Referrals are one of the most common ways that freelancers get new work.

So why do referrals work so well? Part of it is because there is already a sense of trust between you and the client before the work even begins.

The client was referred to you by someone who’s opinion they trust, which in turn, makes it easier for them to trust you.

If you can take that sense of trust that goes hand in hand with getting a referral and apply that to other scenarios where you’re talking with potential clients, then you will see your number of clients skyrocket and your business grow.

The best way to do this is by building authentic connections. I’m not talking about staying strictly in “business mode” and giving your pitch to everyone you see. I’m talking about a real connection with a potential client that is formed on something other than “business.”

However, if you want to try to build those authentic connections, it will be easiest if you do it when it feels most natural to you.

1. When does meeting new people feel most natural to you and why?

I love to meet people after I’ve given a talk. The talk’s topic gives context to these interactions and helps me manage what’s expected of me. Meeting people this way is easy.

One of my former clients, Shelly Waldman of Walman Photography, prefers to meet people at mixers and community arts events. Tiffany Whipps, a jeweler in Oakland, loves to invite people into her studio and work with her on the jeweler’s bench. Look to times in your life when meeting someone new has felt effortless. Then try to replicate the conditions of those meetings (and the kind of people you were meeting, too) in your business. If in-person works well for you, you might host a local workshop. If email feels natural, ask for an email introduction to someone you’d like to meet.

Pick a technique that works for you and then work it. Your interaction will feel more natural and authentic–and you’ll reap the rewards of that easily.”

Read the entire article at Creative Live.