Phil Hand wrote:
My experience has been the same as yours. New direct clients have come exclusively through recommendations. In my case, I've been able to get work through colleague recommendations as well ...
I haven't really tried doing commercial marketing, and I'm not about to..... There are so many of us, we can't offer the same guarantees or range of services as an agency, and don't have the resources to put into really big impressive marketing. Without a recommendation/introduction, I'm sure most procurement managers would feel that don't have anything to go on.
Sometimes I get approaches through proz, which I suppose is a sort of "recommendation" but they are 99% from agencies offering rates even lower than my own.
As an anecdote, I find that the less available I appear to be, the more work I am offered.