Three Sure-Fire Ways To Receive A Killer Referral From Your Clients

Many successful freelancers don’t do any advertising at all – their services are so good that word-of-mouth referrals get them all the business they need. There’s just something about a personal referral that carries more weight than any sales page or fancy flyer ever could.

But you don’t have to depend on your clients to do the work of spreading the word about your business – you can take matters into your own hands and get their word-of-mouth success story right on your freelancing web page.

Here are a few tips to make sure the story your clients tell about you contains all the right elements to convince your potential customers that you are the right person for the job.

Tip #1 – Let Them Know Who Their Audience Is

When many freelancers ask their clients for recommendations, they do so in a very vague way – sometimes with no more prompting that “Could you please write me a recommendation?” In return, they usually get a weak testimonial that doesn’t drive much business their way. A better approach is to paint a picture for your client, letting them know a little about the audience you’re trying to reach. For example:

“Hey, Mike, I’m glad that you chose us to handle your web design and that you’re happy with the new theme we built for you. I know that you’re a small business and this was your first time outsourcing your web design, and we’re actually looking to find more clients who have the same needs and concerns that you did when you chose to hire us. Would you mind taking a few moments and giving us some feedback on how we helped meet your needs and answered the kinds of questions you had as a first-timer?”

You can see how this will give you a much juicier recommendation. You’ll have a custom-crafted story that will resonate with your target audience – so when they click on your “Clients” page, they’ll see just what they need to in order to be convinced that you’re the perfect fit for them.

Tip #2 – Make It Easy On Them

If you want to get a good story from your happy client, don’t make them do the work – instead, make it easier on them. Send them a template that asks leading questions such as, “What was the biggest reason you chose us over a competitor?” or “What makes you comfortable recommending us to other business like yours?” Give them a template with specific questions, and you’ll get the specific answers you need to have a compelling, authentic success story.

Tip #3 – Make Them A Reference Client

If you’ve really made your client happy, they may be willing to make their contact information available so that potential clients can get in touch with them. There’s not much of a greater endorsement than to have a client say, “Sure, call me anytime and I’ll answer any questions you have about this freelancer.” Not every client will allow this, but it’s always worth asking.

Do These Three Things And Make Finding New Clients Easier

You don’t have to have chatty clients to have word-of-mouth referrals start pouring in. Get a few solid success stories under your belt using these tips and when prospective clients browse your list of clients, they’ll feel like their peers are talking to them – and they’ll be listening. And that’s the kind of attention that you’re really after.

Read more from productivity coach Dave Navarro at Rock Your Day, and get a free chapter of his eBook, “What’s Holding You Back?” by subscribing to his blog.


  1. says

    Definitely a great article with some solid tips in it. I’ve recently been crafting some ideas on getting testimonials and reference clients (which I’ve already been blessed with) and this article reminded me to get on the ball with it.

  2. says

    These are some great tips on how to get quality testimonials for your website. Thank you! Actually… I was planning on adding testimonials to my own site, once I finish the redesign.

  3. says

    i love the idea about sending the client questions when asking for a testimonial. i usually just ask, and have been lucky in getting very thorough replies that generally speak to what they liked/needed the most from me. but, the question suggestion, that’s even better.

  4. says

    Great idea’s and certainly something I’m going to be implementing in the near future. It really makes so much sense.

  5. says


    Great tips – I know that I have to make client’s life easier, but I can’t seem to get that automatically – my reason is that I expect my client to know what an arsenal of ‘weapon’ I have :D

    And that’s plain sux. You”re rite – I shouldn’t put my client to work.

    Thanks for the tips!

  6. says

    These are excellent, actionable tips. I have used some with great results. I love your first tip and your approach and will begin using that right away in my practice. I appreciate you sharing your experience and success tips.

  7. says

    I’ve already been doing Tip#2 and Tip#3. Thanks for posting Tip#1. Post testimonials on your site, on your marketing materials… for clients also on LinkedIn, I have a few recommendations there, too. Here’s an idea: for clients who don’t mind being a reference, why not add a “Connect Me with Your Clients” type form on the site. That way potential customers can have a candid dialogue with clients who can answer questions about your service. Clients sell you. It worked for a wedding company’s website I developed.

  8. says

    Thanks for these great ideas. I tried to get testimonials for my company’s website and didn’t have very much success. I’ll definitely try these ideas.


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