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Business Essentials: How to ask for referrals (without cringing)

Business-Essentials-asking-for-referralsHands up if you win a decent chunk of work from referrals? Quite a few of you? Thought so. Keep your hand up if you have a solid strategy in place for requesting referrals. If your hand is still raised, then well done you – off to the top of the class. For those of you who sheepishly retracted, while wondering what a referral strategy might look like in the first place, listen up. This post’s for you.

Know who to approach for a referral

Chances are, there’ll be some clients who you enjoy working with more than others. There are those who are a joy to work with, who bring you exciting and challenging work and who behave impeccably (no late payments or other such nuisance behaviour from them…). The sort who you’d be overjoyed to fill your days working with. Those are the people to ask for referrals from – not the clients who you’d rather forget.

Pick your moment

The best point to ask for a referral is when you’re coming to the end of a project, while everyone is on a high from the work you’ve done together. I find that it’s most effective to ask for the referral as a project goes live, rather than days or weeks afterwards.

How will you ask?

Personally, I think there’s nothing wrong with asking for a referral face to face. However, if you’re too shy to do that (what is it with us Brits?), email is your friend. And if even that feels uncomfortable, try writing yourself a template that you can whip out when needed. Something along the lines of ‘it’s been such a pleasure to work with you on xxxx. I do my best work with people just like you, and would love it if you could recommend me to your friends’. Easy!

Show your thanks

How you say thank you is up to you. A handwritten note and chocolates are rarely turned down, but a truly personalised gift goes a long way to say thank you.

Give referrals

What better way to show that you’re in the game of sharing contacts than giving out referrals yourself? It’s a fact that those who you send work to will want to return the favour, so spread the love and share those contacts!

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This week I’m loving… equine sculpture by Heather Jansch

FoalThis week we’ve been working with the lovely chaps at Marshall Murray. Marshall Murray source sculpture and artwork from the most incredible artisans, hand selecting and representing the finest artists in Britain. Incidentally, they have an amazing sculpture trail at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, where pieces have been thoughtfully sourced and placed to make the most of the vista, light and surroundings.

Through Marshall Murray I’ve been introduced to the work of Heather Jansch, who specialises in pieces crafted from driftwood (driftwood?! Isn’t it madness to think that these works of art are composed entirely of things that are washed up on the beach?!). Heather’s work is highly sought after, attracting a three year waiting list for commissions. Her driftwood horses are simply stunning – the musculature, fine detail and characteristics are so life-like that it’s unreal. As you’ll no doubt know by now, I’m a total horse nut myself so I’m naturally drawn to her work. Isn’t it exquisite?

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This week I’m loving… This Modern Love by Bloc Party

Last night, for the first time in AGES, I had my little home studio all to myself. I’ve had to share it with Dan since the winter when the roof of his man-cave (aka the shed) started leaking in the bad weather, so having the space to myself was quite a bit deal. Ah, it was amazing. I wrote blog posts, drank coffee and cranked up Spotify. And while doing so, came across this little gem by Bloc Party. The perfect chill-out track. Enjoy.

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