Nothing says love like the referral of business. When a client or colleague refers you to someone else, it is a validation of their trust in you to deliver good work. Countless studies have proven the power of referral or word-of-mouth marketing. When you receive a recommendation from someone you know, it carries the trust you have in that person. Many solo professionals cite referrals as a top source of business but do not have systems in place to actively cultivate them. We’re showing you the love today with 10 tips for driving more referrals.
- Ask! The easiest and most overlooked way to get more referrals is to simply ask for it. Look to your network for people that can refer business, such as former colleagues, current and past clients, and other solo pros. When asking for referrals, succinctly articulate the type of client you’re seeking, e.g. a B2B technology company. Tell the referrer what you’re doing and ask if they can make an introduction. You can tell them about a new service, process or even a case study or whitepaper and ask for an introduction to someone who would be interested in it.
- Tap your mailing list. If you are using email marketing, don’t forget to ask for referrals. You can include a link to a contact form or page, and even include a “refer me” link in the signature.
- Use your email signature. You can automate the referral process by including it in your email signature. Add a referral link or even a simple, “referrals are appreciated,” to remind people to share what you do with others.
- Give them an incentive. Rewards are a good way to motivate referrals. Some pros pay a percentage of the work, but even smaller rewards work. Send an email and offer a $25 Amazon or Starbucks gift card in exchange for a referral(s) to companies that need your help. Remember to be specific about the type of clients and work, but succinct. You can even identify specific companies and ask for introductions.
- Glad you’re happy, please share. Time your request for a referral to a positive outcome. If you score a great media hit or pull off a successful event, ask the client for a referral.
- Use LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn to find potential targets and discover who you know with a connection to those targets. Ask the people you know to make an introduction. Do your homework before pitching for an introduction. You want to tell your contact why the intro would make sense.
- Stay in touch with former clients. We all have clients that departed on great terms. Don’t be out of sight, out of mind! Create a tickler system to check in with former clients. You can send them an article of interest, or give them a tip on a resource.
- Add a referral form to your website. You can add a simple form for people to submit leads for you.
- Remind people of what you do. We lead busy lives and even our current clients may not remember your full breadth of services. Remind your network of the services you offer. Don’t forget to include vendors and subcontractors.
- Make referrals. A great way to receive referrals is to give them!
Whether you implement one or two of these tips or all, a process will help you to be more consistent in activating referrals for your business. How about you, how do you gain referrals? Please share in the comments or on social media using #solopr.
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