How to Get Referrals

 

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Pitching Clients and Getting Sales

 

Lesson Info

How to Get Referrals

I know, isn't that the best? I don't know, what is she saying? I really like to refer you some business. (audience laughs) Referrals, it's like an old word, and it feels like this old dirty salesman word, like, I'd like you to refer me some business. But really, all you have to do is do great work, and that client is going to tell other people in their organization to work with you. They're gonna tell people outside that organization to work with you. I don't know that there is some secret, magical mechanism of getting referrals. I will give you one awesome, two awesome little secrets, though, depending on the work that you do. So, if you do web work, for example, you make websites, never be shy about asking the client to include a link to your own agency website in the footer. We did that a lot the first five years. I remember, we built a website. It was like a $15,000 website for Ben's Chili Bowl, of all places. This is a famous chili restaurant in Washington, DC. We put a little log...

o footer in there, designed by iStrategy Labs. The client really loved us, really loved the work, and I said, yeah, great, put that thing in, I don't care. Someone clicked through, sent us an RFP. We did about $175,000 worth of work with them the next year. So don't forget that your work sells more work, right? So that's a referral that is literally a link referral to the business. So, try to find those opportunities. I would do the same if you have design and photography portfolios on the web, like if you're loading stuff up in Behance, or otherwise, just be really smart about linking back to your site with all that work. You want people to be able to find you so they can hired based on the work that's been done. That's what referrals are to me, whether they are first person, or whether they are found and come to you. And then, that starts to get into a lot of SEO stuff, but that's not what this class is all about. Any questions about referrals or upsales, no? Yeah, I think that people always wanna know what's the best way? I know doing good work will get people to have more referrals. But are there any subtle ways that you can kind of get people to do it if they don't? Like, do you every follow up with someone and say, hey, did you enjoy the work that we did, if so? No, maybe some people do, i have never in my life done that because I feel like it, I don't wanna say it feels desperate, but it sort of does to me. What I like to do when a client, and we get this all the time, thankfully, a client will email or call or whatever, and say, I just wanna let you know that the work your team did was so incredible, and we're so happy, and the CEO is over the moon about it, and all the rest. And so, when they've done that, I feel like I have liberty to make an ask in a way. And so, I'll say, that's so great, I'm so glad that you said that and like, please tell that world, and if you know anyone else that want to hire, just let us know, 'cause it feels like the natural response rather than like, man, Peter keeps call... We did a project with Peter and his team, and he keeps calling me asking me to refer him to other businesses, I'm like, we're never gonna do that. Or it's just like, if they come into that little trap, fine. But if not, I don't. Yeah, I know that we've had people in the chatroom who, photographers, we've had some designers talk about things, having that portfolio, making it easy for people to refer. I wanna go back to what you mentioned about, like sending that final project of deliverables. And maybe if you're a photographer, and you have a final album or something. And with this, delivering the web-based materials, is that a good time to just say like, hey, maybe you include a card, or you include something there, like, hey, maybe this is something that you can pass on if you enjoyed what we did. Is that a good opportunity to do it when you're delivering the final product? Sure, I mean, if you have a business that is capable of doing some kind of discount. Yeah, discount. It's totally relevant. You could say, listen, and we had a great project together. I shot great photos for you at your wedding. And, by the way, if you have other friends getting married, because I love you so much, just send them this link, and they get 10% off my services. I mean that feels normal. It feels like value that you're putting out into the world that someone else can benefit from. It doesn't feel like you're just trying to capture value for yourself. So, that's the key point with referrals. If it just feels like you're asking for value, just send me more work! Who cares, like, who cares, I'm not gonna send any more work. If it feels like, oh, there's something in it for me, like, all of the in it for me in this instance was I get to give my friend a discount, that's cool, who doesn't wanna pass it along to their friend? Or if it's a client who had a really great experience with you in a web project or otherwise, and they want to be known as someone that understands where to find great talent to work with their company and their brand. It's like, yeah, and I'm gonna introduce you to Mary in this other department so that you can help them with the new coconut oil launch. I don't know where I come up with these th... We had apple sauce and coconut, great wholistic products. Yeah. One more question that just came in here, and this is kind of referrals, slightly different. We have a viewer who wants to know if you have a platform to ask for client reviews. So maybe they're not referring you, but just getting that feedback from your client, like when you rap up a project. Is that something that you do? Yes and no. We do detailed postmortems for every project that we do. That's usually internal. Sometimes, we'll have a project manager get a survey from a client organization to ask them what the experience was working with the team and anything that we should consider for next time. We have considered doing a full client-based survey for the year. And so, I don't know how many clients we touched in a given year, but it's, I don't know, it could be 50 to 100 or something like that. And so, then, that starts to be data that is actionable to me and interesting to me. But I always am concerned about putting work on a client's plate. That's not what this is about, it about taking work off of their plate. So they're hiring us to do work for them. So I don't wanna say, oh, fill out this 20-page survey so that I can make more money. Again, it's not a value proposition to them.

Class Description


The distance that your small business has to cover to become a thriving enterprise can seem like an unbridgeable gulf at times. You need to land bigger clients to build name recognition and scale up your business model, but they appear to be out of reach.

Entrepreneur Peter Corbett has lived this struggle, and built his business iStrategyLabs into a multimillion dollar brand. Join us for this class, and Peter will teach you how to price, pitch and create a statement of work. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to prospect a client, prepare a tailored pitch, and land meetings.
  • How to estimate the work that needs to be done, and close the deal.
  • How to operate projects, and exit gracefully once they’re completed.

Peter has built his business from the ground up without VC funding. His client work includes projects for brands like GE, Disney, Volkswagen, and Coca-Cola. He mentors fledgling entrepreneurs who have strong ideas and straddle the tipping point between just maintaining and runaway success. You’ll walk away from this class with a step-by-step playbook on how to secure bigger clients, and a toolkit of techniques and ideas to arm you as you move onward and upward! 

Reviews

Bonnie Aunchman
 

Peter & Creativelive - I loved, loved this class! I would HIGHLY recommend. The class is extremely informative in content and has great document samples you can use. I will implement Peter's advice and practices immediately! (Loved Peter's teaching style!) Thank you! :)

a Creativelive Student
 

I had the great privilege of being in the studio audience for this class and had a phenomenal experience. Peter shared not only great insights and experience but templates that I've already started implementing in my own business. His experience and approach towards working with clients really resonated with me and my business partners. I specifically encourage you to find the section and write down word for word what he says when a client says "well, I don't know what our budget is, we want you to tell us". I've already used his approach of responding with "oh, it's a million dollars :-)!" and using that to open the conversation. It get's results and the answers you need to put together an aligned proposal. On being an audience member the staff at CreativeLive was kind, clear with instructions and made sure we always knew what was expected of us. I encourage you to apply for a class and experience it first hand. As a bonus, their office and catering was phenomenal.

Che Pilling
 

Peter Corbett is a very clever man, I appreciate his honesty and creative thinking. This course is amazing for people who are in a process of setting up different areas of their business. I can also see how it would benefit business owners/managers who want to review their processes. Corbett is a very engaging speaker and his communication is excellent. Fabulous course, A+.