Last week, I completed developing a client’s website that was a result of a referral from a former client. That made me think about the power of referrals in business. When I think back over the last decade+ of working online, I realize that a large portion of my paid work has come from others advocating for me. Even though I don’t think that you should use referrals as your only (or even your primary) source of revenue based on their fluctuating nature, they are still important. When it comes to business, there are three tips that I want to share with you in regards to work referrals.
1. Do great work. If you haven’t provided a quality product or service, then why should you expect someone to rave about you to their friends and associates? The people and companies that we recommend to others directly affect how people value our future suggestions.
2. Ask for them. Assuming that your product or service is excellent, it never hurts to ask for a referral. The ask will look different based on your industry. When writing sponsored content was one of my main income sources, I periodically reached out to the people whom I enjoyed working with on various campaigns. I would let them know what my current focus was and ask them to keep me in mind if a relevant fit came up. (I would do the same for them.) For my website development business, I ask for testimonials at the end of a project if clients mention that working with me has been a positive experience. I also ask them to keep me in mind if someone else mentions that they need someone to do website work for them. (Once again, it’s a reciprocal relationship. If I hear of anyone that needs their products or services, I recommend them too.)
3. Reward those who give them. People are not obligated to mention you or to put their reputation on the line for your work. That’s why I like to show my appreciation for my referrers in various ways. When I performed website maintenance work as well as designs, I would simply give my past clients free maintenance services to thank them for suggesting me to complete site designs or redesigns to their friends and associates. Now that I no longer do site tweaks, I thank my former clients in another way. Basically, I try to figure out what they like and send them either the item or an e-gift card so that they can get the product or service themselves. I figure out the thank you gifts based on things that they mentioned enjoying in past conversations with me or taking hints from their social media accounts. If all else fails, I simply ask them directly. 🙂
In any event, I hope that these three referral tips have been helpful. I will connect with you again on Monday, April 9th. Starting tomorrow, my husband (a teacher) and two sons will be on vacation from work and school for Spring Break so I’ll be relishing some family time. If your kids are on Spring Break also, have fun!