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Simple Ways to Better Manage Small Business Cash Flow

Guest writer: Amy Collett

In the simplest of terms, cash flow is the movement of money in and out of your business.

Without healthy cash flow, failure is imminent.

Your company can appear profitable on paper, but if you consistently have more cash going out than coming in, there’s simply no way to survive—much less succeed—in the long term.

Maintaining healthy cash flow comes down to implementing the right strategies.

You will likely experience ups and downs, but by prioritizing cash flow management, you can keep your small business in a position for long-term growth and success.

Here are some practical tips to help you get started.


Evaluate your business entity.

First of all, the business entity you operate under can make a significant impact on your cash flow. For example, by operating as a sole proprietor, you will likely receive the lowest tax rates compared to other structures. This is because you will report your business income and deduct losses on your personal tax return.

Starting a new business as a sole proprietorship is also the easiest and least expensive of all the structures. And when you work with an online service, the process of setting up and managing a sole proprietorship is even simpler.


Focus on inventory.

If you run a goods-based business, your inventory is essentially the same thing as cash. When you make only a couple of big purchases per year, for instance, it means that you have more cash tied up as you wait for your products to sell. By making smaller purchases more often, you will have more cash available for paying off debts and investing in growth.


Get paid.

Many small businesses struggle to maintain healthy cash flow because of outstanding receivables. Be proactive about getting paid by your customers and clients. Send out reminders via email and text—one week and a couple of days before a bill is due. And think of ways you can incentivize people to pay their bills early, such as offering discounted rates, exclusive access to new products, and so on.


Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Another great way to manage your cash flow is to negotiate. Remain willing to negotiate with both vendors and customers. As long as you have a good reputation for paying your bills on time, some if not all of your vendors may be willing to work with you.

For instance, if you order raw materials from a vendor and you know that it will be weeks or months before those raw materials become a sellable product, ask the vendor if you can pay for them a little later. Moreover, if you have customers who make large purchases from you and request to be put on a 60- or 90-day payment program, see if you can compromise and get your money sooner (such as a 30-day installment plan).


Revisit your accounting system.

One of the most fundamental steps in managing small business cash flow is ensuring that you have a reliable accounting system established. This includes maintaining an effective routine and implementing up-to-date software.

It’s essential that your data is current. Make any adjustments necessary so that your accounting system is producing data for your accounts receivable, accounts payable, liabilities, and available cash.

Any business owner is hard-pressed to succeed without effectively managing their cash flow. Remember to determine the best legal structure for your business, and pay attention to how you manage your inventory. Also, stay on top of your customers to ensure you get paid on time, and remain open to negotiating with customers and vendors. Finally, if you haven’t already, put a solid accounting system in place so that you can keep up with hard data and see the actual cash you have on hand.

Visit Referral Program Pros to boost your referral marketing and find more prospective clients. 


A checklist for any Realtor to get at least 2 client referrals this week

Over 70% of real estate deals happen because of a personal referral.

This figure only goes up for the top 5% of Realtors.

The most successful Realtors out there are getting lots of referrals.

So what separates you from them?

You both ask for referrals, right?


The top 5% have found a way to nurture their referral sources so that they don’t have to ask for referrals.

They just get them.

So you need to ask yourself...

How much more $ could you be making from referrals?

Feel free to take this micro quiz and find out.

Now, asking for a referral might prove fruitful once in a while, but it’s manual and unpredictable.

Here’s an analogy…

What are your favorite songs?

Kind of a tough one right?

If you’re like most people, you just sort of know em’ when you hear em’.

It’s the same when you ask “Got any referrals for me?”.

When people have to dig through the data in their brain, they instinctively try to find a way out.

You're probably familiar with the following...


Yup, we've all been there.

But the bigger problem is that most people don’t know anyone looking to buy or sell a property at any given time.

They actually can’t help you at that random moment in time.

And this is where most Realtors give up, thinking “Well, at least I asked!”.

No. NO. NO!

Here’s the thing… people are busy.

They go about their lives and 98.5% of the time they’re focused on their own stuff.

They have jobs, families, marriages, friends, vacations, errands, hobbies, etc..

Human attention spans are tiny, and they continue to shrink.

Even the kindest, most sincere people are not going to remember your polite hint to send referrals your way.

Especially days, weeks or months down the road.

And remember...

Referrals are still your main source of client acquisition.

And this is without even doing it right (for 95% of you at least).


It’s time to treat the referral channel with the attention it deserves

So if simply asking doesn’t work, how in the world do you get referrals?

It starts by creating a strategy that complements the characteristics of this channel.

I can't stress the importance of that last line enough.

But what are the characteristics of this channel?

Well, the channel is referrals.

The characteristics of this channel are:

  • Personal
  • Sporadic
  • High Value

Your strategy needs to be in sync with these characteristics, which means putting a system in place that addresses each one.

Personal - people are connected to you

Sporadic - people associate you with your industry

High Value - people want to send you ALL of their opportunities

Your system will include creating and running a Referral On-Ramp for your business.

When you have a Referral On-Ramp it means you have an easy, memorable, rewarding path for everyone in your network to send you referrals

This methodology has proven successful with thousands of businesses in dozens of industries, but it works particularly well in real estate due to the relative value of each referral.

We can confidently guarantee that if you complete all 6 of the items in this checklist and have the right offer, you will generate at least two client referrals in your first week.

Now, if you want to automate and scale your referrals, make sure to check out our guide “How to Maximize Client Referrals With Referral Program Pros” at the end of this page.

But before you do that, here is the checklist you came here for:

1) Set your referral goals

2) Create your referral offers and instructions

3) Make a list of your potential Ambassadors

4) Invite your potential Ambassadors

5) Send your referral offers and instructions to your Ambassadors


1) Set your referral goals


There’s an old saying “What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done”.

