Referrals play a crucial role in the success of a web design business as they eliminate the need for expensive marketing strategies. Additionally, receiving recommendations from existing clients brings a sense of satisfaction and gratitude. However, not all referrals guarantee a perfect fit for your business, which can create a dilemma. Should you accept a new client out of obligation? What is the proper etiquette in this situation? How will it affect your relationship with your existing client? These are important questions that need to be addressed.
It is essential to appreciate every referral and express gratitude when a client takes the time to recommend your services. However, web design referrals differ from referrals in other industries. For instance, recommending a restaurant or real estate agent is straightforward as they provide immediate services and are not involved in long-term relationships. Web design, on the other hand, is highly specialized and often requires a long-term commitment. Therefore, accepting a referral is not simply about making a sale and moving on.
When considering a referral, it is important to assess whether the project aligns with your specialties and preferences. While some referrals may be an easy fit based on coding requirements, others may involve maintaining an existing website or completing an unfinished project. If these tasks clash with your core policies or comfort zone, it can complicate your decision, especially when the referral comes from an existing client.
The nature of the potential relationship with the referred client should also be carefully considered before accepting a project. It is easy to overlook red flags and give someone the benefit of the doubt, but this can lead to regret later on. Therefore, it is crucial to scrutinize referrals just as thoroughly as any other prospective client.
While referrals should undergo equal scrutiny, there is a case for giving them preferential treatment since they come from existing clients. However, this does not mean you are obligated to work with them. It is important to listen to what they have to say and determine if it is a good fit for your business. If it is not, it is polite to communicate this and avoid wasting anyone’s time. Regardless of the outcome, expressing gratitude to your existing client for the referral is essential.
Turning down a referral can potentially impact your relationship with the referring client. Honesty is the best approach in such situations, and if asked, it is okay to share the outcome of the referral. Ultimately, appreciating referrals while understanding the reality that not all referrals will be a perfect fit for your business is crucial. The vetting process should be consistent for all prospective clients to ensure the right opportunities are pursued. Even if a referral does not work out, the fact that one of your clients was satisfied enough to recommend you is a positive development.