Do You Get Referrals?

Referrals are the best kind of business lead.   Right?  The business is yours to lose.

Someone is coming to you to do work for them without you spending time or money to get their business.  They trust you and want to work with you based on a good word from a friend or business associate.

Many times such referrals seem to fall out of the sky.  Until you ask, you’ve no idea where they came from or why. You may call it luck or an act of God.

But is there anything you can do to increase the number of referrals you get?  You may be thinking, “well no, some of my clients may have liked what I did for them and made a comment to a colleague about how satisfied they were with my work.  That’s how referrals happen, isn’t it?”

Yes and no.

Referrals usually come because of good work you’ve doe for someone.  But it may not occur to them to pass your name along to some of their associates as a source of, say,  good copywriting.  It’s not that they wouldn’t but they just don’t thnk of it.  That’s where you can help them.

They are happy with your work and would be glad to help you IF YOU ASK.  The old “ask and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened.” truth.

I had an experience of that recently.  I was thinking about ways to increase my business. So I e-mailed a client that I had done a few projects for and asked her if she knew of anyone in her organization that could use my help.  She said she would be glad to do that for me.

Well a few weeks later I got a call from someone in her organization who said that I had been referred to her by the woman I’d asked for help. She wanted to know whether I would be interested in writing a certain type of direct mail package.  I said yes and  got the job and it turned out well.

So help your clients to help you.  Ask Them!

Until next time.


Tom M

Should you dump a client?

You all know the type.  The client that needs massive amounts of handholding, can not decide on what he/she wants, questions your rates, is slow to pay you and gives you only small jobs.  You have probably figured out that the transaction costs of a project are almost independent of the size of the project.  Therefore, you may actually be losing money on these small, stress inducing clients.

What’s your first step to fix this problem.  This is where the 80/20 rule kicks in.  Review your accounts and determine which clients provide 80% of your income.  You’ll probably find that this income comes from about 20% of your clients.The 20% that you like working with and value you as a resource. Now what do you do about the other 80%.

Your first instinct is to see what you can do  to increase the income you get from these clients.  But before you rush into that and spend a lot of time on the 80% determine which set of clients take up 80% of your time.  You’ll probably find that 20% of your clients who are part of the least profitable 80% group take most of your time and cause most of your stress.  So that 80%ters provide little income and most stress. Can you see where this is going?

Yes, the answer is to dump the 80% clients.  You can do this in at least two ways.

You can tell the 80% group that you have changed your business process and you can no longer serve them.  And that is true.  You will only deal with clients that are profitable from now on. They will be upset.  But they’ll get over it.

The other thing you can do is to once again explain that you are changing your business and can handle only a small set of your existing clients.  However, you refer them to other writers that can meet their needs.  This is a sort of win/win/win situation.

A win for you because you no longer have to deal with these clients  A win for them in that you have directed them to other writers that can better serve them and a possible win for the writers you refer these clients to.  I say possible because these writers may eventually feel the same way about them.

As Kenny Rogers sang in the Gambler,”Ya got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to run.”  Your client list is like your poker hand. So listen to Kenny.  You’ll be glad you did and richer too.

Multi-tasking or Multi-$^&%#uping

Multi-tasking has been quite the rage for over a decade.  Companies’ Ads  for employees stressed multi-tasking abilities.. We were given the picture of the young gogetters or gogettesses working on their laptops with a phone in each ear while talking to a coworker.

This may have been the result of downsizing, rightsizing or whatever the PC term was that year. Now while ***sizing was applied to the workforce by accountants who saw only the immediate effect on the bottom line and had been promoted when the real effects on the bottom appeared a year or so later, nobody thought to ***size the work itself. Now the employee who was lucky or unlucky enough to be kept on was expected to do the work of his two ***sized colleagues.

Multi-taskig was the obvious management solution.  When the young turks burned out, they were simply replaced with other eager multi-tasking  candidates.  And so it went until it dawned on someone that the emperor was wearing no clothes. The human brain is only capable of handling one task well at a time. Try to simultaneously to think about what your life partner is saying while watching a game tied up in the ninth with the bases loaded and two out. You can’t do either task well, can you?

So what those company ads were asking for was a candidate who could perform the most tasks poorly.

Let’s take this idea to your marketing campaign for the products or services your company offers other businesses.  Your company may have many products or services.  So how do you market them?  Do you pack them all into a page on your website or a print ad page? Now you’re forcing your potential customers to do a form of multitasking,  They will get confused and move on.

Remember, potential customers go to your web site or read your print ad to help them solve a specific problem –  not all the problems your products or services address. So devote your web site or print ad to one product or service and using your key words and content filter out those who have the problem your solution addresses.

But you say I’ll need many websites, maybe one for each product or related groups of products.  You’re right, you will.  But websites are relatively inexpensive and you have a much better chance of converting potential customers from potential to actual when you solve their specific problem.