By Mia Hays

The other night I met with friends for dinner and one of the women would not stop gushing about how much she loved her new face scrub. It made her face so soft and her skin was never going to be the same and the website she ordered from was so easy to use and even sent samples of other products for free! What did I do the second I walked through my door? I went to my computer and ordered it. Referrals are key to promoting any business.

It’s all about the client experience.

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If location permits, get to know your client over coffee. A face-to-face meeting is much more personable and shows the client you are available and care.

Then, make it a point to answer their calls and personally return them if missed. If you can, have direct interactions between you and your client rather than handing them off to your assistant or secretary.

When you haven’t heard from the client in some time, send a summary email of your recent work for them and perhaps some ideas for future projects.

Meet new people and make connections.

Join groups and attend events! Get involved in the Rotary Club in your area or join ProVisors. Become an asset to your community. The more people you meet, the more referrals!

You have the referral. Now what?

Make sure to follow up. They’ve already heard about how wonderful you are. It’s why they reached out! Now give them their first taste of your talent by being a step ahead of the game. Send them a sample of your work before your first meeting. After your meeting, take the time to write an email to them thanking them for meeting with you and reminding them you are happy to answer any lingering questions. This also provides a great opportunity to lock down the next time you are going to meet or speak with them.

Spread the joy!

If your client is looking for a service outside of your area of expertise and you know the perfect person or company for the job, refer them! This not only adds to your credibility but also strengthens the relationship between you and your connection/source. Perhaps somewhere down the line your connection will return the favor, especially if you make sure to thank them. This can be done with a phone call and then later by following up with a handwritten thank you note.