filter to sift out CONFUSION and leave you with the CONFIDENCE to run a profitable business. Her mission is to give you the tools and strategies to allow women entrepreneurs to not only impact the world, but also leave them proud of the business they built. Terra lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and 3 boys where her rescue cat and dog run their daily lives. You can learn more at