You likely use many techniques to grow your business. You probably keep up a blog, use social media accounts, and try marketing strategies. However, there's one other way to grow your business that you may not be utilizing--asking current, satisfied clients for a referral.
How to Ask for a Referral
Of course, asking at the right time is important, as is the possibility of an incentive. Consider using these strategies:
1. Ask after you successfully complete a job. This is the time when the client is likely to be most satisfied and willing to consider referring you to other people. The best strategy is to wait until the client is raving about your work, or when you've finished working with him entirely. However, you can also feel free to ask long-term clients who are pleased with your work.
2. Offer an incentive. Considering giving satisfied customers a reward if they refer you to someone who becomes a new client. You could send them a small gift, or even better, you could give them a financial incentive such as a flat fee or a percentage of the business they send your way. Though this may seem insignificant, people are motivated by money.
Other Perks of Asking for a Referral
Asking for a referral may initially make you uncomfortable, but there are perks of doing so.
First, you'll likely gain new clients. If you're a freelance writer and your client's colleague is in the market to hire one, she would probably prefer to hire you rather than to search among people she does not know and who did not come to her recommended.
Secondly, your current client, once he hears you are looking for referrals, may give you more work himself. This is likely to happen if he's a regular customer. I've personally had this happen several times when I've asked for referrals.
Have you asked for referrals from current customers? If so, what was your experience?