I don’t know who said it, but it sure rings true in my experience.

In order to be successful, it’s important to establish some sort of goal so you can pre-define what success looks like to you.

That’s one important part.

The other part is simply knowing your capacity, because you don’t want to set the expectation with your referral sources that you’ll take amazing care of all the referrals they send your way, and then end up with too many clients!

So, set your referral goals for a given period of time and track them.


2) Create your referral offers and instructions

The first thing people think to themselves when they’re asked to do almost anything is WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).

It’s just human nature.

This is why this step is super important.

By laying out your specific referral offers and instructions, you are clarifying the reward (WIIFM) up front.

You're also detailing exactly what your referral sources (we call them “Ambassadors”) should do when they come across a potential client they could send your way. 

Your referral offer for your new clients should include exactly what reward they get, how they get it, and when they get it.

Is it straight cash?

How much?

A gift card?

How much?

A post-move-in cleaning?

How do they qualify to receive the reward?

When, exactly will they receive the reward? 

Do the same thing for your Ambassador’s referral offer. 

Providing these details up front does a few things for you.

It gives your Ambassadors confidence that you will fulfill your end of the bargain.

It provides a memorable incentive so that people actually remember to bring you up in conversation and it gives people something to talk about - a reason to do business with you.

Be generous when creating your referral offers - after all, this is new business that otherwise wouldn’t be coming your way.


3) Make a list of your potential Ambassadors


You probably have well over 1,000 people in your social network.

If you include your family, friends, acquaintances, past clients and people on social media, the number is at least higher than you think.

Any and all of these people can be an Ambassador for your business.

Some people will do it because they love you.

Others will do it because they want a reward.

And others will do it because “hooking people up” is what they do.

No matter their reasons, you still get the referrals.

This is why your list should include everyone.

After all, you’re not asking them for anything.

You are inviting them to receive rewards by building your business alongside you.


4) Send invitations to your potential Ambassadors

 Once you have your list ready, it’s time to send your invitations.

This is a crucial step as you are now priming your Ambassadors to send you referrals.

This is the difference between asking for referrals and creating a system that generates them for you.

You’re not asking for referrals at this point.

You are simply inviting people to earn rewards by carrying the flag of your thriving business and sharing in your success.

In your invitation, you will let them know that you will be sending them offers (the referral offers you already created) to earn exciting rewards when they have referrals to send your way.

Would they like to join up and earn with you?

Leave it at that, then wait for responses.


5) Send your referral offers and instructions to your Ambassadors

Most people you know will be happy about earning rewards to help grow your business.

They’ll hop on board in droves.

Now you just need to send them the referral offers and instructions you already created in step 2!

You can also create new offers every week/month to keep things fresh.

The key is to communicate with your newly minted Ambassadors on a consistent basis so they are always ready to send you that next referral.


This is a proven methodology for generating referrals, plain and simple. If this does not produce at least 2 referrals in a week, please let us know so we can work with you on your offer and ensure your success.

Now, if you really want to automate and scale your client referrals, grab the guide below and let's blast the doors off your business RIGHT NOW...


How the Leading Financial Advisors in Atlanta are Taking Client Relations to the Next Level

Think of your business like the north pole.

Now think of your prospective clients like magnets.

NOW, think of your existing clients like the polarization for those magnets.

If you could check, would those magnets all be pointing north right now?

If you’ve ever read the book “Raving Fans” you understand that it’s not just good enough to satisfy your clients. 

Your goal needs to surpass client satisfaction to what we call determined sharing.


This means that your goal with every client is focused around what needs to happen to wow that client so they are determined to share their story about your services with everyone they know.

Mediocre financial advisors satisfy their clients to grow their bank account.

Good financial advisors please their clients to grow their book of business.

Excellent financial advisors wow their clients to expand their business via word of mouth.

The beautiful thing about this? 

You can make the jump to the “excellent” group (if you’re not there already) at any time.


How do you do this?

STEP 1: Survey your clients 

Ask them a series of questions about what has worked well or not so well during their time with you. You can do this via email or phone.


STEP 2: Look for patterns

Find the consistencies within your current clients and write them down.


STEP 3: Create an action plan

This is something you will need to do eventually anyway. However, taking a proactive approach allows you to prevent clients from dropping off and will show you gaps in your service. How will you take action to address the patterns you're finding?


STEP 4: Reach out individually

Address each survey respondent one by one with the steps you are taking to ensure their needs (the patterns you discovered) are being met. 


You’ll be surprised how much your clients will appreciate this proactive approach to addressing their needs.

This is the foundation to lay so that any time “financial advisor” comes up in their day to day conversations, they are the first to jump up and say “I love my Financial Advisor! They just get me!”.

Because you do.
Because you asked.
Because you acted.

This word of mouth is extremely important for your business.



But don't take it from us.

We asked some of the leading financial advisors in the Atlanta area what their thoughts were on the matter and how they grow their business.

Check out what they had to say below…


Name: Faye Sykes

Company: Scarlet Oak Financial Services

Website: www.scarletoakfs.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fayesykes/


How does word of mouth play a role for you as a financial advisor?

Faye:  "It’s my bread and butter, we have clients, friends, CPA's, Lawyers and Bankers that understand how we can assist our clients as a fiduciary and our specialties like Social Security retirement income planning."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a financial advisor?

