Word of mouth is the best way to build a coaching client base in the long term. For coaches that have been in business for a while, this happens easily and naturally. For newer coaches, this takes intentional planning.
Initially referrals come from people you know through networking, presenting, training, or who know of you through your writing and internet presence. What this means is that when you are involved in any of these opportunities, be aware that while your next client might not be there, someone they know could be observing your work.
An additional opportunity for referrals include reaching out to organizations that serve your ideal clients and find out how your coaching services can be listed in their information.
Once you have a few coaching clients, a referral program is a nice option. Some coaches offer a fee or gift for referrals, others offer free sessions. Consider also offering both the current and the prospective client the same incentive.
The long-term key to building your client base through referrals is the quality of the coaching service you provide. This means your own professional development, coaching tools, and experience support your coaching business success.
What are your ideas for earning referrals?