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The Best Books on Referral Marketing for Freelancers

By Robert Williams | Last Updated: September 9, 2020

Referral marketing is the number one predictor of freelance and business success. When you work with clients, your ability to get referrals is the single most important activity. Yet shockingly few focus on it. In fact, if you’re just a little better at referral marketing – you’ll open up the floodgates of referrals to your business.

Below are the best books on how to do this. They’re focused on how to get referrals organically. This is not by mistake. Too many “referral marketing books” focus on the tactics (like setting up a referral program) which just creates more work for you without generating results.

Instead I’ve boiled down the best handful of books on referral marketing, that will make you 10x more referable.

Since I wrote this list I figured I’d also take a moment to mention my book Emails That Win You Clients. If you’re looking for more clients, it will teach you how to find more clients in less time using email. It’s a super short book by design and only takes about 30-minutes to read but the lessons can help you 10x your revenue.  

Here are my all-time favorite books on referral marketing.

My Favorite Books on Referral Marketing:

Best Books on Referrals - Pigeonhole Yourself

Pigeonhole Yoursef

To get referrals you need to be referrable. This is a great book by Jonathan Stark on how to do that by transforming your marketing from soggy to solid (with real-world examples from other firms).

Listen to our podcast interview

Best Business Books on Communication - How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People

If you can only read one book, this is the one that will have the greatest effect because it teaches you about how people work and make decisions. If you apply each piece of advice in this book on a daily basis, the referrals will come piling in.

Listen to my podcast review

Best Books on Referrals - the Positioning Manual

The Positioning Manual

This is a great book on how to make yourself more memorable to increase your referral base.

Listen to our podcast interview

Best Business Books on Communication - Rework


So many gems in this book about clear thinking and communication. More important, this book taught me how clear communication is directly tied to profitability and referrals.

Read my review of the book here.

Best Business Books on Communication - The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style

So much of your business depends on your ability to write, it’s scary. This is the best book on writing I’ve ever read and it’s a must-read for anyone who want to be able to communicate with customers and clients confidently.

Design is a Job

This one is written specifically for design clients. It’s the best blueprint I’ve ever found for structuring a design business. It gives you the right mindset to be successful in client work, right from the start.

Confessions of an Advertising Man

David Ogilvy teaches you how to talk and win clients over, produce great work that sells, and get referrals. Absolutely excellent.

Read my review of the book here.

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service

If you’re feeling like you’re a little worn out talking to clients, this is the perfect remedy. It’s a list of rules that will make sure communication outstanding and win you more customers.

Listen to my interview with the author here.

The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully

This is a really fun read that pushes your thinking on the customer / business relationship. I think if you don’t read this one, you’re missing out on a ton of revenue.

In my opinion these are all the must-read books, not just for referral marketing, but for all business owners who work with any type of clients. It goes under the radar so often, but improving your communication skills help you become a master of referral marketing and land more customers and clients than any other skill.

That’s also exactly what I cover in my new course, Endless Clients. It will help you find 10+ high-value clients and position yourself as the right investment for them using simple communication and marketing.

It’s currently closed (we only open twice a year) but sign up below and I’ll send you an invite the next time the course is available.

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