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John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing had an interesting post about referrals and being wiser about who you ask to be a referral source. He makes a very valid point — some clients are better referrals than others. I could not agree more.
But I think it goes beyond that. Before you can know which clients are best suited to help you grow your business, you’d better know what you are best suited to deliver. As we’ve talked about before, branding is for the bold. When you have the courage to define your organization’s brand, by default you are also saying that you’re not going to try to be everything to everyone. Branding is about narrowing your focus and your reach. You will not cast your net as wide. But you will drill down a lot deeper.
So let’s say that you are a healthcare copywriter who’s passion is for making complicated medical information accessible to the lay person. Your best referral sources are going to be clients that have hired you to do that sort of work. Sure, you’ve taken generalist copywriting jobs. And those clients probably love you too. If they happen to refer you — great. But concentrate your energy in terms of actively soliciting referrals within your area of expertise. Honor your brand. Actively grow your business within your brand. Drill deeper. And ask your best clients to help!