Ask Me Anything: Responding to Referrals

Mel asks,
What’s the etiquette on responses when a friend recommends you to one of their clients and CC’s you on the e-mail? Do I say hi, say anything? They sent along my web site url, so they know where to find my work, not sure how I can reach out and make friends.

Following up is usually a good idea, unless your friend slips you the word that this prospective client prefers to initiate contact. It can be something as simple as sending an email saying that if the client has a particular project in mind, you can point to your most relevant clips.

The reasoning is not to get your best clips in front of the client, of course. It’s because the more contact you can have with a client, the better chance you have of actually landing the project. That’s because most clients don’t immediately hand over a project. It takes at least three contacts (visiting your website, emails, coming back to the website again) to make a sale — that’s where most people start getting comfortable with the idea of handing over money because you’ve become a known entity.

Got a question about the business of writing? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll answer it next weekend!


  1. Beth   •  

    I’m a freelance writer in my first official year of business. A potential client contacted me about writing a sales page. No problem. I can do that. But, he also wanted help with the design of the page, including setting up banners and buy buttons and the like. Here’s the problem: I’m a writer, but definitely not a designer. What’s the best way to handle this type of request? The sales pages I’ve written in the past have been for larger companies who have people who design their web pages. The new client is a one-man show. Is it common for people looking for sales page work to want it all done by the same person? Is it best to offer to manage the project, but let the client know I’ll be subbing out the design? What’s the best way to find a designer who might want to partner on projects like this? Any suggestions?

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