Faye:  "Many people put themselves out as an financial advisor but in many cases they have a pre-agenda in asset gathering or insurance quotas. Understanding the company that they work for will direct in many cases they types of services provided. There is also a difference in "suitability" verses "fiduciary" and asking the advisor which are they. Suitable dictates that as long as its suitable to a client but maybe not the best option or makes the advisor more money then they can legally offer and sell. A fiduciary which held to the highest legal level in our industry and are legally obligated to offer their clients the best option even if they make less money. The other question you should always ask is how do you get paid. There can be a big difference in commission based sales - where the advisor makes money up front with no incentive to help your money grow- verses a fee based advisor where they get on the same side of the table as their clients in that the advisor which typically gets paid on a percentage of assets quarterly can only grow their income but helping their clients increase theirs."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Faye: "Clients come to us in three ways, Client/Gate opener referrals, Speaking- TV, Radio and Live events and through our social media and website."


Name: Shelby Green

Company: Sag Financial Group

Website: www.sagfinancialgroup.com


How does word of mouth play a role for you as a financial advisor?

Shelby: "Word of mouth is primarily how we grow our business, other people knowing about us through spread of others is most important and essential to our business growth opportunities."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a financial advisor?

Shelby: "When choosing a financial advisor, it is all about the relationship and trust. Who do you want to deal with for YEARS on end, who has YOUR best interest in mind. Who is a good fit for your specific circumstance and is going to maintain your most efficient goals during the duration of the relationship."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Shelby: "We find clients generally through social media outlets. Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, and referrals."


Name: Chris Quintana

Company: CQ Consulting Services

Website: www.CQConsultingservices.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedIn.com/christinaquintana

How does word of mouth play a role for you as a financial advisor?

Chris: "It’s most of my business. Word of mouth fuels my business."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a financial advisor?

Chris: "That not all advisors are the same. Many focus on retirement. I personally I use innovative strategies to increase cash flow for my clients today. By doing this they can live more now and in the future. I’m able to do this by creating contractual wealth instead of statement wealth. I guess you could say wealth behind wall st."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Chris: "Most of my clients come from referrals. As soon as the cash flow starts coming in they can’t help but tell there friends and colleagues. I started out just educating women and sending them to another advisor. Now I focus on educating and implementing the same strategies I’ve used to increase my wealth for my clients. Goal is to help clients to keep more of their money (less tax) make more and live more starting today!"



The sooner you start “wowing” your current clients, the faster your prospective clients will hear about you, and that’s where real exponential growth begins.


3 Accounting Insights from the Atlanta Area Experts


Realizing your best channel...

When is the last time you took a moment to think about where your current clients came from?

If you did an analysis on your client acquisition channels, what would the numbers tell you?

What percentage came from google ads (if you do that kinda thing)?

What percentage came from organic search or SEO?

What percentage came from the yellow pages? (boy, those were the days!)

What percentage came from good ol' fashioned word of mouth referrals?

Of course there are other channels, but which one sticks out the most to you?

If it's anything but word of mouth then congratulations - you have cracked the code to developing trust without any personal recommendations.

McKinsey tells us that over 50% of ALL purchasing decisions are influenced by word of mouth recommendations.

As Atlanta grows within this digital environment that number is likely to get much bigger. 

There are certain services people buy based on what the people they know say about the people providing those services.

Great accounting is one of them...


Some valuable insight...

We looked into this further to get a sense of the impact that word of mouth marketing and referrals has on other accountants and reaching prospective clients.

Here is what some of the most highly rated Accountants in the Atlanta area had to say in our Q&A:

Nicole Williams

Company Name:  Frazier & Deeter, LLC

Email:  [email protected]

LinkedIn URL:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicole-williams-9a13b350/

How does word of mouth play a role for you as an accountant?

Nicole:  "Word of mouth plays an extremely important role as a CPA and advisor. At the end of the day, I want clients to feel like our relationship is more than just "completing tax forms" - because it is! We're there to advise on a variety of business and personal topics. When I receive a word of mouth referral, it warms my heart because it lets me know that my client values our relationship and that they consider me a trusted advisor."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing an accountant?

Nicole:  "I wish people knew of all the topics that CPAs and accountants can assist with. Tax compliance is just one of the many services that a tax CPA offers. Your CPA should be someone that you feel comfortable asking an assorted of questions to, someone who makes time for you and takes the time to understand your plans and goals."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Nicole:  "I typically find my clients through referrals - word of mouth from clients, financial advisors, or just "bumping" into someone on LinkedIn!"


Angela Roberts

Company Name:  Main Accounting Services LLC

Email:  [email protected]

Website:  mainaccounting.com

LinkedIn URL:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/main-accounting-services

How does word of mouth play a role for you as an accountant?

Angela:  "Word of mouth (referrals) is essential to our business growth. We find that our clients love us and tend to refer us to their friends and colleagues on a regular basis."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing an accountant?

Angela:  "There are many different types of accountants. Some are CPAs or EAs and prepare tax returns while others may offer customized advisory and bookkeeping services. We recommend analyzing your current needs and then outsource to an expert in your industry. For example, we support and niche in the law firm industry. We help small law firms get their accounting workflow established, recommend and implement back office software, do all of the bookkeeping (including trust accounting), and offer customized reporting to help law firm owners understand the financial condition of their business. There are specific areas in each industry that may require expertise and pairing with someone who knows your industry can be extremely helpful."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Angela: "We typically find our new clients through client referrals. We do an outstanding job of supporting our clients, they appreciate what we do and tell their friends and colleagues to reach out to us for a free consultation."


Dave Wittman

Company Name:  DRW CPA & Associates

Email:  [email protected]

How does word of mouth play a role for you as an accountant?

Dave:  "Personal referrals is my go-to way to get clients for my tax business. Whenever you're dealing with money, nothing word of mouth referrals because you really need that trust."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing an accountant?

