Business to Business marketing can be a lot of work. A lot of our marketing efforts tend to not click with our prospective clients. Companies these days can get inundated with people who want to sell things, which can make them defensive or wary. It is much easier if someone that they do business with and trust tells them about you and how you can help them. But it is not enough to simply do good work for your client and hope that they will refer your business. One important thing to remember is that your clients do not usually refer you because they want to help you, but because they want to help the person to whom they are referring you. Keep this in mind when you are looking for referrals.
Here are a few steps to increase the amount of referrals you get from your clients.
1. Make sure that your clients are aware that you would like to get referrals
You do not have to ask for referrals straight out, if you do not want to, but you can bring it up in conversations. For example, if you are talking to a client and they ask how it is going, you can say that it is going great because you just got a referral from a client. You are planting a seed, so to speak.
2. Make sure your clients understand how you can help others
One easy way to do this is to tell success stories of how you have helped other clients. This makes it easier for clients to understand what your business is really about and they can perhaps see who else might be a good prospect for you.
3. When asking for referrals, make sure you are specific
Do not ask a broad question like “Who do you know that might need help with this?” Make it more specific by asking “Who among your clients might be able to use this service I provide?” and educate the client about the service.
4. Make sure you thank the person referring you
Many people forget to thank the person referring them to new prospective clients. One way to do this is to write than you notes, actual paper cards sent by snail mail. Don’t forget to let the person know how it went with the prospect. This will increase the likelihood of this client referring you to even more prospects.
5. Give referrals yourself
If you give referrals, chances are that these people will reciprocate. This does not necessarily mean that the person you referred can give referrals back to you directly, but if we are actively trying to help other people with their business, it will come back to us.
6. Keep people informed of what you are doing.
You can do this by keeping in touch with your clients regularly and updating them of what you are up to, but it can also be through blogging, newsletters, social media. Awareness is important in marketing. If you are not top-of-mind with your clients, they will not remember to refer you when the opportunity shows up.
These tips can help you increase your chances of getting referrals from your translation clients. In this month’s Marketing Tips for Translators newsletter, I give a checklist with 9 tips on how to get more clients through referrals. You can subscribe to the newsletter here to the right to get a new marketing checklist once a month.
People will want to refer you if you produce high quality work, but it is important that your clients know how to refer you. Another thing that is important is to be credible and create good will. Remember this when you are on social media, too. If someone has a good impression of you on social media, even if you could not help them directly, they may still share your content with their network. It is not always clients who are going to send prospects your way. It may be a more casual connection that have heard about you and know how you can help one of their clients.
For more information and help to create a marketing plan and get your year started right, check out the Quick Start Guide – 8 steps to a marketing plan for translators.