Feb 22, 2018
Knowing how and when to ask for a client referral can make all the difference in expanding your network of clients and taking your business to the next level.
Clients are a tutor’s lifeline. They provide you with current work and, if you’ve done a good job, more work to come.
In addition to getting client testimonials about your stellar tutoring skills, tutors shouldn’t shy away from asking their clients for a referral.
After all, if tutors are going to make it last, they’ll need to know the art of growing their businesses through the natural network of word of mouth. When it comes to marketing a good or service, 90 percent of people trust their friends’ and family’s opinions: the same holds true for tutors.
So, how can you go about asking your clients for referrals?
As with testimonials, referrals should come toward the end of your current work with a client, or, in the case of a long-term tutoring relationship, when you feel comfortable asking after your client (or their student) has seen positive results.
In fact, you might ask for a testimonial and referral at the same point in time!
Asking too early or too late risks the client not being in a position (or inclination) to assist. And try to never ask for a referral when you’re discussing or delivering your invoice to a client.
Ask for a referral in person, ideally when you’ve completed recent work with your client. People appreciate the personal contact, and they’ll be more likely to cooperate. If you have business cards, leave some with your client, who can hand them out to potential future clients.
If a personal conversation is difficult logistically, a well-crafted email can suffice, too. However you ask, it’s important to be polite and direct with your request. You might say something along the lines of:
Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you (or your child). I’m happy that you’re pleased with my work. I’m always looking for referrals. If you know of anyone who might be interested in tutoring (or your specific sort of tutoring), please pass along my information.
Your client may refer you to others themselves, or be willing to give you names of potential clients, and if you ask for it, their contact information.
What’s the worst that could happen? Your client says no to your ask. And where’s the harm in that?
You might ease the burden on the client by offering a pro forma email referral that they can send to their contacts regarding your services.
Your pre-written email can look something like this (filling in what information you can provide about yourself and your services):
I don’t know if we’ve discussed this before, but I’ve been very impressed with my tutor [your name]’s work and results. I know you’ve been interested in getting a tutor for [you/your son, daughter, etc.]. [Your name] specializes in [your tutoring specialties; for example, test prep or math or reading]. Here’s their contact information [your contact information]. You two should get in touch!
Customize your template to fit your particular tutoring services and the sort of language you think your clients will understand and respond to.
Keep asking for referrals! The more you make it a routine to ask your clients for referrals, the more likely you are to scale your business through word of mouth. And that’s a sure way to scale successfully.