Dave:  "I wish people knew which types of accountants to go to for certain use cases. If you need business accounting, go to a CPA that deals primarily with business accounting. And if you need personal tax help, go to a CPA that specializes in personal income. Experience is key, but specialized experience is even better."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Dave: "We ask our current clients! Learning how to ask for referrals has been one of my most successful life lessons."


Word of mouth as a tool to bring in new clients in the accounting industry can make or break your business. Leverage the trust you've already built up and apply it.

It's necessary, and it works!


3 Minneapolis Real Estate Insights from the Industry Experts of 2021

Prospective clients involves prospecting a social foundation...

When it comes to how people choose real estate agents, word of mouth plays a powerful role.

But you already knew that.

However, in small to medium sized cities like Minneapolis, that factor only grows.

Prospective clients are relying on their network of friends and family when they're looking for a new agent to represent them, rather than searching on google.

In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, 90 percent of homebuyers rely on referrals when making their purchase decisions. 

When you ask your friends or coworkers which realtor they found helpful, chances are there’s someone to recommend. 

The best realtors won’t push the sale but will focus on building relationships with everyone in hopes that they refer business to them.

They specifically ask friends and family for referrals when they are ready to purchase.

A simple word-of-mouth recommendation will often be the best marketing tool available to you.

Good realtors will know this and build strong relationships with people in their community.

Great realtors are born naturals at this.

The best could probably run for mayor. Nothing against you Mr. Frey...

We’ve asked some of the most highly rated Minneapolis realtors a few simple questions to leverage their expertise on the matter of prospective clients.

Check out their answers below to learn how they use word of mouth to get new clients through referrals...


Realtor: Nick Sundahl

Email: [email protected]

Brokerage: Keller Williams Classic Realty NW

Website: www.nicksundahl.com

LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicksundahl/

How does word of mouth play a role in your real estate business?

Nick: “It's imperative. It's the true measure of whether people who know you, also like you and TRUST you with what may be their biggest investment.”

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a real estate agent?

Nick: "A Realtor/Real Estate Agent is there to look out for YOUR best interests, and the barriers to entry are low in this business. So not all agents are created equal. It is on the customer to do their due diligence when interviewing and asking what that agent does when it comes to guiding them. Don't be shy!!"

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Nick: "My database of friends/family/past clients/etc. are the main source for referral business and I also have a YouTube channel where people watch my videos and reach out."


Realtor: Ashley Rabemahefa

Email: [email protected]

Brokerage: Kris Lindahl Real Estate

Website: https://www.krislindahl.com/?ashleyr

LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashleyrabemahefa/

How does word of mouth play a role in your real estate business?

Ashley: "Word of mouth, or what I'd call referrals, is the finest form of flattery and the best compliment that I could get as a Realtor. What better way to say "I entrusted you with one of the largest transactions I will have in my life and I want you to do the same thing with my friends or loved ones."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a real estate agent?

Ashley: "A great Realtor truly wants the best for you. That means they put your needs ahead of their own and get the job done with a smile. They see their clients through the transaction with their clients best interest in mind. They take calls emails at any time of the day and get things done in a timely and professional manner."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Ashley: "Your sphere of influence of the people around you are really important to constantly market yourself to, and to add value to their own professional/ personal life. Having a strong sphere of influence will also add value to my new clients that I get from team leads or from referrals as well. I have a painter, carpet cleaner, general contractor and handy man, an IT professional, cleaners, and more that I personally know that are my genuine friends and family that I can bring to the table when a seller or buyer are in a bind. Not only am I bringing value to my sphere by bringing them new business, I am helping my clients find a vendor or someone to help that is trusted, vetted, and backed by someone they know and trust."


Realtor: Tony Farah

Email: [email protected]

Brokerage: Coldwell Banker Realty

Website: Www.TonyFarah.com

LinkedIn URL: LinkedIn.com/tonyfarah

How does word of mouth play a role in your real estate business?

Tony: "Word of mouth is huge. It is a compliment to a wonderful experience that every client would be willing to exchange with others."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a real estate agent?

Tony: "The reason they do real estate for a living."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Tony: "I find a way to spark a conversation with total strangers. Lots of times, it leads to new prospects looking to buy or sell. Of course, past clients and SOI are a great lead source as well."


Realtor: Steve Casalenda

Email: [email protected]

Brokerage: RE/MAX Results

Website: https://www.stevecasalenda.com

LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-casalenda-a098bb10/

How does word of mouth play a role in your real estate business?

Steve: "Word of mouth plays a huge role in my business. Whether it is past or current clients, closers from my title company, loan officers, or even contractors that I or my clients have used over the years for repairs, I am consistently getting new business opportunities through word of mouth. There is nothing more important in any business than a satisfied client that tells someone else about their positive experience working with you."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a real estate agent?

Steve: "I wish they realized the true importance of working with a real estate agent that not only knows the market but has good strong knowledge about the ins and outs of the structure and components of a home. A real estate agent is not just merely a key to gain entrance to potential homes. The amount of time that I spend each year staying informed about the mechanicals of homes, as well as the local market, is something most people don't realize."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Steve: "I do advertising locally and try and keep a large social media presence but the main component to new business is my referral base. I may be conservative with this number but I am going to estimate that at least 90% of my business comes from referrals from satisfied clients. I spend a lot of time and money staying in touch on a regular basis with all of my past clients and they continue to be the main source of my ongoing business."


Realtor: Uma Tamaisar

Email: [email protected]

Brokerage: BuyRentSell.com

Website: https://www.buyrentsell.com/

How does word of mouth play a role in your real estate business?

Uma: "Significantly. It’s extremely powerful when someone talks highly of your services to their friends and family. It creates a domino affect and you can’t put a price on that."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a real estate agent?

