(Artwork Credit score: Pedro Gomes)
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And but, regardless of understanding how essential they're, most freelancers additionally really feel intimidated by the mere considered asking a former or present shopper for a referral.
We get it: it feels awkward. You end up picturing all of the worst-case eventualities of how that shopper may reply, although they love the work you do.
However do not forget that as a lot as 91% of latest freelance enterprise comes by means of referrals or phrase of mouth — that’s an enormous chunk of labor! And generally, all it takes to get that work is just asking for it.
Asking for a referral doesn’t should be scary. Take a number of deep breaths, and let’s speak about some easy methods for efficiently asking your shoppers for referrals.
Select the Proper Timing
It doesn't matter what you’re asking for, timing is essential. When you ask for a referral on the proper time, not solely will your shopper be extra inclined to say sure, however you’ll additionally make it so much simpler for them to comply with by means of.
Some good occasions to ask are:
- After (efficiently) ending a mission. You’ve accomplished all of the work, delivered worth to your shopper, and fulfilled expectations (or, even higher, exceeded them). Attempt following up with a easy be aware asking in the event that they know anybody who might use your assistance on related tasks.
- When renewing a contract. This shopper values your work and needs to proceed working with you. Greater than doubtless, they’d be comfortable to suggest your providers to individuals they know.
- After receiving constructive suggestions. When the shopper sees worth within the work you do for them, they received’t really feel bizarre about sharing that appreciation. Thank them for the constructive suggestions, and easily ask in the event that they know anybody who would profit from the identical providers they’ve simply complimented you on.
Additionally remember that referrals don’t solely have to come back from present shoppers. However asking for a referral from a earlier shopper out of the blue after not talking to them for months or years isn’t the very best concept.
To keep away from such a scenario, keep up a correspondence with earlier shoppers, even when it’s simply sharing a useful article or useful resource right here and there, to maintain the road of communication open. Doing so will enhance the probabilities of repeat enterprise and in addition make it extra doubtless that they’ll consider you when somebody asks them about freelancers they’d suggest.
Be Direct & Particular
Don’t overthink it — simply ask! Beating across the bush is a waste of time and may go away the shopper confused about what you actually need.
While you do ask, be as clear and concise as potential. As a substitute of asking them to rack their mind for anybody they know who is likely to be excited by hiring a freelancer, ask them in the event that they know anybody in your particular audience who wants your particular providing. That can make it simpler for them to recollect, and it additionally will increase the probabilities that the individual they refer you to will really be an excellent match for your small business.
Moreover, there’s nothing improper with reminding the shopper of particular issues they’ve mentioned about your work or outcomes you’ve gotten them, after which asking them to share these feedback or outcomes with individuals they know.
When you’re nonetheless too nervous to ask outright for a referral, you'll be able to ease into it by asking for a testimonial to show in your web site. Simply writing the testimonial can generally immediate a shopper to refer you to others even with out you instantly asking, however extra importantly, asking for one thing small first (and getting it) might help you're feeling extra assured asking for one thing greater later.
Make it Straightforward
Above all, asking for a referral ought to be as straightforward and painless as potential for each you and the shopper. You may need to make or obtain a template, so that you don’t spend hours every time agonizing over each single phrase.
When you’re routine-oriented, make your self a normal working process (SOP) that builds referral requests into your common shopper communication processes, so it turns into simply one other a part of operating your small business as an alternative of a giant, scary process you must discuss your self into doing.
While you attain out to your shopper to ask for the referral, ensure they've all the data they want. You could possibly even ship them a properly formatted record of your providers, charges, and speak to info, so all they should do is ahead it.
Ask for Referrals with Confidence
Keep in mind, shoppers who take pleasure in working with you and worth your providers need you to succeed and might be very happy to place in an excellent phrase for you. However, when you by no means ask, they might not know what sort of shoppers to refer you to or whether or not you even have the capability to tackle new work.
Now that you've some easy methods in your referral request toolkit, it’s time to follow utilizing them. The extra you ask for referrals, the simpler and fewer intimidating it would really feel — and the earlier these referrals will begin sending new shoppers your method.