If you look at your business, how much of it is by word of mouth. Meaning, how much of your current client list is a referral by either a past client, colleague, friend or family member?
50%, 75%, 100%?
It's safe to say that referrals are working for you right?
So why are you trying to find other avenues to bring in clients? Do you already have a predictable and proven referral system built that brings you a steady flow of leads into your business?
Do you already have a predictable and proven referral system built that brings you a steady flow of leads into your business?
My guess would be "no". That the referrals that come into your business happen randomly without any predictability.
Instead of chasing the "new thing" whether that's Facebook ads, the newest social media platform that's taking the world by storm, or spending a bunch of money on landing page software, how about doubling down on what's working for you right now.
Your referrals trust you because they are getting recommended to you by someone they trust. You don't have to fully convince them of your skills because you have already been vetted by that lead's friend. So why not capitalize on that until it's maxed out?
This episode gives you 3 ways to build a referral system in your business so that you can predictably get leads and clients into your business.
EPISODE TAKE AWAY
Pick out 2 of the 3 ways
Take 30 minutes to set up these 2 processes in your business
Use the Warm Outreach Swipe and Quarterly Temperature Call Script as a guide
If you ask yourself, what percentage of my current clients have been by word of mouth? 50, 75, 100? I bet it’s closer to 100% than you would like. As a freelancer, most, if not all, of your projects at the beginning are by word of mouth, but that doesn’t change as time passes. You want to break away from it because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. But with a solid system in place, you can leverage your referrals and know that they will be the best kind of clients.
In the last episode, Lauren hopped on and shared with us one tactic that she uses to not just add value to a prospect and position herself as the expert. But also how she educates those leads, nurtures them through a webinar into a free audit by way of an application only to then pitch to those clients she wants to work with.
She’s killing it! She said that she’s closing anywhere between 65% to 80% of the pitches. Now remember, these are pitches that she’s choosing to make. After all the education and application process, she knows that who she pitches to is her ideal client.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a luxury I certainly wish I had.
In talking with her, it got me thinking a bit about my own business. And about your business as well. We are who we are and have to sell. Often times it’s something we aren’t comfortable in doing.
It’s not natural to sell for those of us who are introverts. But knowing that our works sells itself, referrals are easy to sit back on.
So I started to reflect on my referral system and what I’ve done for years and thought I would share with you 3 things I’ve done to build up a proven referral system that continuously brings me in educated leads to my business.
Doubling down on what works is the most effective and efficient way for you to be able to live in the feast.
So many times when you start to go down a road less traveled by you, that’s when profits and time go right out the window.
So why do that? Why not take what’s been working on double down on it and think of ways in which to leverage it to be able to have a predictable way to get clients.
When starting out in your business, things like BNI and Chamber of Commerce meetings here in the U.S. are the “thing to do.” It’s almost like some sort of right of passage that an owner of a small business needs to go through.
However, very quickly, you realize that dressing up and attending these meetings is all about the business cards. It’s almost like whoever can dispense all the cards they brought with them, wins.
Everyone is a pusher. They basically tell anyone and everyone who will listen who they are, what they do, and how to reach out to them to begin working together.
Without even really knowing if the person listening is one they can help.
This is an old way of doing business. It’s just something that doesn’t work well in the way that your business is done.
Sure, you hope to be able to make a connection or two. Maybe even get a client out of it. But hoping is not a plan.
So what do you do? Instead of these meetings, how can you get business?
Oh right, ads…
Facebook promises you that one of our posts will reach 100,000 more people than it could in a normal way. So you drop $100 into an ad that leads to our ebook, video, or some other lead magnet.
Then what? Now that you’ve spent $100 for that ad, you still aren’t any better off than we were before. No new clients. Definitely not well educated ones anyway.
It’s because you don’t have that proven system. A proven system that you know will work because you’ve already done it.
This is your referrals. You’ve already received a few, maybe even converted a few of them into new clients.
So why aren’t you doubling down on that?
Well no more, I’m going to give you 3 ways that you can do leverage referrals and build a proper and proven system for you to bring in the best kind of clients.
The first tactic I want to share with you is to just send an email.
A simple email to your prospects, leads, and past clients offering them a free or low-cost service once or twice a year.
Think around the holidays, maybe if your prospects or clients are seasonal in some way. You want to send this email pitching them a low-cost service about 4-6 weeks prior to when they actually need it.
Now I’m all about not discounting anything you offer. However what this does here is ping those that know they need your services, but maybe have forgotten about you.
Most folks won’t take you up on it. In fact, I’ve been doing this for years now and I think I’ve had maybe 5 people take me up on the offer.
The reason is that if they haven’t bought from you yet, chances are they aren’t going to buy from you now either.
So then Rezzz, what’s the point of all this, you may be asking yourself.
The point is those that are ready to buy, the don’t want that free thing, they want the real thing.
In fact, I normally offer a $197 site audit for online stores during the holidays.
Just this past year, I had a prospect instead of taking me up on my low-cost offer, reach out to me to hire me for my monthly recurring services.
So with this one email, which took all of 5 minutes to write, I was able to turn a $197 offer into a monthly recurring client of $16,000 for the next year.
