One of the worries of any new business is how to get clients. It is probably also the most important concern. As wonderful as it would be to be told to not worry about getting clients, it is definitely something that should not happen. Focusing on getting clients is a huge component of every strategy for a startup company, and should, therefore, be a priority task. However, a question arises, which may not have any immediate answer: “How to get clients?”. This question can be answered in different ways depending on the industry in which a startup may belong. Nonetheless, a universal way of getting clients is to get referrals, which will be the focus of this article. Getting referrals might seem harder of a task than it actually is, and we will evaluate the most efficient ways of implementing this system to get clients for our business.
The best way to ensure that you will get referrals is to do a good job. Good work goes a long way, because it is the most relevant factor that can differentiate a company from others. Good quality of work is claimed by every business out in the market, however, not all of them live up to these claims. Those that do will surely get referred to others by previous clients. However, good work can be offered by many companies at the same time, so, how can one decide which company is better for one’s interests? Being nice to you clients might seem like a good answer, but there is an even better way of leaving a greater impact on clients. Being pleasant. Being nice can be deceiving and can lead to companies taking the wrong choices in order to “be nice.” Being pleasant is a more straightforward strategy, as it implies making the client comfortable with the company, but it also calls for honesty and clarity, without being rude or unpleasant. As Mike Monteiro mentioned in his book “Design is a job”: “There’s a difference between being enjoyable to work with and being ‘nice.’ Being nice means worrying about keeping up the appearance of harmony at the expense of being straightforward and fully engaged. Sometimes you need to tell a client they’re making the wrong call. Part of client services is being able to do that without coming off bad. But being afraid to do it because you’re too invested in being “nice” is worse than coming off bad.
Referrals also extend outside of direct contact with clients. It also involves being clear and enthusiastic about the business one is a part of. Being able to communicate effectively what you do in an interesting manner is something that can be accomplished if you are genuinely enthusiastic about your work. This relates to networking, a very crucial factor in today’s market. Networking is market research. Take the task of networking with genuine confidence and interest, and it should be easy to then be visible, and to maintain relationships with prospective clients, or people who can get you referrals. Getting referrals is a proven effective way of getting clients in any business, and it is up to any startup to decide how to take on this task, in order to expand and become the company one desires.
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Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP
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