Why you don’t ask for referrals

Sent by Jonathan Stark on September 13th, 2017

The vast majority of independent software developers I speak with virtually never ask their clients for referrals.

This is a shame because referrals are probably the easiest, quickest, and most reliable way to land more (and better!) clients.

If referrals are so powerful, why do so many people fail to ask for them?

When I put this question to devs, they say things like:

While I believe that answers like these are true, I suspect that there’s a deeper reason:

They don’t understand the value of their work.

I know that devs (and designers, and copywriters, and photographers, and so on) believe that their work is worth money (and a lot of it, relative to other types of less creative work).

But they almost never understand WHY their work is valuable to their clients.

I believe that not knowing this critical bit of information leads to a whole host of common maladies:

My hypothesis

Here’s my hypothesis:

Not understanding WHY clients value your work gives rise to a creeping suspicion that clients DON’T value your work.

Naturally, you’re not going to want to ask for referrals if in the back of your mind you fear that your clients regret hiring you (i.e. they feel that they got no value)

What to do?

If you don’t regularly ask your clients for referrals, spend some time considering why you don’t do something that would so obviously increase your profits.

I betcha you’ll discover that it’s because you fear that clients were secretly disappointed by your work.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how to get over this (probably irrational) fear.

Stay tuned!

Yours,

—J

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