Uma: "You have to have a connection. Everything takes time, so selling your home or trying to find your dream home can take a lot longer than anticipated in certain situations. Be patient and have trust your real estate agent is following true to their fiduciary duties."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Uma: "My database of friends/family/past clients/etc. are the main source for referral business and I also have a YouTube channel where people watch my videos and reach out."


Realtor: Brianna Lindgren

Email: [email protected]

Brokerage: Keller Williams Integrity Edina


How does word of mouth play a role in your real estate business?

Brianna: "Our business is nearly 100% referral-based. We provide top-notch service to our clients so we can work closely with our sphere of influence and the people they care about."

What do you wish people knew more about when choosing a real estate agent?

Brianna: "How valuable we are and how much money we can SAVE them! Whether our clients are buying, selling, or investing in real estate it's so important to have a professional who works every day in this industry. Especially with the current demands of the market."

How do you typically find new clients to work with?

Brianna: "Most of our clients come from referrals of past and current clients. We also host several events throughout the year, including charity events, giveaways, and seasonal events."



Realtors are chosen based off personal recommendations and that likely won't change anytime soon, if ever. This means that expanding your network and remaining top of mind is crucial to the volume of new clients you can access. Fortunately, there are some great strategies you can implement to make you and your clients super successful.



How To Ask For Referrals That Will Make You Flush With New Clients

Being shy with prospective clients...

There’s a very costly problem that has permeated our business culture.

It costs all of us both time and money.

That problem is shyness.

Now, you might be thinking “Hang on a minute, I’ll talk to ANYONE. I’d pitch Mark Cuban if he were here. I am NOT shy.”

And that’s all good, and I believe you. But there’s a mountain of difference between talking and talking with clear intention.

As our tools for communicating have grown, our tendency to make the most of each encounter has diminished.

This is the shyness I'm talking about.

Somewhere buried in those great conversations with prospects, the ones you walked away from thinking “Wow, I am on FIRE!” is you ignoring that shyness.

Instead, you had the confidence and mindset to go for it. You were clear, direct and bold. 

You felt like a super hero...

Learning how to ask for referrals the hard way...

Consider my friend James who sells insurance.

He started as a claims adjuster and worked his way up to being a broker. With his personality it was only natural.

The guy makes friends everywhere. He’s funny, full of energy but humble. He compliments everyone. He just makes you feel good about yourself, and about life.

But for years James struggled to get new clients. He built up a decent book of business with family, friends and people he knew. A lot of his clients just fell in his lap through his existing network.

But he couldn’t figure out how to break through and grow his business.

He did some advertising but that wasn’t well suited for his business. He tried with more of his peripheral friend group but realized they weren’t as easy to sell to as he’d hoped. He would ask all these people if they might know someone they could refer, but nothing came of that either.

After some years of this the future was looking bleak and James was thinking of hanging up his business to get a “normal job”. 

Then a very fortunate conversation occurred.

As James was talking to an old client about moving on from the business,  his old client asked him...

“How come you’ve never mentioned anything to me about referrals? I know a bunch of people that I’m sure you’d hit it off with from my real estate days. I just sent Marty a couple finance-related referrals last week. He’s always reminding me, but it’s great because I get a nice fee for any of them that end up as his clients. Have you ever really learned how to ask for referrals?”.

As James was telling me this story he said he was infuriated by this question. He HAD mentioned it! He HAD brought it up! He HAD inquired! He KNOWS how to ask for referrals.

But then it all became so obvious. He did not know. He had not been clear. He had not been direct. He had not been bold.

And what’s worse, is that he realized he had not been clear, direct or bold about referrals with anyone. Ever.


Referral Programs = Referral Sources = Referrals

James decided right away that he was going to start his own referral program and invite everyone he knew to participate. He was going to be very blunt about what he wanted from them, how they could benefit, and what they would need to do if they were interested in participating. Then he went to work. 

Fast-forward 10 months later and James has hired 2 new full-time employees to handle all of his new business. He has literally dozens of people sending him referrals on a monthly basis.

I asked him if I could use his story for this article and asked him to explain what he’s doing differently now.

“I prime my referral sources by inviting them to participate in my referral program. I’m very explicit about how they will benefit and what they need to do. I always figured people would just send business my way because of the relationship I had with them. I couldn’t have been more wrong.” 

I’m so happy to be able to share this story because it aligns perfectly with what we do at Referral Program Pros - providing a platform to run your referral program with intention. Now, James got there on his own, but he set up his referral program using the same method we use at RPP:

  1. Create offers specific to your unique business model and outline the benefits (be clear)
  2. Invite your referral sources to participate (be direct)
  3. Send your offers and motivate your referral sources (be bold)


Run a test to get more clients

I highly encourage you to set up a referral program if you don’t have one already. Or perhaps you do have one but maybe it could use some tweaks or refreshing. 

Don’t take it from me though. Run a simple test and see for yourself.

Set up what your referral program might look like in your head.

What would your offer and reward be?

How will you communicate this offer and reward to potential referral sources?

What do they need to do to get the offer in the right hands and reap the reward?

Who type of people make up your prospective clients?

How will you follow up and remind them? 

Think this stuff through. Then, text time you’re in front of someone that you know could send you referrals, talk to them about your “referral program”.

You’ll be surprised by the response you get when people can see what’s in it for them and how they can clearly get there. 


Take Action

To be clear, this isn’t anything new. It’s not revolutionary. But it is what separates the mildly successful from the uber-successful. 

I hope this message helps grow your business. And I think you'll be astonished by how many people out there would be thrilled to help you grow (just make sure you take care of them!). 


How to pay a referral fee for new clients: An epic 10 example guide

I don’t care what industry you’re in. If you're a small business, competition is FIERCE.

