When you get done with a project for a client, what do you do? You manage the final payment, deliver the goods and make sure all the checkboxes have ticks in them, right?
I also ask my clients what they thought of the experience of working with me. It does three things that are incredibly important, but most people only ever talk about the first one.
The first and more obvious reason is that asking for the client’s feedback generates a nice testimonial. If you have a website and services to sell, you need to get testimonials on that site. They sell you without you having to do any work. This is simple, and obvious, and if you aren’t doing it now, you most likely have it on your todo list.
The second reason is less obvious but still apparent to many people: a client’s feedback can help you become better at what you do. You might not like hearing negative feedback, but taken with the right attitude, that criticism can refine you and make you stronger. You aren’t perfect at what you do. But that’s ok, because you aren’t chasing after perfection; you’re chasing after progression.
The last reason is so imperceptible that most people don’t think of it: asking them to give feedback forces the client to dwell on how awesome (or awful) you are at what you do. It’s like the old memorization technique of hand-writing out your class notes all over again. The act of recording the thoughts embeds them deeper. Asking a client to type out a testimonial for you actually equips them to better communicate to others why they should hire you too.
So, referrals matter. For all the reasons you were thinking. And for a few more, too.