Why You’re Better off NOT Getting Client Referrals

November 10, 2021

A guest post by Pamela Durkin, ASID, LEED AP ID+C

Wait, what?

Ok, ok, so if a client refers you and it’s a good fit, by all means, go for it. BUT, I want you to think about how you can get higher quality referrals in a lot less time and effort. Do I have your attention?

People talk, right? And you want them to talk about your business since referrals account for 65% of new deals, but you probably knew that already. But, I don’t think past clients are your BEST source of referrals for new business. Why not, you ask? Because…

  1. Design clients are hesitant to refer for fear something may go wrong, and subsequently ruin their relationship with their friends. Therefore, they are few and far between.
  2. They say they will refer you but simply get busy with their own lives and forget. That leads to less opportunities than we would like. 
  3. Past clients are not necessarily referring you to others just like them. Then you have to figure out a way to politely decline or begrudgingly take on the project, and that’s no fun either way.

Did you know that companies that refer other companies experience a 70% higher conversion rate? You can also expect an uptick of about 16% more in profits. And, these type referrals are the gift that keeps on giving. One highly qualified referring source can result in multiple opportunities for you. Easier sales and more money? I hope you just thought, “Sign me up!”

So how do you go about it?

Identify great business contacts you are already working with. Think Trade Partners like Builders, Developers, and Building Managers. Also, identify some of your very best local Vendors, like the Tile Showroom, Granite Yard, Art Gallery, Cabinet Company, etc. I have found that Vendors can be an amazing source of leads!

Reverse the script. Instead of asking them if they can refer business your way, figure out how you can help them close more business.

  1. How would teaming up with you get them better quality projects? You know the saying, two heads are better than one? Same applies here. You can brainstorm events, blog posts, interviews, etc. and supersize your reach to new audiences.
  2. How can your skills and expertise elevate their offerings? Figure out how working with you will make them much more attractive to new clients. Maybe you can provide a much-needed service their clients have been asking for.
  3. How can working together help them get the job done better or faster? Think about what you bring to the table and why it will equate to better customer service or a better overall customer experience. Who doesn’t want happier customers?

If you put a little time and effort into showing them how this is a true win-win for both of you, it will be a no brainer decision! So go ahead, get them talking, and… see how your business changes, for the better!

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Written by Pamela durkin

Design is powerful and Pam wants designers to step into that power. After almost 30 years in the design business, helping other designers create a business they love became a new passion for her. She teaches others how to be magnetic and attract the best clients. This method makes owning a design business easier and more fulfilling and who isn’t up for that? Her book, Elevate! Can be found here.

Pam Durkin Headshot