It is one big challenge for a freelancer, and especially a new one, top find a paying clientele because clientele is what a business runs on. Although, it’s critical that you get clients for your business, there is also a fact that there are also loads of other freelances out there who are looking for clients as much as you are which makes finding work even more difficult. Although there are a lot of ways which you can adopt to find work like the freelance work websites like oDesk and Elance but the one sure shot way of bringing more work are the referrals, from past clients, and even from friends and family.
Referral business is extremely valuable and is a great way of paying off to your hard work of building those referrals. First, it can save a lot of your time spend looking for business. You don’t have to spend hours placing bids and sending applications, in fact, clients will approach you themselves. Second, there are more chances of you getting highly paid projects through referrals than otherwise as your trust is already built and you only need to cash it and it’s just a help to sell your services. That is because of the reason that a client will have a confidence watching all those referrals and will be more comfortable in working with you then someone without any recommendation. Third, once you have started referral business, it’ll only grow more as it has a lot of potential of paying off exponentially.
You would like to know the so many benefits that referral business has to offer you. Let’s take a look at some of the most excellent ones as attributed by experts and I’m sure you will be cashing on these.
Quality of work is probably the only biggest feature that you have to have to even gain a referral. If you present good quality, you can be sure that there will be good referrals and heavy money coming your way. If the client gets happy with the quality of your work, there are more chances than not of him recommending you to others. You can lose the referral business if your quality of work is not up to the mark. You should put your heart in all the tasks you do, without thinking that you can get away with it, as this is the work that’s going to form basis for good referrals.
Pleasant Working Relationships:
Quality of work is the basic thing that will impress the client but it would add another jewel in the crest if you keep a positive attitude for the task overall. Positive attitude implies that you keep good customer relationship with your client and provide him with customer services that he will admire as it is also a help in bringing good referrals. It is a plus point for a designer if a client recommends you among his friends and colleagues as someone who is easy to work with.
Good communication skills can also add up to your image as a good customer. The client will have ease of working with you if you are easy to reach. It is also helpful at the time of referral as the client can use it as an additional point for you. If you show laziness in getting back to the client, it may form an image that you also have the potential of not meeting the deadlines and it can be a turnoff for him.
Work quality as well as nice customer-client relationship can not only form basis for good referral, but also can bring more work from the same client who has had a positive experience working with you.
Staying in Contact:
On-going contact is something which has its own importance but its importance is underestimated most often than not. Staying in touch with your previous clients is also a way to get referral business. Even if you have provided them with a quality work, they might not have your name in their mind when they think of referring especially if it’s after a long time. This is because of the reason that the client has a wide social circle and a person tend to forget one of his customers with time.
Therefore, the best way of staying in touch with a client is to send him a greetings card on holidays or his birthday and probably an email to ask him whether there are any ongoing projects you can help him with or for a more professional move, you can keep the client in loop through newsletters. Keeping in touch with the client every once in a while in a year helps to keep you in their minds for any new opportunity they get.
Letting the Client Know:
There are times when your client does not have the intention of referring you to someone. They may be satisfied with your work but they just wouldn’t have you in their minds at the time some new opportunity comes up. So it’s no harm to let your client know politely to refer you among his circle and whether they know of someone who you can provide services to. Let them know that referrals would be appreciated and that you will provide the same good services to any new client as well.
Offering Benefits and Incentives:
Although the above mentioned ways work in most cases and bring good business, but in case they are not working, you might want to offer some incentives to the client in order to get referral business. Now these incentives can be of any type you want them to be. They can either be monetary, like offering a discount, or incentives in services like offering more features for the project in the same deal. Also, if you are in such a business of like hosting, then you can offer the services of free hosting for a month or so and it can count as a bonus you give to the client.
Although incentives aren’t a necessity in a referral business, it helps to speed things up when you are not getting the referral business fast enough. It may not cost you a lot to provide incentives to the client but it will take you out on the road for smoother referral business because of this. However, do not de-value your services in the process or show that you are desperate for work.
Referral business is only a part of a number of other ways of getting more business and has equal weight age with all the other ways. Referrals expand your name and goes hand in hand with other advertising techniques of expanding the business and your name. Your clients work like a testimonial in bringing you more business by spreading out your name in his circle or to anyone who is looking for services. Following these ways can get your referral business on a smooth path. All you need to do is be patient and consistent with your efforts for building referral business. And once you get used to it and once the circle has started, there will be business coming from all directions.