Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.
— Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett said it best. (And, notte bene, if you haven’t read any Pratchett, good gods! Get yourself to your library).
Whenever I ask a freelancer what their number one struggle is with their business is, the answer, invariably, comes back as some variation on:
I don’t know how to get my first clients
I don’t know how to get more clients
I don’t know how to get more projects from my existing clients
Clients. Clients. Clients.
What are they? How do we get more of them? How do we keep working with them past that first project?
My friends, it is easy to curse the darkness when you’re standing in it. But I want to hand you a flamethrower.
Let’s talk about Referrals.
Referrals are a powerful form of trust based word of mouth marketing where one person (someone you know / have done business with / likes the look of your face) tells another person (someone you don’t know / haven’t done business with / couldn’t tell you from Adam) about you, the types of companies you work best with, the outcomes you can help those companies achieve, and the problems you’re adept at solving.
Referrals sometimes happen naturally. Like mushrooms, they pop up when you least expect and you have no clue where they came from. (And, like a mushroom, referrals often happen in darkness).
But! (And this is where I hand you a flamethrower, my friend). If you proactively, politely, assertively go after referrals by sending an email or three to acquaintances, past clients, colleagues, or vendors that you’ve worked with, politely explaining:
- That you have an opening for a project and that you immediately thought of them as someone who has a great network
- That you work best with companies in [Target Market] or that match [List of Criteria]
- That you’re adept at helping said companies achieve [Outcome] or solve [Expensive Problem]
- Do they happen to know anyone that matches the above description? If so, you’d deeply appreciate them connecting you with them
(And, from experience, lemme tell you, this is the pee-wee grade junior grade ‘My First Flamethrower’ level of proactive referral outreach).
Why does this work?
When you proactively reach out to people – not in a needy way, but in a ‘you probably know people I should know’ way – and explain who you work with and the outcomes you help them achieve, you create referrable moments for your business.
We’ve all had these moments.
This is when someone says to you “Oh yeah, they work with X and help with Y” and _you immediately think ‘oh holy shit, I know someone who desperately needs their help!’
You can live in the darkness OR you can light a flamethrower and find your way forward.
What does this do for your business?
When you’re proactive about outreach for referrals, you’re telling people about who you work with, who you can help, and how you can help them, increasing your luck surface area for generating referrals.
What’s a ‘luck surface area’?
Luck = Doing * Telling. The more you do and the more people you tell about it, the larger your Luck Surface Area will become.
(Slightly edited from the last paragraph in: http://www.codusoperandi.com/posts/increasing-your-luck-surface-area)
When you maximize your luck surface area, you make it more likely that referrals ‘pop up’ — and you’re able to trace down exactly where they came from, what they want, and how you can help.
But it takes a system. It takes being proactive. It takes doing something that not everyone is that great at.
Telling people what you do.
Telling people what your positioning is.
Telling people what outcomes you excel at generating.
And to get better at telling people what we do, we need a system.
How do you make it systematic?
In The Outreach Blueprint, you’ll learn a systematic approach to outreach that you can follow to build and nurture relationships.
By following a systematic approach to outreach, you’re able to reactivate old relationships with colleagues, past co-workers, acquaintances, past clients, current clients, authorities, influencers, audience owners, and strangers.
Then, as part of the natural, organic conversation, you tell them about what you do. You ask if they know anyone who would be a good fit for working together, if they know anyone in your target market, if they know anyone looking for the outcomes you can help them experience (or anyone experiencing the problems you’re great at solving).
But — and this is the key — you have to tell them.
If you don’t tell them what you do, who you do it for, and the outcomes it generates, you’re back to cursing the darkness.
When you do light that flamethrower, the darkness is gone! Suddenly you can see where these referrals are coming from and politely, persistently generate more referrals and clients for your business.
- Your first clients, by reaching out to past co-workers, colleagues, acquaintances, and friends in the industry
- More clients, by reaching out to past clients and letting them know that you’d love to know who they recommend you contact
- More projects from your existing clients, by reaching out and saying ‘It was great to work on that project. How can I help now?’
Do you want to put a systematic, step-by-step process in place for outreach for your business? For building and maintaining relationships? For emailing anyone and getting a response?
Then buy your copy of The Outreach Blueprint today: http://outreachblueprint.com