Build Your Practice with Centers of Influence
One of the fastest ways to build a thriving coaching practice is to get in touch with the centers of influence in your network.
Centers of influence are the people who like and respect you. They also come into contact with enough people on a daily basis to refer you to the right people. Connectors are the natural networkers that seem to know everyone. They thrive on putting people together, just for the fun of it.
One meeting with one of these centers of influence can bring you a flood of new referrals that can help grow your business.
Who do you know?
You have more centers of influence than you think in your network. The best way to find out is to sit down and brainstorm a list of your connections:
- Family —- siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins. Where do they live and work? Who do they know?
- Friends — the connections you have from your social life. Think high school, college, social clubs, your gym, athletic or fitness clubs, and other hobbies and interests.
- Work —- the managers, bosses, colleagues, and friends you are in touch with from past and/or current jobs.
- Religion — the friends and leaders that you know from your place of worship.
- Community —- any connections you have from volunteer work, from neighborhood events, or other community activities.
Once you have your list, look at the names. Start circling the ones that you know who are natural networkers and connectors.
If you are currently in touch with your list of natural networkers, you can reach out with a warm letter of introduction.
Introducing Your Practice
Your warm letter is a friendly, informative introduction to your coaching practice. You can let your contact know what you have been up to in your business and what you have accomplished.
You should mention the type of people that would be great referrals for your business. If you have honed in on a niche market, definitely let your contact know what it is.
Do not make a sales pitch in the letter — it is simply a way of announcing that you are in business and looking for referrals.
You can send your letter as an email. If you really want to stand out, you can print it out and send in the mail.
It helps to personalize each printed letter with a quick handwritten note. You can also include an invitation to meet for a virtual (or in-person) coffee or lunch to catch up.
Once you have sent it, you can follow up a week later to set up a meeting.
Ask For a Warm Introduction
What do you do if you’re not in direct contact with your centers of influence? Is there someone in your circle that is in touch with that connector?
You could ask that person to connect you over email or through social media. Once you connect, follow up and set up a time to meet.
Once you meet with your new contact, make sure to offer them something, too.
Offering Value to Your Centers of Influence
Think about how you can create a win-win for you and your connector. How can you help them grow?
You never know what you can offer until you ask. Some questions that may uncover their current needs include:
- What are you most excited about right now?
- Who are you looking to meet?
- What resources do you need right now?
Maybe you know the perfect referral to support a project that they’re trying to get off the ground.
Perhaps you have friends or family members that would be a good fit for a role they’re seeking to fill at their organization.
Maybe you are in touch with other businesses that could be great sponsors for an upcoming fundraiser they are launching.
Giving back through MBODY360
If one of your ‘centers of influence’ contacts is interested in your coaching practice, you could offer them free access to the MBODY360 app. For instance, you could give them access to a self-guided program.
Letting them “test drive” your offering can give them a better idea of what it’s like to work with you.
The MBODY360 app will enable them to experience the benefits of having a mobile coach in their pocket.
It’s even better if they get involved and stay accountable to their plan. Imagine the great referrals you could get if your circles of influence sang your praises with the results they got from your free app!
You could also offer referral incentives. For example, offer discounted or free sessions to your connector and new referral. Or pay an affiliate commission for every paying client you gain through referrals.
You never know how your circles of influence can shape your career and business, but expanding your network is a tried and true method to support your success. As Tim Sanders notes in his book, Love is the Killer app, paying it forward can help both of you.
And when you offer great value and generosity to others, it always comes back to you many times over – sometimes in ways you could only imagine