Advertising, growing followers and friends, increasing Facebook likes and getting more Twitter followers and retweets ~ These are all great for growing visibility and brand awareness…
They convert at an extremely low rate. They ARE important for increasing conversions WHEN someone PERSONALLY recommends your products of service!
But PERSONAL recommendations are what REALLY work.
Without them, huge Twitter followings, massive numbers of Facebook fans, and all the LinkedIn lions you can connect do almost nothing to put money in your pocket!
What Are Small Businesses and Consultants Who Get Sales Doing?
When you finally meet the people who are buried in work and making massive sales – who aren’t online much because they’re busy making money – you will find out that they did it the same way business has always worked:
You need champions in your corner – people you have worked with who were SO impressed that they go out of their way to write testimonials and pro-actively RECOMMEND YOU so strongly that people they know ACT and IMMEDIATELY HIRE YOU!
You don’t have to convince the person you know what you’re doing. The person who recommended you already did that. You may not even have to tell them what you charge because they may have already shared that information, too.
What happens is the person just contacts you and says:
I want to hire you. Where and how do I send payment?
Why Your Customers Don’t Refer or Recommend You
If you already have happy customers and think they will recommend you without you asking, you really need to watch this short video. (Only 1:16 long – that’s a little over one minute – a tiny investment of your time that could make you a mint of money!)
Why Referrals Should Be a Key Part of Your Marketing Strategy
The second video (only two minutes long so WATCH IT!) is Andy explaining the benefits ad advantages of focusing your time on getting referrals. MAKE THIS YOUR TOP PRIORITY!
If that sounds familiar it is what I’ve been making happen with my blogging collaborations.
We must speed up how fast we upgrade everything we do by sharing what we know and trading expertise and RECOMMENDING EXPERTS to each other!
Use Networking to Become Better Known – to Become Better Equipped – And to Become Better Connected! ~ Andy Lopata ~
You can NOT be top in your field going it alone. You can’t stay busy working without recommendations. You can constantly increase your expertise by sharing strategies and techniques with others in your field.
“What counts is NOT who YOU know –
We all know about many famous people.
How has that ever benefited you?
What Counts is WHO KNOWS YOU!”
~ Andy Lopata ~
And they are NOT always your competition. Often an inquiry may not be the kind of work you want so you can pass it over to them. When one of you is too busy to take a new rush job you can see who wants it.
To Get Referrals MAKE IT EASY to Recommend You!
If you want referrals you MUST make it EASY for people! You have to provide them with the information they need to easily and quickly recommend you. They need to know and have landing pages and links to:
- What you do – specifically. They may know part of what you offer – share ALL of what you offer in an organized manner.
- Your portfolio of writing samples, logo designs, graphics created, your Web design portfolio, Web development work, etc.
- HOW TO HIRE YOU ~ This is critical for EVERY potential client – and most service providers really need to improve on how they make this information available and easy to find.
- Testimonials from people who have used your services. Gather these up from wherever they are, prioritize them by how compelling they are, and get them on a testimonials page and use them in strategic locations on your site and wherever you offer your services.
But what do you do if that isn’t already happening for you? Andy Lopata – a networking strategies expert who does networking skills training – has the answer to that question.
How Do You Get People To Send You Referrals?
Andy wrote a book about that titled Recommended: How to Sell Through Networking and Referrals. You might remember that I strongly recommended and promoted that book as one of my Top Small Business Books picks during the Small Business Trends Book Awards.
In my review copy Andy kindly provided, I have highlighted and made notes in and created an action plan for myself and others – and I want you to know HE IS RIGHT.
You need to watch these videos and then order his book Recommended and use what you learn to create your own Success Plan. [If anyone is interested I’ll share mine in another post – just let me know in the comments.]
This third video is highlights from one of Andy Lopata’s speaking engagements explaining one of his most important points. Once you know what you need TO DO he tells you how to put that knowledge to work to increase your income (in only six minutes!).
Pay close attention in this video to clearly grasp how networking – what I’ve been calling COLLABORATING – can grow your expertise as well as increase your earnings.
Now for those of us who want to know ALL we can know, here is one of Andy’s complete talks, this one from Start-Smart.me (A Start-Up business site for Finland and Estonia).
I encourage you to make time to watch this longer video (just over an hour) because Andy shares why what you are probably asking people to say about you is NOT what will work! [Hint: you can turn down the volume during the networking bits.]
It also clearly illustrates that someone you know has a relationship with people you can not even imagine them knowing – like the Queen of England – or Oprah – or the top experts in their fields.
