Ask for Referrals in Advance

Most designers I know think of referrals as a kind of chit. When business begins to a slack off, they go back to former clients and ask them for a positive review or nudge them to let their friends and associates know they’re available for hire. Of course, they have to hope that, some time having passed, the clients are still feeling the love for them and for the results of their project.

People being people, that rush of excitement clients feel when they see how your vision has transformed their home tends to fade over time as they become accustomed to their new surroundings. Rather than wait, my suggestion is to ask clients for a referral while they are still enthusiastic about you and your work. That way they are more likely to say “yes” and to give you a glowing recommendation.

To increase your chances of success, make it as easy for them as possible to provide a referral. It could be a simple as an email, text or comment posted to your website. Or you could provide them a brief satisfaction survey, with space for a referral at the end. Referrals are still the number one way most designers get new business, so it pays to take the time to ask and to follow up to make sure you get that referral.

And speaking of waning excitement, are you feeling like the fun has gone out of your design business? If so, join me for my presentation, “Reigniting the Fire within You: Purpose and Passion in Design,” Wednesday, May 18, from 2 to 5 p.m., at Decorating Den Interiors in San Antonio, TX. I’ll show you how you can get your mojo back and enjoy being a designer again.



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