At a networking event today I got talking to sole trader who said that he was struggling to get referrals. Not that people thought he wasn’t any good but he wondered why nobody was sending him testimonials or recommending him. My question to him was did he ask them to refer him then did he think to refer other suppliers / contractors when they did work for him. Surprisingly he didn’t and when asked why he said he never thought to although he would have been happy to in most circumstances.
I must admit it’s only a few years ago that I started to put a recommendation or negative remark, if warranted, on tripadvisor. Now if I go on holiday I now look to see what’s been said about hotels or restaurants and also what sights are worth visiting beforehand. I will still look to see what else is at my destination but it’s good to have a rough idea of what to do when I get there.
In the same way I think it’s good to let companies know when you have been given good or bad service, and I happily go onto websites (info usually provided on the reverse side of the till receipt) and spend five minutes commenting on the quality of service.
Sole traders and small businesses rely on referrals so if the customer says you did an excellent job it’s worth asking them if they will put that in writing so you can add it to your testimonials, alternatively leave a couple of business cards for them to give to friends / colleagues if they ask who did the work.
Most people are happy to refer and recommend, we just need a reminder to do it. Once my clients have been with me a year I plan to ask them if they are a) happy with my work and b) will they refer me / provide a testimonial. I’m hoping the answer is yes in which case I’ll be adding a testimonial tab to my website. So watch this space.