If you’re doing business online, you know that peer recommendation and customer testimonials are top drivers of sales and as soon as you finished a freelance project, all you can think of is asking for a referral. Awkward moment. What seems to be a smart strategy has become a key to your career’s demise. Because no matter how you have learned otherwise, referrals, like trust, are not asked for; it is earned. The worst part is having to ask clients what rating you should get on freelancing job boards after a work is done. It is not only a major turn off, but it’s downright disrespectful. Should you do it?
Successfully Ask for Referrals and Grow Your Business
Like what I have posted last week, where freelancers should sell the idea that they’re experts in their niche – you have to grab the horns of hesitation and explore genuine ways of asking for referrals from your clients. Most often, it ends up to proper timing and plenty of retrospection. It all comes down to asking yourself if you have earned the right to ask for a referral. Have you added value to your client’s business lately? Have you done a great job that wowed your client? It’s more than just putting yourself in their shoes for you to know if it’s the right time to ask for such recommendation. You will have to face your fear of rejection and remind yourself that getting a ‘no’ is not the end of the world. So, how do you ask for a killer referral.. tastefully?
If Asking for Referrals is a Game, These are the Rules:
Rule #1 Deliver a Top-Notch Service… because clients will not forget that memorable experience of working with you. This means commitment to excellence and being consistent with the service you deliver.
Rule #2 Don’t ever assume anything.. and someone said that ‘to assume makes an ass of u and me’. Never assume that your client has the time, the interest to do you a favor. Instead, the next time you ask for a referral, explicitly mention that you’re not assuming things and this guilt-free approach may just win you the favor you so badly seek.
Rule #3 Keep things simple.. and like rule number two, you don’t want to assume that they will do all those work to rate your service. You can send them an easy to fill-in feedback or survey form with specific questions that will help forge your success story. For example, you can ask what made them choose you over your competitors.
Rule #4 Be honest… because trying to hint around that you want referrals is a major turn off. Instead, be upfront and tell them how you value their feedback as a crucial part of your business.
Rule #5 Ask open-ended questions… when you are soliciting feedback. Don’t ask questions answerable by a simple yes or no, but ask how your clients feel about the service you provided.
Rule #6 Take things slow… because no one likes to be rushed. If you hate micromanagers, clients hate it when they feel pressured to write a review, especially if they don’t feel like it.
Rule #7 Seize the Day! The right time to ask for referrals is when positive things are happening to your client’s business. For example, if your client is extremely happy with your coaching, you can ask on the spot if s/he knows anyone who can benefit from your advice as well.
Rule #8 First impressions last… and you hear this many times. Still, leaving a good first impression on a new client matters, like leaving a permanent imprint on their subconscious minds. If you ever lost clients in the past, you can always trace it back to that first moment and ask why s/he stopped using your service. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but knowing the reasons can help you stop losing more opportunities in the future.
Rule #9 Build relationships… It doesn’t matter if your client can generate a small or big buzz about your brand; it’s all about the idea of being helpful, without sounding too salesy. Content marketing is one of the ways where you can help through sharing valuable insights about your industry, while building a community slowly over time.
Rule #10 Nurture relationships… and you can start with assessing that feel-good factor with each relationship you have with your clients. Keep your communication lines open and don’t forget to touch base.
And when you finally get a referral, don’t forget to send a thank you note. Besides, gratitude is the best attitude of them all. Remember, it’s all about the Big “R”, as in – Reciprocity. You will reap what you sow. You don’t get what you don’t give. Asking for referrals should be treated like a big deal, not just some cheap favor you need to get more clients. And no! You don’t have to send them gifts in return because you’ve earned that respect; they’ll be more than happy to send in a good word ( or two ).
Don’t just be a go-getter… Be a go-giver!
Have you asked for referrals? When do you think is the right time to ask for one?