Many freelancers and small business owners attract a significant share of their customers from referrals. For example, a satisfied client might recommend your services to their friends and colleagues. However, not all new clients/customers turn out to be profitable for freelancers and small businesses. Here are some tips on how to generate high-quality referrals for your side hustle or business.

Helping People

Getting good referrals starts by being good at helping people. For example, you should be participating in online communities where you get a chance to connect with others who will find your knowledge and experience helpful to them. A lot of people consider this networking. However, you should view it more as making friends. That’s because when you come across as a helpful friend – and not as a salesperson – they are more likely to trust you. When people trust you, they are more likely to recommend you to others who could benefit from your services. Therefore, earning the trust and respect of others by being genuinely helpful is critical to getting high-quality referrals.

Pick a Specific Niche

You won’t be able to generate high-quality referrals by being all things to all people. Instead, you need to pick a specific lane (specialization). Basically, your goal is to become the “go-to” person for your niche. That way, when people think of your niche, they associate it with you. Plus, it’s much easier to become a subject-matter expert in one field, rather than trying to be “a jack of all trades and a master of none.”

Connect with Other Freelancers in Your Niche

Don’t view other freelancers in your niche as competitors. Instead, view them as “super-connectors” who can help connect you to new opportunities. Follow them on social media. Ask them questions when you need help. Also, demonstrate your knowledge and expertise by answering their questions when you know the answer. If you can come across as helpful and knowledgeable to them, then there’s a good chance they will recommend you to prospective clients when they have a heavy workload, or lack skills for a project that you do possess.

Focus on Creating Value for Others

Finally, don’t just help people because you want something from them. Instead, you should help them because it’s the right thing to do. For example, if you have the knowledge and expertise that can help someone solve a problem, you should be happy to help them. That way, people won’t feel like you are just trying to exploit them to get ahead. Serving others is the biggest key to generating high-quality referrals – and the best way you can serve others is by creating value for them.

In short, getting good referrals starts with genuinely helping people. Develop your skills around a specific niche so that others will view you as the “go-to” person in your field. Don’t overlook the value of connecting with other freelances in your niche as they might be able to refer new clients to you. Above all, focus on serving others by creating value for them.

Story Credit: Evan Crosby

Photo Credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions