By Kathleen Rake
Should you ask existing customers for referrals?
Yes. But only if you want to get more work from people who are likely to pay well, pay on time, and give additional referrals.
What do I mean? Well, chances are that a good customer is going to give you the names of people he or she thinks are good candidates for your services. No one wants to make a bad referral; in my experience, at least, chances of a good customer-writer relationship increase when it begins as the result of an already-good-customer referral.
To increase your opportunities for good referrals, first confirm that this customer is happy with the work you are doing or have just completed, then ask questions (see examples below) that begin with who, where, which, or what, and don't forget to find out if you can use the current customer's name when you reach out—better yet, ask if your customer would make an email introduction.
- Who else in your industry would benefit from the kind of work I do?
- Where else do you think I should be looking for work like this?
- What other departments in this company ... ?
- Which of your suppliers ... ?
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