Here’s a little story for you. Once upon a time, an editor sat at her computer and looked over her client list. Over the years, she had carefully kept track of who referred each of her clients, or how else each had followed the crumbs and arrived on her virtual doorstep.
She was amazed to find this: after nine years in business, almost 75% of her clients had been referred to her by some other happy camper.
One client had referred 14 other clients to her. Others, when they were satisfied with the work done for them, had the editor do work for each of their children. Still others sent their office colleagues or friends, some of whom in turn sent their colleagues or friends.
Yeah—by now, you have guessed I’m that editor.
And I am pleased to say these connections are the number one way I have been able to build my business. This is not just because I live in a small town where everyone knows my name. Many of these referrals have come from all over the country, and lately from the UK, where one of my clients has moved.
How did I get this to happen?
I have done it through joining professional organizations; volunteering my time in positions where I can work closely with others and get to know each other; making sure each of my clients leaves with a good feeling about having worked with me; and treating everyone as an individual with respect and dignity. I also welcome working with my “competition,” whom I try to view more as collaborators; we have shared projects where one of us may be more skilled at certain tasks, or where one of us may not be available to do something on short notice. And I selectively use LinkedIn to connect with people in fields related to mine, like marketing, publishing and career counseling.
The longer I work at making these connections, the more my little world shrinks. A few weeks ago, a potential client called, from a library three towns away where he was working on his résumé. He said he had just seen someone walking through, wearing one of my Fran’s Fine Editing tee shirts. Now, I have only given away a handful of those of those since I had them made five years ago. Small world, huh?
Please share some tips about how you grow your own client list.
© 2017 Fran Fahey