I attended a seminar some time ago on getting more referrals, and it got me thinking about what is involved in getting referrals. Before you can get referrals, you need to develop business relationships. This means making “business friends” – people who are comfortable referring you to potential clients. Making business more personal will help to make you more “attractive” to clients, and they will be more willing to hire and refer you. This is accomplished through:
- Socialization (difficult and not my strong point)
- Networking (doable)
- Sending useful clippings and information (promising)
- Asking them for advice (very good idea)
Prospecting for clients and referral sources involves staying in circulation. This has been a personal challenge for me, as I work from home (and take my daughter to and from school), so I have to be selective about going out to network and meeting with business associates, friends, clients, etc. I am pretty good about maintaining contact with existing clients, but I believe that I need to meet more new people and develop new relationships. It will help to expand my social network (and develop new friends) while also expanding my business network. Something for me to work on!
I am good at what I do, but not great at selling and marketing myself (which is one reason I read books on marketing my services). While it might not be entirely practical to hire a salesperson, I’ve considered hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to provide this service This would allow me to do my work while having someone else provide leads and direct clients to me. The idea came to me after reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, who is quite brilliant and has some great ideas for being more efficient. I will have to do some research on this area, as I think it has a lot of potential.
Tell me how you get more referrals and build business relationships. Do you use a virtual assistant? Let me know how it has worked for you – firstname.lastname@example.org.