Polished websites are easy, great reviews are easy, targeted advertising is easy (though very expensive), and it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out.

But because these things are “easy” the tides are starting to turn, and your potential clients are becoming hungrier for what they can trust.

If you weren’t aware, before we had the internet, the most powerful way for any small business to get more customers was good ol’ fashioned word of mouth referrals. 

The good news for you? 

Referrals are worth more now than ever, and you have the ability to get loads of them. So being prepared with a pre-determined referral fee is super important.

The challenge?

Making the act of referring business ridiculously memorable, simple and motivating in the midst of all those busy lives out there.

In this guide we cover all 3 of these aspects in 10 different examples that can be applied to nearly any service business model that exists.

First, here are the action steps that every successful referral program should follow, regardless of your business model:

STEP 1:  

Inviting Your Referral Sources... 

This step is overlooked nearly always. 

Most small businesses wait until they get a referral and then awkwardly have a conversation with their referral source about how appreciative they are and what they can do for them and yada yada.. 

Be proactive. 

Send out a digital invitation and welcome your family, friends, acquaintances and previous clients as people you want representing your business because of the respect you have for them

There is nothing wrong with a little flattery here. 

Most importantly, make it clear that it is your company policy to give rewards for referrals. 

Take the awkwardness right out of it. You want referrals and you want to pay for them. Come out and say it. It’s refreshing and it’s good business.


STEP 2:  

Creating Your Offers…

There are three parts to this and it’s important to get this right.  This is the step that will change depending on your business model, and is explained below, alphabetically by profession.

  1. What an average new customer is worth to you (net profit) = A
  2. Your referral fee to take care of your referral sources = B
  3. Your referral fee to reward your new clients = C

A - B - C = PROFIT



Sending Your Offers…

You can send an offer to anybody and tell them to refer you business, but it’s far more relevant and effective if you give them to people who are already excited to receive them.

These are your referral sources (or Ambassadors as we call them). 

This is why Step 1 is so important. It allows you to have a framework for handing out your offers to people who will be expecting them. 

When you are giving your offers, it is crucial that you be very upfront about what your Ambassador will receive AND what any referrals will receive....for a very specific result.

Don’t just say “you’ll get X amount for any referrals you send my way” but rather “I’m excited to offer my Ambassadors $200 cash for any new client that signs a contract for my XYZ services.” 



Tracking and paying your Ambassadors and referrals…

This is obviously a crucial step but we won’t be focusing on it for the purposes of this article. 

Shameless plug:  we do offer an easy solution for this along with setting up the rest of your referral program on our platform at Referral Program Pros


So here we go…

Here is our guide for how small businesses should setup their referral programs including their referral fee with examples from 10 different professions. 

As you will find, the structures of referral programs across different industries are not one-size fits all.

The way you educate your referral sources will vary from one industry to the next (the message a real estate agent delivers will be different than that of a life coach). 

More importantly, what you offer for the results you want will vary drastically across different industries based on cost of goods and profit margins. 

We chose our below professions/industries carefully so that every small business model can be applied to one or more of the examples in this guide.

Again, the only step that changes in the process from above is Step 2 - Creating Your Offers...


Accountant Referral Fees

A: What an average new customer is worth to you (net profit): 

B: Referral fee for your referral source: 

Cash or Credit: Cash

Set Amount or Percentage:  Set Amount

Why:   People don’t change Accountants very often, so it really doesn’t matter if you give away cash or credit. In these instances you should ALWAYS give away cash because the perceived value will be much higher in the eyes of your referral source. Just make sure to make this amount motivating enough for your referral sources - we suggest around $300 once billing reaches X amount.  The amount each client pays you varies quite a bit but many of them will be your clients long-term. Don’t get stuck paying a percentage of everything you’re making for all friend referrals.

C: Referral fee for your new customer: 

Cash or Credit: Credit

Set Amount or Percentage: Set Amount

Why: By offering credit you’ll be able to entice them with a higher dollar amount. You can show your new customers that you’re serious about earning their business and that you’re investing in the relationship. Because you’re offering credit, by going with a set amount you can afford to make it a big number (we suggest around $300 once billing reaches X amount).  Again, people don’t change Accountants often, so take advantage of this and provide value for your new client all at once.

If you’d like to formalize your referral program, here is some more specific info regarding referrals for accountants 


Architect or Designer Referral Fees

A: What an average new customer is worth to you (net profit):  

B: Referral fee for your referral source: 

Cash or Credit: Cash

Set Amount or Percentage: Set Amount

Why:   Many of your referral sources may not need your services any longer - they are likely past or dormant clients, so credit might not be super motivating. A set amount is more lucrative for you as well because your jobs will be in the thousands but a $500 cash reward (which is what we recommend) should be quite motivating for your referral sources.

C: Referral fee for your new customer:  

Cash or Credit: Credit

Set Amount or Percentage: Percentage

Why: It’s tough to know how big a project is going to end up being in your line of work, but you want to be able to offer enough to bring every potential job over the finish line. The way to mitigate this is to offer a straight percentage off the total bill if they work with you. We recommend 10% to reward new clients to work with you.

If you’d like to formalize your referral program, here is some more specific info regarding referrals for small businesses


Contractor Referral Fees

A: What an average new customer is worth to you (net profit):

B: Referral fee for your referral source:

Cash or Credit: Cash

Set Amount or Percentage:  Set Amount

Why:  Many of your referral sources may be previous clients who don’t have a need for your services any longer, so offering cash will be far more motivating than credit. You definitely want to offer a set amount since your cost of goods can vary dramatically and a percentage would leave you with very little profit on a high-dollar/low margin job. We recommend at least $200 for any job $5,000+.

