Selling yourself - the power of the referral
As freelance consultants finding the next assignment is one of those challenges that some find easy and haunts others. The ability to sell your service is singularly the most important activity that any freelance consultant can undertake. Yet research has shown that business development is the activity that they spend least time on and feel most uncomfortable about pursuing.
Nathan Williams of Customer Return is a micro business owner who specialises in helping his clients generate new business. He works on the premise that the easiest new business to acquire is that which results from a referral. He asks questions like, how easy is your business to refer, or do you have the confidence to ask for a referral from an existing client. He points out, " that only 1 in 5 clients are actually asked for a referral. This demonstrates that we lack confidence in how we handle the conversation". He points out, "the irony is that a number of these same clients said that they would be happy to refer but just never thought about it nor were they asked".
He says, "understanding what your client think of the service is the first step. This may also uncover some areas where they were not happy. But that's exactly the information you need to a) retain the client, and b) make your business more referable. The worst case scenario is a client that is apathetic as that's the one you're going to lose. The client that has an opinion is someone who cares and therefore gives you the opportunity to improve your service".
Nathan argues that for your business to be referable it is necessary to for you to have a "referable mindset" which positions your relationship to be one where it is easy for your existing client to refer you on to the next.
Click here to access a short article Nathan has provided that expands on this subject.
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This article was published in the Australia Freelance Market-News 65.