One of my clients is an executive coach, Barbara A. F. Greene, MCC. She always talks about connecting rather than networking. Networking often turns into an exercise of making contacts for the benefit of the person making the contact, but connecting brings people together in win-win situations.
Thinking about this, I considered how my clients find me – how we connect. People find me in one of three ways, and I’ll talk about each in a separate post.
Most of my clients come from referrals. Here are a few examples:
* I’m editing a book for a minister referred to me by my friend, Chaplain Jerry Sherbourne.
* A writer wanting a critique of her manuscript was referred to me by both my friend Jan (writing consultant and professor) and my client David Bowles.
* I recently edited a master’s thesis and later prepared a resume for someone referred by Barbara A. F. Greene, who had originally been referred to me by Jan.
* I’ve edited several dissertations for students in one department of a local university. The first student was referred to me by Jan. Later, the department head who liked what I did for the first student referred additional students to me.
* Soon I will start editing a novel for a man who was referred by someone in the same office building, a friend and business associate from my days in the interior landscaping business.
* My family doctor referred his adult daughter to me when she needed a resume.
* My brother Frank Nicholson is a Realtor®. Not only has he hired me to create and maintain a Web site (AZ Commercial Property), but he also has referred his clients to me for such projects as business plans.
* Several years ago, I edited The Joy of Six by Charlene Potterbaum. Charlene had been referred by a friend in network marketing.
Actually, my editing career came about from a series of connections. I’ve already talked about how much help my friend Grace Anne Schaefer was when I first started writing. Not only did she give me pointers on the manuscript of Stroke of Luck, but she also introduced me to the Romance Writers of America and the local chapter San Antonio Romance Writers (SARA).
Fellow SARA member Cindi Myers read about a publisher looking for novels with disabled central characters. I submitted to Awe-Struck E-Books, and the novel was accepted as part of the Ennoble line. (Currently the e-book of Stroke of Luck is published by GASLight Publishing owned by my friend Grace Anne and her husband Ken.)
After Awe-Struck saw how meticulous I was (editor Kathryn Struck told me I was the pickiest person she knew!), I edited a dozen books for the company. That experience has been invaluable in my current freelance business.
I can’t tell you how many people Jan and Barbara A. F. Greene have referred to me and how grateful I am to them and everyone who has recommended my services.
But all this has been about what others have done for me, and the truth is others have done far more for me than I could ever do for them. However, I try to reciprocate whenever and however I can. Of course, I refer potential clients (or book buyers or whatever) and promote their businesses and books (as in this post) every chance I get.
And I reciprocate in other ways – answering computer questions, giving encouragement and support, anything I can do.
But the most important thing I can do when someone makes a referral is to provide the best service and deliver the best product I can for the client and make the referrer a hero for recommending me! That is my goal.