“The 3 Rs” of Getting Clients: Referrals

My friend Chris Hawkins interviewed me yesterday on his new show $100k Freelancing (https://www.christopherhawkins.com/2017/03/im-back-introducing-new-podcast-100k-freelancing/ — go subscribe, rate, review, and listen, my friends!) and we got to talking about “The 3 Rs” of getting (and keeping) clients.

  • Referrals
  • Relationships
  • Repeat projects

Let’s talk about each one.

Why referrals?

When you’re referred to someone, that’s the strongest form of marketing. You’re having another human literally say “You should work with this person, I recommend them.”

That is a powerful form of marketing. So, naturally, any chance you get to get a referral to someone, you should act on.

Create referrable moments (kaidavis.com/referrable-moments/).

Have a specific positioning statement. Be able to say how you help and how you help them. For example, “I’m Kai Davis — I help freelancers get more clients with actionable marketing.”

Ask people for referrals (kaidavis.com/get-clients-referrals/).

Send an email to a colleague, an acquaintance, a past client, or a current client and say:


How is business doing? What have you been up to?

An update and a question: Do you know any people in TARGET MARKET who are looking for help solving EXPENSIVE PROBLEM?

If you don’t, that’s absolute fine. Just hit reply and say “Sorry, I don’t know anyone.”

But if you do, I’d be deeply touched if you’d be willing to provide a referral.

I’m working on refining my business’s marketing and I’m focusing on TARGET MARKET and providing help solving EXPENSIVE PROBLEM.  Do you know anyone in TARGET MARKET who needs help solving EXPENSIVE PROBLEM?

If you do, just hit reply and let me know. I’d love to hear from you about them and, if it sounds like I’d be able to help, I’d deeply appreciate you introducing us, if they’re open to an introduction.

Thanks in advance,


Not everyone will respond “Yes! I know someone!”

But some people will.

And some of those conversations will turn into clients.

And those clients will have come because you took the time to send an email asking for referrals.

I have a challenge for you: pick five people (these could be clients, past clients, friends, acquaintances, colleagues — or another group) and send them the above email, after you customize it to match your business, your style, and your tone. 

Just five people.

Take that one action and see what happens. See what new conversations you’re involved in. See what opportunities come out of the woodwork because you send this email.

And then email me and tell me that you did it. Because I want to know and celebrate you taking this action.

It isn’t about if this generates referrals or not. Referrals are great, don’t get me wrong, I would like you to get some referrals from this. But most importantly, it’s about you taking the time to do a thing for your business.

Working on your business, not in it.

Practicing building that “business development muscle” through outreach.

Tomorrow? We talk relationships!