I loved this post from Brennan at Double Your Freelancing. So many freelancers get frustrated that they never get referrals.

You read articles and listen to podcasts that tell you that word of mouth marketing is the best way to find new clients.

So you work your tail off for your clients and ask them to send more business your way. You might even do some free work for people in hopes they’ll hire you later or even refer you to their friends.

Brennan pulls back the curtains on what it really takes to get the kind of word-of-mouth traction you’re looking for.

His top tip: “It’s a numbers game.”

Here’s what he says about it:

“To get referrals, two conditions need to be met:

  1. Somebody needs to know you’re capable of delivering business value.
  2. Somebody needs to remember to recommend you when the moment’s right.

Usually, that first step — demonstrating that you have something to offer — happens as a result of working with somebody. You do good work, and you’ve provided value to your client. They now know this.

But this is limiting. It takes time (selling, executing, delivering) to end up with a “past client,” and your sphere of influence (that is, your network) can only grow as fast as you can deliver new projects.

…See where I’m going with this?

Your number of strong referral sources is limited to how many past clients you have. And if you want more referrals, you need more referral sources. But your time is a finite value, so those referral sources are slow to grow.”

You can read Brennan’s entire post at Double Your Freelancing.