Five Referral Tactics to Attract New Clients

“Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.” (Mark Zuckerberg)

Laura Burford


Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

How does an independent worker — consultant, contractor, or freelancer — attract new clients?

One approach is to ask for referrals from people you know.

Obtaining referrals is an active marketing approach and a “must do” task for every consultant. It is one of the top strategies I recommend to a person starting out as a consultant because everyone knows people and people like to help others. For some new consultants, it is the easiest way to get that coveted first client.

A consultant executes their referral strategy every day by connecting with people, but a successful strategy is more than merely connecting. It is a realistic systematic process that is followed and tracked for success. It can’t be a hit or miss strategy. Believe me, I’ve tried the hit or miss approach and as the saying goes, “it does not work.”

Referrals occur because of your reputation and expertise. They are a step beyond word of mouth, which is the buzz that spreads from person to person. Referrals occur because one of your connections believes and trust you. Your connection is willing to take the leap to proactively introduce you to one of their contacts.

Although referrals can “just happen,” referrals work best if you, the consultant, develop a realistic approach.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Here are five tactics to consider as you develop a referral approach that works for you.

Change your mindset and get out of your comfort zone.

Many consultants find asking for a referral uncomfortable. To this day, I find “asking” uncomfortable and I’ve been asking for referrals, I admit at times sheepishly, for years. I contribute my discomfort to being taught at a young age that it was impolite to ask people, particularly strangers, for help. As a consultant, I realized that to not only survive…



Laura Burford

Leveraging her Consultant's Blueprint, Laura helps Consultants & Freelancers use their MAGIC-their expertise and experience-to build successful businesses.