Now, this may not be leveraging referral per se, but these are folks in your list already. They may not have converted before, but they know who you are and what you are about. Especially if you are sending regular emails about what it is that you solve for folks.
The second tactic is something that mentioned as your action item in Episode 2, How to know if your leads will pay you, and that is to hold Quarterly Temperature Calls with your clients.
In Episode 2 I only said to do it once, but now that you have, make this call a regular thing.
These are short, 10-15 minute, not task oriented calls you have with your clients. Schedule these things in every 3 months with your clients.
You want to keep these calls free flowing and not technical at all. Meaning that you don’t want to talk about your current project. They should be conversational in nature.
Allow your client to be able to express things openly and freely. To do that, you need to lead them down that path by first asking them “how’s business? are there any struggles right now that are really stopping you from moving forward?”
People, in general, aren’t going to naturally answer questions that may put them in some sort of awkward or defensive position.
But business owners do love talking about their business and this first question will get the balling rolling downhill for the next questions that will help you in turn get those great clients.
The next question is to ask “What made them choose you?” If you have a recurring service, change that up to be “what makes them stay with you?”
There are so many options to choose from out there, knowing what it is about you and your business that customers hang their hat on is absolutely gold marketing material.
You can always assume what it is, but why not ask them. They will give you what to highlight in your marketing material to leads. If you are personable, in the same time zone, or just provide them with a clear solution to their problem in the way that they understand and love, that’s what you turn around in your marketing materials.
You don’t even need to add any new services or anything to your business, you are doing it already and your clients are telling you exactly why it is that they choose you over someone else.
The final question to ask is “Is there anything I can do better?” This is where you find out from them what it is that they expect from you. If what they expect isn’t what you can do, or can do, then here’s the opportunity to clear that air. And not allow that frustration to fester.
However, on the flipside, if it’s something that you can do, then try and figure out a way to work it in.
The final, and in my opinion, the most impactful way is warm outreach. Not to leads and folks on your email list, but to your colleagues, past clients, and even current clients.
Reason is because they know you already. You don’t have to educate them on who you are, what you do, and the solution that you have to their problem.
You don’t have to build up that trust factor.
You don’t want to be “that person” and always asking from your friends, right? So when you do reach out, make it short and make it easy for them to refer you work.
If you can, even incentivize them. I’m not saying that you have to make it known that there’s a finder’s fee, but say you land a client from their referral, next time you see them pay for dinner or buy them a few drinks to say thanks.
This is also a great avenue to try new services out in your business. They will give you honest feedback and maybe it’s also something that they can use for their business as well.
In order to do this, create a list of folks that you know and think would be a great source for a referral and write down their email address. Then write a short email. In fact, if you head over to rezzz.com/episode004, you can get the exactly email to use. You can use the same email over and over again.
When you start sending this out, be smart about it. Don’t send it to every one on the list at once. Send it to only 2 or 3. Then the following month, send it to the next 2 or 3. Remember, you don’t want to be that friend who’s always asking. If you can space it out so that you only hit each person once or, at max, twice in a year, then you are good.
Once you do this a few times, it’s easy enough to automate it with something like Zapier or IFTTT. In fact if you want to see this in action, drop me a line and I’ll show you, I’m not kidding.
Then you don’t even have to remember to send off the emails, it just happens.
So as your action steps from this show, is to take 2 of these 3, bonus points for doing all 3, but implement them into your business.
In fact, head on over to rezzz.com/episode004 and there are a couple of downloads for you. One is the script to use for the Quarterly Temperature Calls and the other download is the Warm Outreach Email swipe file.
So there’s really no excuse now not to put these into action. I’ve given you the hard pieces of the puzzle.
If you take a little bit of time in the next week and put these processes in place, you’ll be well on your way to having a proven referral system working for you.
Most freelancers don’t do this because it does require some thought and execution. But I know that you aren’t like most freelancers, you want to be able to step up your business.
By having that proven system set up working for you, all you have to do then is followup with those referrals.
Trust me, once you do set this up and someone replies to one of your warm outreach emails, you’ll say to yourself “oh, that’s right, I forgot I had set those up.”
Having this system in place that already leverages what is already working for you is the way that you can boost your referrals even more and get a much higher quality clients. The kind of clients that you want.
In the next episode, we’ll get into a bit more on where to find new work in old projects.
Until then, it’s your time to Live In The Feast.
Season 1: Getting Clients
More episodes in this season:
S01 E00 - A Guy Named Fred
S01 E02 - How to know if your leads will pay you
S01 E01 - Where does your client come from?
S01 E03 - Lauren Pawell converts 80% of qualified leads
S01 E04 - 3 ways to boost sales & get high quality referrals
S01 E05 - Simple process to convert 50% of first time projects into a second one
S01 E06 - The tools you need to set up your sales team
S01 E07 - Laura Elizabeth creates experiences for her clients you can use
S01 E08-Want better clients, reach out to your network
S01 E09 - How to Build Authority Content
S01 E10 - Gina Horkey - Always be marketing to be successful in freelancing
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach