Referrals are an invaluable, cost-effective (aka free) way to generate new business, especially in challenging economic times when standard advertising just isn’t the right platform. But asking for referrals is awkward as not everyone has the personality of a sales star.
Now is not the time to skip the sales advantage a referral pipeline can provide. In a survey from Alignable, a small business referral network, 85% of consumers will do business with a company referred to by someone they know. Trust is a crucial factor for consumers choosing a business to do a project that not only has a high price tag but brings strangers into their homes.
The following are some easy strategies to begin building a referral resource for future business.
1) Use the positive energy of your best customers.
When you finish a project and your customer is in awe of the outcome, giddy with joy, can’t wait to show their friends and family…that’s the referral time sweet spot to ask them to share their praise. Be prepared for these moments. Provide a printed card listing your social media channels, including a website link for customer testimonials, and ask them to share their joy online. Better yet, they can share it on their own social channels and tag your company.
Are you following your customers’ social channels? You should be. The responses to your customers’ posts of praise is the start of your pipeline. Respond to or PM those who show interest.
2) Build the “ask” into everyday communications.
Is the staff afraid to ask for referrals in person? Add it to your commonplace communications. Repetition and automation are powerful strategies.
On Hold Messaging. Use a customer’s hold time to plant a referral seed that’s simple, subtle, universal. Use an applicable statistic in the message: “Nearly half of our customers have come from referrals. That means a lot to us. Thanks for valuing our business.”
Email signatures. Your email signature is prime real estate to promote referral activity. Add a simple call to action such as “Please Forward My Contact Information to Friends & Family”. Ensure that your signature also includes your social channels and website address.
Customer Service Scripts. Create a text template for your customer service team to add to outgoing emails such as: “Thank you. I’m glad I could help. If you know anyone else that may need assistance, please let me know. We enjoy helping others with our expertise.”
Invoices. Include a handwritten note on the invoices of your satisfied customers. Similar to what wait staff do on the dinner bill, add a personal note to thank them and to please refer their friends and family.
3) Follow up and stay in touch.
A homeowner has an endless to-do list. If they’re satisfied with the work you’ve done, they’ll want more of it…when the time is right. Schedule calendar reminders to email or call your past customers every three, six, or 12 months to ask how they’re doing and how you can assist them in new ways. But don’t stop there! Ask them if their friends and family need any renovations or upgrades.
Building a pipeline of leads is a vital business strategy. As you can see, it’s not difficult to build it into your daily regime. If you’re not doing it already, start today and watch your business begin to grow.
We’re in this together. 1-855-241-0024 firstname.lastname@example.org.