Last month, Rod Burkert wrote about the four worst ways to generate new clients. Well, then there has to be the four best ways—right?! Read on! Here, Rod Burkert describes what you must do more of to get new clients.

4 Best Ways to Get New Clients That You Must Do More Of

Last month, I wrote about the four worst ways to generate new clients. Well, then there has to be the four best ways—right?! Read on!

For most businesses, getting referrals is usually a top marketing priority. Who is going to discourage referrals, right?! And while we know referrals are important, do we understand how they actually work (or not)? That is: what is the psychology behind someone’s willingness to make a referral?

I found the answer in the same Hinge Marketing webinar I noted last month—“Referral Marketing for Financial and Accounting Firms”. Hinge surveyed 1,691 referral sources in professional service firms who refer work to professional services firms. The webinar revealed how much, relatively speaking, certain actions sway referral sources to make referrals.

The webinar listed the four best ways to get new clients, i.e., the actions that are, in fact, viewed as strong referral drivers by the people who actually make referrals.

And here’s how to interpret the results: the number next to each action is the percentage of 1,691 people surveyed by Hinge who said they might be influenced to make a referral based on that deed.

  1. Reciprocity—12.4%

This is simple. People make referrals to firms that send referrals their way. The “average” referral maker in Hinge’s survey received seven referrals over a measured six-month period. And the top 20% of referral makers received more than 21 referrals. But the bottom 20% of referral makers only received one referral.

My take: Surprise! The more referrals you make, the more you are likely to get. This is the heart of Networking 3.0 … see above.

  1. Social Relationship—17.7%

Social relationships develop in a variety of situations. They can be characterized by this thought: I know the service provider socially and consider them a friend. However, I have not worked with them professionally and don’t know what type of reputation they have in the marketplace.

My take: People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Having a social relationship with someone who could make a referral is part of that equation. But a social relationship, without a complimentary professional one is less likely to generate referrals.

  1. Professional Relationship—23.1%

Professional relationships arise primarily in two situations: 1) being a prior client of the service provider and 2) working with another service provider on a common client project.

My take: I don’t think it’s a shock that professional relationships create scenarios that are highly likely to generate referrals. Double down when a social and professional relationship intersect.

  1. Visible Expertise—37.3%

A visible expert is a professional who has attained high visibility in their marketplace as a result of their reputation for being an expert in their practice area. According to Hinge, the top factors that contribute to a professional’s visible expertise are that the referral source: 1) heard them speak, 2) read blog posts or articles they’ve written, 3) interacted with them on social media, and 4) read the book they authored.

My take: So it turns out that demonstrating visible expertise is the single most important factor someone is influenced by when making a referral. Are you doing any of the things to create that expertise for the audience of prospects who are the most likely buyers of the services you offer?

What’s the Lesson to be Learned?

Referrals are essential to the growth of your practice. But getting more referrals requires more than just doing good work … it also involves expanding how you generate referrals. And now you know the worst ways (last month) and best ways (this month) to go about that.

Everyone has a different idea of what a successful practice is. The practice you want is personal because it is based on what “successful” means to you. Rod helps practitioners focuses on the strategies, tactics, tools, and tech to build/grow/scale their versions of successful practices. If you want some help with that, e-mail Rod at

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