C: Referral fee for your new customer:

Cash or Credit: Credit

Set Amount or Percentage:  Percentage

Why:  Contractors really need to protect themselves when it comes to their offers or “specials”. Not only should you offer credit, but you should also have a minimum amount of spend before the reward kicks in. If you offer $500 of credit and the job ends up being $2,000 with slim margins you could be losing money on the deal pretty quick! We recommend 10% in credit for any job so you can better control your margin.

If you’d like to formalize your referral program, here is some more specific info regarding referrals for small businesses

Cosmetologist or Beautician Referral Fees

A: What an average new customer is worth to you (net profit):

B: Referral fee for your referral source:

Cash or Credit: Credit

Set Amount or Percentage:  Set Amount

Why:  Your referral sources are mainly going to be current clients, so they should see credit on future services just like cash. This is also a great way to retain your current clients and encourage them to spread the love. Make sure to give a set amount to your referral sources for each new client they refer since those clients could be with you for a long time. We recommend $50 in credit for every new paying client.

C: Referral fee for your new customer...

Cash or Credit: Credit

Set Amount or Percentage: Percentage

Why: Offering credit protects you from having to shell out too much cash if the initial visit ends up in a small sale, and doing a percentage encourages these first-time clients to spend more. After their first visit they should be loving this deal and have some more friend referrals to send your way! We recommend 50% off the first visit.

If you’d like to formalize your referral program, here is some more specific info regarding referrals for solopreneurs


Dentist Referral Fees

A: What an average new customer is worth to you (net profit):

B: Referral fee for your referral source:

Cash or Credit: Cash


Your 5 item checklist for referrals in business


When it comes to being a business owner, there are two key aspects to consider for success:


1. Finding clients that will purchase your products or services.

2. Making sure that each customer recommends your services to other people. 

One is for survival and the other is for longevity, so you need both in order to create a business that is truly successful.

Today, we are going to be talking about 5 powerful "must haves" that will help you create a successful referral program for your business in no time...


1) Give referrals the importance they deserve

This first tip is about giving referrals the value and the time they deserve, but many business owners don’t see how crucial it is to have a good referral program.

The truth is that this is one of the most powerful ways to market your business and you should invest as much time and money in this process as you can.

Once the referral program is launched, you will see a huge difference in your ability to bring new buyers to your business.


2) Create great incentives for advocates to refer your business

Your advocates are the people who will refer your services to others, so you need to make sure that they will have a good reason to do this.

You can create all kinds of reward systems for your advocates.

A good idea is to give them a discount for every referral when they purchase your services again, or you could give them a VIP pass for benefits and special deals.

The most important thing is to make sure that there is something of value to gain for the person referring your business.

The rewards are up to you, but they should be good enough to encourage people to take the time to refer your business.


3) Make referrals an easy process for advocates

When people decide to refer your business, they are not likely to have anything printed or any phone number or email to give to people.

They are just going to mention your business and this could make it hard for people to remember the name and search for it online.

The best way to avoid this is to consider the use of printed cards that you can send to your advocates for free and this is a great way to promote your business offline.

You could also create special referral links on social media so that it will be easy for people to share them with their contacts online.


4) Make sure that advocates stay motivated

Advocates who bring in a referral and get a reward should always be informed of the status of their referral.

Keep your advocates informed on their referred customers and let them know if the referral has turned into a paying customer.

Creating different levels of rewards based on the actions of the person referred is going to be a very encouraging and motivating decision.


5) Make your referral program easy to find

When people visit your website, they should have no problems finding their way to your referral program.

Make sure that this is very visible on your website menu, social media, and any platform that you use constantly.

If you want to ensure optimal results, you can hire the professional services of Referral Program Pros.

They can provide a link that you will be able to use on your website to share your referral program with your potential advocates for maximum exposure.


Final thoughts...

Referrals can provide an excellent source of new customers for your business, but you need to make sure that you can create a solid program behind it in order to encourage people to promote your business.

Here are some GREAT EXAMPLES of other referral marketing initiatives that should help get the creative juices flowing.

This is the type of decision that can make a world of a difference for your business in terms of sales and longevity, so you should consider it a priority.

We hope this helped give some perspective on referral programs for a small business and how you can get more leads through referrals.

Now get out there and grow your business!


3 steps and 29 tools - A guide to become a Solopreneur by the end of this weekend

We're going to make good on our promise for you to become a Solopreneur by the end of this weekend. 

That means we want you to have this info in about 7 minutes so you can get started ASAP. 

We know there are tons of great businesses out there waiting to happen, but we've found that most of them never get started because people don't know WHERE to start. 

Then the idea is lost, gone forever. 

We're here to create that spark. 

To nudge would-be Solopreneurs in the right direction. 

We've organized this guide into 3 steps with tools for each one.  Each step represents the important "departments" in your business to focus on, and in this order:

  • Finance
  • Operations
  • Sales/Marketing

This is meant to be a "start" - a framework to get whatever brilliant idea you have off the ground and into something.  Enjoy...


STEP 1 - Finance

This is an obvious first step as you will need to decide HOW you are going to finance your business. 

Depending on what business you are starting you may not need much, but you will need something to pay for the basics.

Here are your options:

In any case, make sure you decide what your investment is going to be and stick to it. 

Be realistic but also give yourself a chance to succeed. 

Once you have your financing in place, keep a separate bank account and credit card for your business so as not to mix your business finances with your personal finances.  


STEP 2 - Operations

We've separated these into 3 buckets:

Email, Website and Data:



This is more important than you may think. 

Your email provider should be able to include your domain name such as “[email protected]” vs just “[email protected]”. 

