How To Ask For A Recommendation From Your Past Client | LoudProgrammer

How To Ask For A Recommendation From Your Past Client

When you need a recommendation from your past client, it important that you ask in the right way and at the right time.

You need to be sure that the person who is recommending you for employment is willing and able to give you a good reference. That’s really important because your references can be what makes the difference in getting – or not getting – a job offer.

A recommendation from your past clients can help to reassure her of your competence.

When seeking a recommendation, approach clients who will say something positive about your work ethic.

1. Timing

When a client says he is pleased with your work, use that opportunity to ask for a recommendation.

Do this promptly after completing the work and after the client has expressed satisfaction. If you wait too long, such as months or years later, a client may not remember you and your work performance.

You might also move from the locality where you met your client and making it back in search for a recommendation might be a challenge.

It is easier to craft a great recommendation when everyone is happy and in a good mood. Besides, this is the time you got their attention, ask for the recommendation.

Later on your client might get absorbed into their current projects and writing you a recommendation might appear like a dsitraction.

2. Approach

Before requesting recommendations, review your past projects to determine whom to contact.

For example, if you are establishing your web developer career, focus on obtaining recommendations from clients you previously built websites for.

A great recommendation from a plumber might look cool but will not speak as much as that from a web design agency where you previously worked, if you are into web development.

If you haven’t spoken to a client in a long time, call him to re-connect with him.

If necessary, remind him of the work you did for him and request a recommendation.

Say why you need the recommendation and why you chose him. You might say that:

  • You would like to display the recommendation on your website.
  • His project allowed you to utilize and broaden your skills, and working with him was a pleasant experience for you.

If you stayed in touch with the client, you may send him an email to request the recommendation.

3. Provide an Outline

Simplify the recommendation process by doing some of the work for your clients.

Create an outline or draft of the points you want the recommendation to address.

This saves your client from having to think of what to say. Avoid telling him specifically what to say about you. Instead, focus on bullet points that serve as a guide or starting point for what the letter should include.

People don’t want to be tasked to think.

If you make the mistake of having your reference to think hard about what particularly to write, how to write it and whether it’s what you expect, you might lose on the opportunity to get a reference.

Probably he already has a busy day and might not consider your asking for favors as a great idea then, especially if you make it hard for him.

For example, you might ask:

  • How she would describe your communication skills.
  • What part of your service she was most satisfied with and
  • How she felt about a change you suggested that resulted in the project being a success. Lastly, you may ask
  • Whether he would recommend you to others.

Asking questions will give him  a guideline on what to think and probably write about.

This will ensure that the recommendation is actually useful and relevant to the job opportunity you are pursuing.

If your client is more friendly then you might consider sending them a written draft recommendation to consider. If they probably already liked you so much, they will not mind copying the exact wording that you desire and requested for.

They’d be happy you saved their time too.

4. Show Your Gratitude

To show your appreciation, thank the client for the recommendation and offer to return the favor if he ever needs it.

Do what you can to impress him so he keeps remembering you as a positive light.

You could send a handwritten thank you note or offer incentives, such as a credit or discount for each successful client you gain through him. Or you might send him a small, thoughtful gift.

Phone or email the client periodically just to see how his business is doing.

Writing you a recommendation does not have to mean the end of your communications for ever.

Keep the connection warm.

Your past client might as well directly recommend you for a job at a company he knows is hiring thereby even making your job search easier.

Seek to use every chance to build more trust with you client.

What challenges do you encounter while seeking for recommendations from your previous clients?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Geoffrey is a lead software developer and blogger. He writes about technology trends, small business tips and personal productivity hacks.

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