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Turning clients into advocates: how to grow referrals

Where does the majority of your new business come from? For most design agencies the answer is almost always ‘referrals’.

If this is the case for you, then why not focus more of your marketing and business development efforts on promoting referrals from existing clients and advocates, rather than solely on generating new (mostly cold) business opportunities?

If you are already drawing in new business through referrals, it makes sense to maximise this avenue.

This workshop, with DBA Expert Lucy Mann, will show you how to leverage your existing client relationships, convert them into advocates, draw in new clients and take your design business to the next level.

Not only is this a better way of expending your resources, with a better a ROI on both time and money, it also strengthens the relationships you have with your existing clients – because it makes them feel good about working with you. Concentrate on giving your existing clients an outstanding experience and they will be chomping a the bit to refer you. Don’t forget, it helps the relationships they have with the people they refer to you as well. You make them look good.

We’re not saying give up on cold lead generation altogether, but find the right balance of resource and energy that you put behind each of these two activities.

Strengthening your existing relationships and identifying referral opportunities means that you stand to lessen your dependence on converting unpredictable new business leads.

We’ll explore the psychology behind referrals and identify techniques for promoting valuable introductions.

This workshop will cover:
  • Understanding the context – referred business vs new business.
  • The drivers behind recommendations.
  • What we can learn from other businesses.
  • How to elevate your relationship from supplier, to trusted advisor.
  • How to identify your advocates.
  • Techniques for unlocking referrals.
  • Involving the team – how everyone can contribute.
  • Planning for growth and measuring success.
What will you leave with?
  • The improved knowledge, skills and techniques you need for maximising new business referrals.
  • Notes and templates for opportunity mapping.
  • Two referral opportunities to progress.
  • Telephone and email support from Lucy Mann afterwards .
Who is it for?

Anyone who is responsible for generating new business or business development, and those in account management roles who have day to day involvement with clients and can really build this in.

Delegate feedback:

“Really useful for agency account management to learn some extra nuggets of wisdom to brighten up processes.” Emma McNicholl-Norbury, Account Director, Luminous

“Very informative with ideas that are very simple to implement.” Jake Dhaliwal, Marketing Executive, Air Design

“Brilliantly informative and insightful that makes you think how to better yourself, your role and your business.” Meredith Fortescue, Account Manager, Ape Creative

“Packed with lots of ideas and information on how to turn clients into advocates and unlock opportunities. Lucy breaks it all down. Thoroughly recommend!” Amanda Jackson, Director, Jackdaw Design

About: Lucy Mann

Lucy Mann has worked in agency new business and marketing for over 20 years, generating leads, pitching, recruiting, managing and mentoring teams, qualifying and measuring opportunities. This experience – the lessons learned, the tricks, tips, insights and tools have been collated, polished and packaged as Gunpowder.

The mission? To help agencies take control of the new business process. To create workable new business plans that get results. To provide the tools to measure success. To mentor in house new business and client service teams.

Lucy is a DBA Expert Advisor and registered and approved Growth Coach for GrowthAccelerator.



Available as a half-day in-house session for a group of 6 or more. Prices per person:

  • Standard rate £380+vat (£456)
  • DBA members £245+vat (£294)

We are able to offer the following discount structure to the standard ticket price, based on the numbers attending the session:

  • 8-10 people – 5% discount
  • 11+ people – 10% discount

To discuss availability, please contact us at or call 020 7251 9229.

All DBA events and training courses are subject to standard terms and conditions which can be read in full here.

Image credits: © Tilltibet


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