Three Steps to Business-Building Customer Referrals
In today’s guest post WePay offers freelancers and very small businesses some tips for obtaining more clients and more work.
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You don’t realize it, but your clients want to give you more business. It’s true! They’re sitting by their computer or telephone waiting to give a holler to some of their friends and colleagues. You just have to do a few steps to ensure they do just that.
What are these steps? They’re nothing super complicated, and you may have done them without even thinking about it. However with a little foresight you could be looking at double your client base and twice the money in the bank.
Step 1: Make Sure You Did a Great Job
It almost goes without saying – but we’re saying it anyway! The first step is to make sure you’ve done the best job possible. Has every demand the client made been fulfilled? Will the client be able to take what you’ve done and use it to move their business forward?
If not, you should take steps to amend this immediately. Ask the client again if you finished your work at 100%. You may have forgotten a step or two you didn’t realize you had missed which could make the difference between getting a referral and radio silence.
Step 2: Take it to the Next Level
You’ve done a great job and made sure the client was perfectly happy. However, that’s not the end of the relationship, not by a long shot! Your work must “speak” for the client’s business for a good while after you’ve finished your job. Therefore, part of your job must be to check if that’s actually happening.
For example, if you’re hired to make a new logo for the business, you can fulfill your duties to a T. After the client unveils the logo, though, they could receive a huge backlash. As a result they may panic and want to go back to the old logo. If you follow up with the client and offer to amend the logo to fix what the public hates, you’re going to look much better when it comes time to ask for a referral.
Every business owner wants to feel like someone is on their side. The more “little things” you do for them the more they’ll feel connected to your business. Send them interesting news items that could affect their business or email them congratulations when you see they announced some big company news.
Step 3: Ask Away!
Your client likely has no idea you want a referral for more work. You think that, as fellow businesspeople, they would realize that, but hey, clients are busy. Once your business relationship is over they likely will forget about you and move on to their next goal.
So don’t be afraid to ask! If you followed step one and did a great job, they won’t be offended at being asked. And if they needed your business before, chances are they know plenty of people who need someone like you, too.
Make the process easy as possible for them. The more steps they have to go through the less likely they’ll actually do it. Give them your website to link to (if you don’t have one, try using SquareSpace to make one quickly and easily) or, for in-person referrals, giving them a few business cards with all your info on it. The simpler you make the process for your former client, the more referrals you’re likely to receive.
One last tip: everybody loves to get free stuff. Referral bonuses may seem cheap but they work! Give them a percentage off their next job or even a deal with a partner of yours. You may be surprised just how much new business a thoughtful referral bonus process brings in.
When is the last time you received a referral from a client? Did you proactively chase it or was it out of the blue?