7 Ways to Grow Your Freelance Business With Client Referrals

This post is a reblog, originally published on Marketing Tips for Translators. It is reposted with permission from the author.

Do you know what the easiest way to grow your business exponentially is? Yes, you guessed it, through referrals. Think about how you shop for services yourself. If you are looking for a new hairdresser, for example, many of us ask our friends first to see who they recommend.

Still, many of us freelance translators do not ask for referrals. We might assume that clients know that we want referrals and will pass along a good word automatically. Some actually do, and I have received great clients this way. Many of us are also uncomfortable asking for referrals. We hope to get referrals, but we do not take active steps to get them. I know I do that a lot too, but I am working on actively asking for more referrals.

If we have done a good job, and the client is happy with our translations, they do want to help. They just do not actively think of referring you. The solution is simple. Ask!

Remember that most people like to help other people and that the worst that can happen is that the client says no. That is not the end of the world. Make asking for referrals part of your routine, such as when delivering a job, or when receiving a heartfelt thank you from the client. So how do we ask?

7 ways to ask for more referrals

Here are some suggestions for ways to ask for more referrals.

Build it into your delivery

After delivering a project, call the client up and ask if they have any questions and if they are happy with the translation. If they are, ask if they know someone else that might need your services.

Take advantage of your LinkedIn network

If you approach a client and you already have a few names or companies that you would like to connect with, you are eliminating the need for the client to have to sit down and look for someone for you. If your client is on LinkedIn, you can see who they are connected to that fits your ideal client profile and ask for an introduction.

Provide a template

Be mindful of your client’s busy schedule and make it as easy as possible for your client to refer you. Instead of hoping that they will find time to follow through, be more proactive and provide a template for doing so. This is really easy to do in LinkedIn, but you can also write the email template for them, saying for example, “I’ve been working with X on the localization of our website (replace with your own project) and been very happy with the results. I just wanted to pass on the name of X, in case you are also looking for someone to localize your website (replace with your project). Here is more information…”

Provide links to useful information for client and referrals

Your client appreciates useful information you pass along and would be happy to share it with colleagues. If you have a report, blog post, checklist, or similar that is useful to your target clients, include it when you ask for referrals, so that the person giving the referral gets an easy excuse to pass on useful information.

Make sure your clients know your services

Make sure your current clients know about all the products and services you offer and how you help. Also, explain to clients how others can benefit from your services. This will make it much easier for your client to refer you, since he or she already knows how you can help.

Give referrals yourself

The best way to encourage referrals from others is to give them yourself. When delivering a job, you can explain how much you enjoyed working with the client (if you did) and ask if there is anyone you can refer their business to. This is made very easy to do on LinkedIn, with the built-in recommendation function.

Exceed expectations

Last but not least, if you want to get your clients to rave about your service, you have to meet and exceed their expectations. Try to go out of your way to provide great quality and service to your favorite clients. Word of mouth is, after all, the most powerful way to increase referrals.

These were seven ways to ask for more referrals. I hope you found them helpful and that you are now inspired to ask for more referrals and create a system for it. Don’t forget to always follow up and thank the referrer, even if the person he or she referred you to did not need your services at the moment.

Finally, don’t let your shyness or fear hinder you from growing your business. Referrals will get you more clients. The more referrals you ask for, the more referrals you will get, because now the client knows you want some.

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