Weekly VA Marketing Tip: Get Aggressive About Referrals

Welcome to this edition of Weekly VA Marketing Tip! This series is specifically designed to help virtual assistants avoid marketing insanity. Every Monday, my posts will prompt you to accomplish one specific marketing action to promote, brand or position your professional virtual business.

Implement these tips each week and I guarantee you’ll sustain your marketing momentum, increase credibility and visibility in your field, build stronger relationships, boost your ‘know-like-trust factor,’ get more ideal clients looking for you, and have a consistent marketing game plan for your virtual assistant business.

You might even start to like marketing!

Get Aggressive About Referrals

Does the word aggressive scare you? I hope not. I'm not talking about being unprofessional, annoying or offensive. And I certainly don't want you getting involved with icky high-pressure marketing techniques.

I say aggressive because this week (well…  every week) I'm challenging you to take decisive, purposeful action to grow your business. Get ready to kick your business to a whole new level with this referral system.

Rick Crandall calls it “The Most Aggressive Referral System” in his book, Marketing Your Services: For People Who HATE to Sell, which was the inspiration for this Weekly VA Marketing Tip (scripts are taken from his book as well).

So, how does a virtual administrative assistant go about launching an aggressive referral building program?

The very first step is to believe that your virtual office assistant services make people's lives better.

The second step — which is pretty much the cornerstone of marketing a service-based business — is to be willing to spend most of your resources (time, money, energy, etc.) reaching out to your ideal clients, letting them know how you can make their lives better.

Once you've nailed down those steps, you're ready to move on.

When you have a satisfied client, make sure you tell them:

As you know, I get most of my business from referrals. [If applicable, continue with: For instance, you heard about me through So-and-So]. Would you be willing to write a letter commenting on how I've helped you in your business?

Most satisfied clients will gladly help you in this way. BUT (there's always a but!) your well-intentioned clients are busy people and they're not really sure what to write. If you leave the conversation at that, you may not see a letter for a long time (if ever). Don't take it personally.

Now your job is to continue making your client's life as easy as possible. This is where you:

  1. Thank them profusely for agreeing to help you in this way.
  2. Acknowledge how busy you know they are.
  3. Offer to write the letter on their letterhead.
  4. Send it to them to review and sign.

Tip: Interview them for 5 minutes or less (record the call) and draft the letter based on their actual words.

How do you want your referral letter to sound like? Think about the different aspects of your business:

  • your personality
  • your strengths
  • your work ethic
  • your values
  • the quality of your work
  • etc.

For each client, draft different questions that will cover all the benefits of working with you.

Are you uncomfortable just thinking about doing this? WAIT… I haven't got to the aggressive part yet!

Blow this referral-building marketing strategy out of the water with this next step.

After your client has agreed to write a letter (or have you write it for them), say:

Would you mind if I sent this letter to some people you know, rather than just keeping it as a general letter for the files?

Ask them who comes to mind. After they give you a name or two, continue with:

Could we go through your database to get ideas about to whom to send it?

Aggressive, right. But for whom? Admit it, it's only aggressive, because you're feeling uncomfortable.

If your clients are business-minded professionals, they will admire your tenacity, drive and diligence. They're thinking: If she's this persistent with marketing her own business, imagine what she can do for mine!

Remember, if this tip makes you squirm in your chair, know that it's making most other VA's who read this blog uneasy too. What's more, at least 80% of you will procrastinate and flat out refuse to undertake this week's marketing project.

Are you part of  the 20% who will choose to use their discomfort as an opportunity for growth?

So… that's your assignment this week! Get aggressive about your own business. Crusade for your own success.

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