Only work with referrals? Here's how to fix that.

I see it a lot these days. Those like you who "only work with referrals." 

Which means?

You're great at what you do. Congrats!

But do you know what that also means? 

It's just a matter of time before your referrals run out. And, as you probably already know, it's not a good place to be in.

So how do you fix that?

Let's start with the problem.

From a professional Copywriter who's been doing this going on 10 year now -- working with many big and small-name brands -- 9 out of 10 times I've found that if you mainly work off of referrals it's likely because your website is mainly...

Old and outdated (and I'm trying to be nice here). ;)

And on top of that? 

You're trying to fix it, with no real clue as to how or what needs to be fixed. 

How do I know?

Quick story. 

I was on the phone with a prospective client who contacted me for help. Someone who's been in the direct mail world for over 30 years -- who started his own agency a long LONG time ago. And from his website? You can clearly see just how old and outdated it was (not a good first impression for someone that doesn't know you).

Because, remember...

You're website isn't for those that already know it. It's for those who don't already know you. 

Which means, just like anything, you need a good first impression. 

This prospect? 

He was what I call, "An old school ad guy." Meaning, although he grew up in the advertising and marketing world of yesteryear, he didn't grow up in the world of the Internet we live in today. Nor did he (or his ego) seem to care much about it.

And after a few minutes of conversation and hearing how he mainly worked off of referrals and was going to hire a friend to design it (who's  website was just as horrible) create the website for him as "more of a brochure..."

Let's just say that the moral of the story is:

"If you don't know what you're doing, please stop trying to pretend that you do."

Which means for you?

If you're not a Web Designer, Copywriter or Internet Marketer, please stop trying to be one. Because if you only work off of referrals (something I do, but at the same time have 8 out of 10 people contact me to want to do business, through my website)...

Chances are you're doing it wrong. And on top of that, how you're going about it is probably wrong too.

How do you fix this?

Now on my 3rd iteration of my website, here's some ways to fix the "Oh I just work off of referrals" syndrome before they all run out:

1. Get a better-looking and performing website. 

Me?

I went from Wordpress to Squarespace mainly because I needed to hire a Web Designer, UX Designer, and any number of other people to help get my Wordpress site updated to where it needed to be. Versus just hiring a smaller design firm (mind you, since I'm a professional Copywriter + Strategest, I was able to both write the copy and direct the Creative).

Which is why it's turned out the way it did. ;)

2. Hire a Brand Strategist.

When I first started copywriting in 2008, I don't even think that "Brand Strategist" was even a word -- let alone a profession.

But now, a Brand Strategist is someone who I've personally found can help to build a solid set of brand guidelines you need to give to a qualified design team to work off of. Someone who works with you to determine who and what your brand is, with any number of key assets (logo, business cards + stationary, mood boards, etc) to help drive it. All without having a designer try and guess (which from personal experience can get really expensive) what your design and brand should or shouldn't look like as they're trying to build your website.

3. Make sure it's ALL cohesive.

You know the story. "People do business with those they know, like, and trust." 

But when it comes to building your business (or brand) these days, trust isn't built up over night. It's built up over time with cohesive messaging and design across your business cards, stationary, online marketing, podcast, website and everything else with your name on it.

The problem I see (and I've unfortunately have been seeing this a lot)?

People hand me, what looks like, a really nice business card. Then, I go to visit their website to learn more about them and their design is nothing like the business card they gave me. And I just throw it into garbage.

Because I truly believe:

How you do anything, is how you do everything. 

And if something as small as your business card doesn't look anything like your website, that tells me that your attention to detail isn't there.

Which means? 

The harder the time you're going to have convincing me (or anyone else for that matter) that you're the right person for the job. 

4. Attend live events. 

Since this website you're on has only been up for a few months, I'm still looking at the analytics to see who (besides me) is visiting it. And what pages they're clicking on, consistently, before filling out the contact form. Or leaving.

So, to add to the mix of things to do to bring in new business, I'm back attending live events from when I first started. And it's been paying off REALLY well so far. 

And when I say, "live events?"

I mean, whenever I'm not busy I try my best to go to the Eventbrite App every week (or see what events pop up on my Facebook feed that friends are attending) to see which events have businesses that would need a professional Copywriter + Strategist like myself. Places that have very few of me that attend, but at the same time, is something everyone seems to need.

5. Position yourself as an expert in your field.

You probably heard this before but being seen as a professional versus being seen as an expert in your field is really critical to do. In fact, it's probably the biggest reason why people publish books and try everything they can to "build their following."

Why is that?

You believe they know what they're talking about versus someone who doesn't have a book published. Or a smaller following -- as compared to most.

These days, it's no different than putting on your own workshop, having guests on your podcast (or even developing one) and/or "building your following" on Social Media to the point that tens of thousands of people are following you. 

Why? 

Because it all builds your credibility. And when you can build your credibility, you can easily build trust. 

And when you can easily build trust?

You can close more sales from those that don't know you. Versus, always having to rely on referrals, from people who do. 

About the author.

Since 2008, Jared Kessler has worked with some of the most highly-recognized firms and brands, to grow their sales with words and copy. Including Hewlett Packard, Hyatt, T-Mobile, Ben Bridge, Microsoft and more than a dozen others. 

He started Jared Kessler Creative to provide a better, more strategic approach for growing these same kinds of businesses and brands. But in a different, more personalized way. 

Curious how? 

Please visit jaredkesslercreative.com for more information. And see what a 10-year proven track record will do for you OVER your competition.

 

Jared Kessler