When you start out as a freelancer, one of the greatest challenges you face is finding new clients. More often than not, you probably rely heavily on word of mouth – and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s one of the most effective ways to grow your client base not to mention it’s free.
However, you might think that as a new freelancer, you don’t stand in chance in hell of getting said referrals. Whether you think your current client base isn’t big enough to get a steady stream of referrals or that your portfolio isn’t up to snuff yet I’m telling you that you can, in fact, make sure to get more referrals for your freelance business.
See the trick isn’t in working with a client and then asking for a referral once when the job is done. It’s about creating a meaningful relationship with your client and keeping in touch with them even after you’ve done the work for them.Want to know the trick to getting more referrals for your business?Click To Tweet
So let’s cut to the chase and look at 5 ways you can maximize word of mouth.
Five Ways to Get More Referrals for Your Business
1. Appreciate your clients
In this case, actions speak louder than words. It’s natural that you are worried about your income as a new freelancer but if you put all your focus on numbers rather than the people you are working with then I’m afraid you’ve missed your mark. If you want to establish a meaningful relationship with your client (whether because you hope for future work or because you hope they might refer you to their friends), you better leave a great impression on them.
Action: At least once a month, take time to get in touch with each of your clients and show them you appreciate them. Whether you offer them a discount for future services, or an article that is relevant to their industry, it doesn’t matter as long as they get something that is valuable and relevant to them. Even simply remembering an important event in their life will make a great difference to how they perceive working with you.
2. Create an exceptional experience
Every time a client deals with you, make sure they get an amazing experience. How do you do that? Well, that’s easy my friend! Make sure that every interaction with a client is streamlined and clearly outlined. Everything from your client intake process to working with a client and what happens once your work is done will provide a better experience if you follow a pattern, instead of flying by the seat of your pants.
Action: Put yourself in the client shoes and walk through your process. What happens when the client contacts you? After they agree to working with you, what are the next steps they need to take? How do you communicate with them? How do they share files with you? If you don’t have a system in place, now is a good time to outline and define best practices for working with clients.
3. Motivate your clients for giving you referrals
Instead of awkwardly asking for a referral once the work is done and leaving it up to the client to follow through, why not come up with a reward for sending work your way? Depending on the services you provide for your clients, you could offer them a free consultation, a discount or a coupon code the next time they do business with you, a free gift card to a store they love…
Action: Brainstorm a few rewards you could offer to your existing clients for referring new clients to you. You’re only limited by your imagination here.
4. Make it easy on them
Your clients are business owners just like you. And like you, they are probably busy and swamped with the number of things to do on a day-to-day basis. Make it extremely easy for them to refer you to their friends.
Action: Develop a “Referral Package” that you send to your clients in your final thank you message. This can be as simple as including a letter of why referrals are important to you and a set of business cards they can give out to others, or a customized social media update they can share via their own social media channels.
5. Make sure the timing is right
When is the right timing? If you are already implementing the strategies listed above than any time is the right time. But if you are just starting work for a client, then it would be best to wait until the project is done. That way, the client will know they have your full attention and that their project is at the forefront of your mind.
Action: Take yourself out of your comfort zone and take action… TODAY! Draft an email and send it off to your clients letting them know how much you appreciate them and include something of value. Then work on your Referral Package and start using it.
Whichever method you decide to go with, it’s important to take action. I cannot stress that enough. If you don’t take action, then you will fall into the endless feast and famine cycle and that is not a fun place to be.
What are your favorite methods of getting referrals? Please let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to give me some social media love 😉