How to turn your clients into referral machines

The most important thing in your business is your clients and the money they bring your way.

You want clients to rave about your smooth process and beautiful work.

You want them to feel like you've helped them in any way you possibly could.

You want your clients to write wonderful testimonials about you.

You want your clients to tell all their friends to hire you ASAP, because you'll improve any business you touch.

But how do you get clients to promote you that much? Does it even matter if clients promote you? If you get plenty of clients from social media, why should referrals matter?

Why referrals matter

Referrals are the easiest way to get clients. In fact, 65% of new business comes from referrals. 

People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend, and I'm living proof of that. I was looking for an accountant recently and asked people for recommendations. A few of them recommended the same person, so I got in touch and booked one of her services. I wouldn't have been as confident in booking with her if I didn't know other people who had already worked with her.

Referrals matter because people trust their friends opinions.

How to get referrals from clients

01. Always go the extra mile
Please don't interpret going the extra mile as giving your clients free revisions or something along those lines. I used to add free revisions to projects here and there, thinking it would thrill my clients. But I learned with one nightmare client that sometimes, clients see you adding free things to their project and decide to take advantage of you. They can sometimes push you for more free work. And really, who can blame them?

Here's a few ways you can go the extra mile without compromising yourself:

  • Always reply to their emails swiftly and helpfully.
  • If they complain about something, be gracious and offer them something to soothe their annoyance.
  • Add little things to their project without telling them, but notify them when the project is coming to an end. For example, install extra plugins to their site that will prove useful to them. Or save their logo in another color just in case they needed it in the future.
  • Don't just communicate with them over email. Hop on Skype a few times throughout the process. This makes you feel like a real person to them and shows them you genuinely care.
  • Send them a little gift in the post when you're done working together. A postcard would be nice.
  • If you don't want to post something, how about giving them a $10 gift voucher for Starbucks?

02. Just ask for them.
When your project is coming to an end, ask your clients to send people you way. Sometimes clients won't even think to refer you to other people even though your work was excellent. That's why you need to kindly ask them. Don't beg, just say a sentence or two, like 'if you know anyone in your orbit who needs as ______, please send them my way. Referrals are like gold to my business, and I'd really appreciate yours.'

03. Give them incentive 
When I was having driving lessons, my instructor told me that if I referred him to someone else and they started working with him, me and the person I'd referred would get discounted lessons. Of course, I jumped on that incentive and got my little brother to start having driving lessons. The point is: if you give your clients a good incentive, they'll refer you to their friends, family, subscribers or blog followers. 

If your clients sent a new clients your way and this client actually books with you, you could offer them 10% off their next round of work with you, or you could offer them a 5% refund of what they spent. 

According to the university of Chicago, non-cash incentives are 24% more effective than cash incentives. So instead of discounts, maybe you could offer them a free consultation, website review, course access, workshop pass, ad space in your blog sidebar or just a big thank you.

How will you remember to give your clients a discount off their next round of work with you?

I'll admit, I've totally forgotten to discount my clients projects in the past. They've had to remind me, which isn't very professional. To stop this from happening, give your clients a discount code to quote when they get in touch with you again. Or, if you use a decent invoicing system like Pancake or Freshbooks, you could add the discount code to the system and then tell the client to apply to code when paying their invoice. 

Tell me in a comment- do you get many referrals from your past clients? 

Nesha Woolery

I build beautiful brands & websites for passionate entrepreneurs!