Your most effective referrals will come from your clients. After all, who else can endorse your services to other potential clients based on firsthand knowledge of the value you provide? But not all clients refer with the same vigor. So, in order to identify the appropriate business development strategy for your client base, segment them into categories: A, B, or C.
“A” clients have referred you business in the past and will likely do so again. They may not be your largest clients, but they are the most productive referral pipelines within your book of business.
“B” clients haven’t referred yet, but with some encouragement, you believe that they might.
“C” clients never refer. They may repeatedly engage your services and pay your fees, but don’t expect them to advance your practice beyond their own needs.
Once you’ve gone through this exercise, you can leverage your energy according to the most productive outcome. Reserve high-touch strategies for your “A”s (such as a dinner party or client appreciation event). “B”s should receive more education about your services (such as an invitation to your next seminar). There’s a good chance that the reason they haven’t referred is because they don’t have enough information about the services you offer or they need an easy way to introduce you to a colleague (hence the seminar invitation). As for the “C”s, send them your newsletter or a holiday gift—whatever it takes to keep them happy—but don’t put a lot of energy into your marketing where they’re concerned.
First things first: Identify your As, Bs, and Cs. Once you’ve compiled your lists, create an action plan to make sure your greatest efforts are spent on the clients who are most likely to refer new ones.