Last month, I attended Communication Central’s annual conference. I like this conference because it focuses on business and technology skills specifically for communicators. I always come away excited about my business and wanting to take it to the next level.
One goal of my editorial services business (which is separate from my ownership of Copyediting) is to gain more clients who are similar to my favorite clients. Rev Up Your Business with Referral Power by Jake Poinier, aka Dr. Freelance, outlined how I can find those desired clients.
I don’t know about you, but I spend a good deal of time trying to win new clients. I work hard at creating winning proposals, but not all of them work out. That’s how it goes in business, and I’m fine with that.
But what if the prospects who came to me were already presold on my skills? What if they had self-selected themselves as clients who would be a good fit for my business?
That’s what marketing is all about: telling the world about your business in a way that helps the right clients contact you. Any successful business needs a good marketing plan (you do have one, right?), and Poinier believes that referrals can be a key part of that plan.
Why? According to Poinier:
- Referrals help diversify your business. Clients come and go. By growing your client list with a variety of clients, you’ll suffer less when one walks away or when an industry struggles.
- They bring prequalified leads. Your good clients won’t knowingly send bad prospects your way. Ideally, they’ll send prospects similar to themselves.
- They require less effort. Referrals take less time and effort than a wide search for new clients. That leaves you more time for the paying work.
People trust personal recommendations. We trust what someone who has purchased the product or service says more so than what the company that sells them says. Customers seem objective to us. What do they have to gain from raving about a product or service?
Prospects who come to you from other clients are not only more likely to be similar to your current client but they’re also more likely to accept your fees and to cooperate more easily with your processes, says Poinier. They’ve likely already checked you out online, too, so they have a fair idea of whether they might like to work with you.
Think becoming a referral-based business sounds like a good idea? Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some tips Poinier has for getting there.
To get you started, I have some homework for you. Over the next week, review your client list, past and present. Which clients do you wish you could clone? Why do you wish to clone them? Because of the money? The work itself? The relationship? Figure out what about this client you want in other clients.
What has your experience been with referrals? Log in to leave a comment, or join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.