5 Tips to Make Calling Referrals Successful for Freelance Writers

by Anne Wayman

calling referralsCalling referrals is almost easier than asking for them. These five steps will help you make the best possible use of the referrals as you get them.

Remember, some people are able to build their whole writing career on referrals.

Thank the person who gave you the referral

Undoubtedly you thanked the person who gave you the referral when they did.

It’s a good idea to go the extra step and also send thanks with an email or an ecard. (I like the free cards at Care2.com. They support environmental causes and encourage artists.) You might even consider a snail mail card. Some people will give you additional referrals even if they don’t hire you to do more writing.

Enter contact information into your database of clients

Record the contact information of each referral, who referred them and any other pertinent information. I use Capsule CRM which is free for a good number of contacts, easy to learn and has good customer support. Other people use spreadsheets, either on their desktop or on Google sheets.


However you do it you want a way to track your clients and potential clients.

Schedule a time on your calendar for calling referrals

I find if I actually schedule a time to make these calls it works better; when the call is in my calendar, with the person’s name and their phone number I’m much more likely to actually make the call. I tend to call in the late morning or early afternoon because the earlier hours are my prime writing time. Figure out what works best for you.

Create a script

Telephone scripts make your life easier – you know what to say when the person you were referred to picks up the phone. While calling referrals isn’t really a cold call because you’ll name the person who referred you, it’s close. My script for calling referrals looks something like this:

Hi [name], my name is Anne Wayman; I got your name from [name of the person who referred you]. Do you have a moment to talk now?

Assuming they say yes, I proceed: I recently did some writing for [name of the person who referred you] and she thought you might be able to use a writer too. That’s why I’m calling… so we can explore how I might be of service to you. Does that make sense to you. I then wait for their comment and the call proceeds with a discussion.

If they say no, I say, great. Are mornings or afternoons better for you for a 10 minute call? I wait for a response. If they want to know more about why I’m calling, I use the intro script above. If they say mornings, I ask if tomorrow or the next business day would be good… we go from there.

The script is really just to help you get started. You may want to make a short list of your credits. If they ask for email, I say I’ll email, and then ask if I can call them in two days, or next week. Sometimes I’ll just tell them about when I’m going to call back. I’m always reaching easily for the appointment.

Make the call and record the response you get

I make notes as we’re talking in the CRM or spreadsheet. My notes are cryptic and I often take a few moments once the call is finished to be sure I know what was said and what I need to do next and that I. I make sure any appointment I set shows up on my calendar.

You’ll probably want to read: Why and How Freelance Writers Should Ask for Referrals

How does this match your experience with calling referrals?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman, freelance writer



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Soumya Roy February 12, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Very good and helpful tips. This is not only relevant with the content writing professionals or businesses, but this is similarly effective to almost all type of businesses. I am a professional digital marketer and trainer, we used to get lots of business leads, students joining through referrals because of our quality job and training. Asking for referrals and recommendation is a part of our marketing strategy and that pays off a lot. We will stick to this and also recommend people to do this consistently.
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Anne Wayman February 21, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Soumya, glad to hear asking for referrals works ’round the world.

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Bob February 10, 2017 at 3:00 am

great article mate, I just started with freelance writing. But I will consider taking an action regarding these tips soon.
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Anne Wayman February 10, 2017 at 8:09 am

Thanks, Bob.

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