Referrals Built My AdWords Management Business
What Andy’s book did for me is it clarified and expanded on what I had already learned from experience:
When someone recommends you clients insist on hiring you
without you having to sell them on the idea.
I know that because when I managed AdWords accounts full time I charged $100 cash in advance – officially per hour but because back then it was possible to make them a lot of money I actually did whatever it took to make what I did profitable for my clients.
I had all the work I could handle – all of it from referrals or
people who read what I shared on AdWords accounts at Search Engine Forums.
I only ever met in person TWO of those clients who happily sent me cash money in $100 increments and as much as $2000 a month in advance – and that only happened because we both attended the same Yahoo! Search Marketing Seminar which is where we met.
How to Recommend Someone By Email
When you want to refer someone, send a short email introduction to them both that includes why you are writing. Include a link to the other person’s portfolio or details on why you feel they would be a great fit.
Collaborating is essential. Join groups of freelancers and go out of your way to know what others do. If I didn’t have the Blogger Mastermind Skype group I would have had to contact people individually or send out a tweet and hope one of my almost 30,000 followers might happen to know someone.
Our Blogger Mastermind group gives me the
BEST referrals in the least amount of time!
Without it, I might not have heard about many of the people I recommend. Because they are active on Skype, I can instantly find out if they want a particular referral. Being able to immediately recommend someone increases the odds they will get hired before anyone else!
Take my word for this. Personal recommendations ARE what get you
hired faster and easier and at better pay than anything else you can do.
More Proof Referrals Work
Writing this reminded me that Donna Fontenot ended up with a long term contract because I recommended her. I knew what Donna did because she used to go by the memorable handle DazzlinDonna so I was able to remember her and find her.
I still believe this trend of using your name instead of something catchy like that is a mistake – at least until you’re as established as Donna is – because I rarely remember someone’s name and there are too many people with the same name to easily find you.
I could not have recommended her and she would not have had as many month’s worth of work as she wanted from them.
DO NOT Leave Without Doing This FIRST!
Getting referrals is the most important and fastest way anyone can make more money freelancing and increase their income. Here is what you can do right now to make sure you make this a priority and keep on track:
- Go to Andy’s Networking Resources page and connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. (Hotlinks you can use on that page.)
- Sign up for Andy’s regular ‘Connecting is not Enough’ email ezine newsletter by putting your email address in the field found top center on that same page.
- Visit Andy’s Networking Shop page to watch additional videos, read testimonials, buy Recommended: How to Sell Through Networking and Referrals and find out more about other books and resources Andy shares including some exceptional close-out deals.
- If you need a Networking Strategy Training Speaker be sure to hire Andy. He packs insights and actionable advice into a presentation that is entertaining in a professional yet casual way. (Don’t just take my word for it – you can see that for yourself – just watch that last video above.)
- PerformingBiz: Although what Jeri Goldstein writes is specifically targeted to Artist Career Development, I highly recommend her advice for growing any business – especially her book Tiny Guide to Huge Success
- AdvisorOne: How to Increase Referrals: Seven Steps
Andy’s memorable advice makes perfect sound bites for our posts and tweets:
Focus on RELATIONSHIP BUILDING Instead of Selling!
The more you educate people who know you about what
you do, the more opportunities they can share with you.
It isn’t who YOU know that counts…It is
WHO knows YOU well enough to recommended you!
To Get Recommended Make it EASY to Recommend You!
If I had focused on this I might be like the other top experts I know – so busy with client work you would probably not have hear of GrowMap or me. My calling is to do what I’m doing – but believe me – having a steady income would make that so much easier.
It makes me sad to think of what the world is losing because the best and brightest are so busy making a living that they don’t have time to share what they know with others.
I wonder why some benefactor doesn’t step in and cover their overhead because in return they would get the benefits of all their accumulated expertise and wisdom and help small businesses everywhere in the process.
What happens instead is that they usually want to own every minute of our time, all we can produce, and still keep demanding more quantity instead of being happy with exceptional quality. That is why many of the best prefer not to be employees and instead work for themselves.
Imagine how much more we could accomplish if we could just do what needs doing? Either a patron with money or crowdfunding could make that happen.
Subscribe to our new FeedBlitz feed ~ Be sure to bookmark this huge post so you can refer to it as you can get people you know referring work to YOU, too!
As always on GrowMap, if you have any questions please do leave a comment. If you know of additional excellent related posts or resources, leave links to them in the comments.
Originally published 8/19/2012; updated 7/10/18.