Our advice?  Do yourself a favor and just use google’s email service, Gsuite -  https://gsuite.google.com/



This one will differ depending on whether you’re selling a service, physical products or informational products.  

We’ve broken down our recommendations for each type of business:

Service business:

Physical products business:

Informational products business:

No matter what business or website type you choose, you will need hosting.  We prefer GoDaddy as it’s very straightforward and inexpensive.  You can have your domain name up and running in no time:



You’ll want to make sure you are capturing and managing your data right out of the gates.  

You’ll need a place to keep your ideas, marketing assets, sales copy, research links, login info and everything else organized.  

For this it’s hard to beat Google Drive.  

With one free service you can create documents, spreadsheets, drawings and store files.  It’s simple and free.  

-Google Drive - https://www.google.com/drive/



STEP 3 - Sales/Marketing

There are a TON of options out there to help you with your sales and marketing efforts.  

We’ve chosen the ones that will get most businesses out of the gates the fastest with the strongest results.  

We’ve separated them into 3 buckets and in this order:  

Research, Craft, Deliver

RESEARCH - Identify the how, where, who, when, what of getting exposure for your business

CRAFT - Create a kick-ass, clear and concise message about who you are, what you do, and most importantly WHY you do it.  

For example, integrating video content marketing is a very important aspect to grow your business online right now. If you need more convincing here are a TON of video marketing statistics that you should be aware of. You can easily outsource the video content or you can just learn how to create them on your own.

Here are some others, such as:


DELIVER - Decide on what channels and methods you will use to deliver your message to future customers:

Email Marketing:   

These are the best in the biz for sending emails to your email list.  

And while we're on the topic, it's good to get started early on gathering emails from prospective clients and customers as soon as you can.  Here is a great article on this topic - https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/killer-email-list/


Online Advertising:

These are our favorite articles for the fastest results on the most popular platforms:


Content Marketing:

It’s super important to be publishing your content as much as possible.  It may not be great at first, but keep at it and over time you will get better as you get more and more published out there.  Plus, it will help you define your message, your audience, and is something you can do for FREE right now.

This will be a very useful article for you to read - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing


Referral Program:

This is where we come in. 

We'll keep it short and sweet since you can learn more about what we do on our site at https://www.referralprogrampros.com but a referral program is the single most effective way to generate new customers for any small business. 

If you've had any referral program ideas in the past, this is a great place to start as nothing beats word of mouth these days.

Feel free to contact us at [email protected] as we are always eager to help up and coming small businesses like yours!


5 Steps To Get Prospective Clients in 2021

The State of Business Today...

It’s 2021. Your prospective clients are becoming more and more difficult to reach. 

Advertising dollars are not nearly as reliable anymore and behaviors can change literally overnight. 

As an individual professional or a small business owner, how do you get your message out reliably and in a way that resonates with your prospective clients?  How do you stand out from the masses?  How can you afford it?  

While traditional, facebook, or google ad campaigns are getting more expensive and less effective, the importance of trust is on the rise. 

This is GREAT news for you!

Why?  Because it’s much easier for a small business to leverage trust, especially if they leverage referrals.

Referrals are highly personal and extremely powerful.  They come at the right time, to the right people, for the right reasons.

Consider some of these stats...


Obviously referrals are crucial when you're accepting new clients. This is why the folks at Referral Program Pros have created this FREE GUIDE:

5 Steps To Get Prospective Clients in 2021

1. Your Goal

2. Your Offer

3. Recruitment

4. Motivation

5. Compensation 


1) Your Goal

This is key.  Think about what you want to accomplish.  Are you trying to double your business? 10x your business?  Are you just starting out but want to ramp up strong with your first sales?  

In an ideal world, how many NEW customers would be coming your way? 

Be thoughtful and realistic about this. Dream big, but make sure you can handle an influx of new business. 

A properly designed and well executed referral program is extremely effective at generating new customers.  


2) Your Offer

What is your business model?  How much is your average sale?  What does it cost you to make that sale? 

Your margins will play a big part in how you structure the offer for your referral sources. 

What stage are you at in your business? Are you just starting out? Looking to add a few more customers here and there?  Ready for massive growth?

These answers will affect the offer you make to your referral sources. 

Keep in mind that this is all NEW business that you would most likely have had otherwise. 

Say you're a personal trainer and you have a 3 month package for $2,500.  You might offer $250 to your referral sources for this as long as you're not going to fill up with full paying clients. 

After all, you can have 100% of $0 or you can have 90% of $2,500.


3) Recruitment

Who do you ask to be a referral source?  How many people do you ask? HOW do you ask?  What types of people make the best referral sources?  What is the best system for ongoing recruitment?

First of all, the key here is not to ASK, but rather to INVITE referral sources to be an advocate for your business.

You're doing this because you value the relationship and you feel comfortable with them being a brand ambassador for you. 

You need to make this point VERY clear.

Then tell them what the offer is (how they will benefit) as clearly as possible and invite them to be a part of this exclusive group of brand ambassadors.


4) Motivation

Once you have referral sources on board, how do you ensure that they stay excited and keep your business top of mind?  What tools can you give them to bring in referrals? What are they trying to get out of it?  What kind of value add can you offer to keep their attention and maintain engagement? 

Knowing these things up front is the difference between STARTING a referral program and MONETIZING a referral program.  


5) Compensation

This is an often over-looked aspect of a referral program, and can cause you to either keep or kill your golden geese. 

Whatever the agreement was, keep it.

Compensate your referral sources on time, every time and err on the side of generosity to keep them laying golden eggs for you. 

Again, keep in mind that this is all NEW business that you wouldn't have had otherwise.

Paying referral sources is basically like paying for more advertising.  With a reward in hand, they'll certainly be likely to deliver you business at the next opportunity. 


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