Increase Your Sales Conversion Rate By 400% With A Referral System
Contractors can literally live and die by their referrals
Having customers do your marketing for you via referrals will not only lower your lead generation costs but will also raise sales conversion rates
Over 90% of consumers say they trust referrals from people they know
AND there is no better ‘Social proof’ than a recommendation from a friend
They help remove buyer objections and build trust, the key principle being that no one likes to look stupid by making a poor buying decision
So knowing a friend or trusted family member used your services first can really help the sale.
In fact people are 4 times as likely to buy when referred from a friend.
For some of the remodeling firms we speak to referrals are the only marketing tool they use and the backbone of their business!
Whilst this is not a problem, they can leave themselves vulnerable by leaving it up to their clients to “pass the word around”.
Whilst of course “word-of-mouth” referrals ARE great, this is not a reliable system they can depend on month on month.
You won’t get recommendations simply by wishing and hoping.
We put this post together to give you some most effective strategies are clients utilize for you to implement to systematize your own referral system
PASSIVE – WORD OF MOUTH REFERRALS
Word of mouth referrals leaves you to rely on your clients to spread the word for you.
Whilst this can leave you vulnerable if you rely on it too much as you’ve little to no control of it. There are some actions you can take to encourage your clients to take action and make it as likely as possible that you will be recommended.
- Make them know you
Make sure your clients know the ALL the services you offer and options available.
Don’t assume your clients already know as you could miss out on work when they innocently don’t associate your name with when asked for a recommendation by a friend
- Don’t ask just once.
Go back to your past clients once or twice a year and politely remind them.
There are some ways to do this with out being annoying which well discuss later.
Just because they didn’t know someone in January doesn’t mean they won’t know someone in June.
- Give them something in ADVANCE
IMPORTANT NOTE: You should budget for referral leads!
It goes without saying you should incentivize your client AND your potential prospects.
Taking doughnuts on the first day or creating a photo album of the entire duration of the project to give at the end will help build the relationship and make them more likely to like and recommend you.
You will get an even better response if you give something in an advance to say thank you for the referrals you stand to gain
(don’t just give it to them only if they refer…give it to them expecting the referral)…
This could be anything from gift certificates, fine dining voucher even cash
You should also give something to the client to pass on to the referral that they will find of value. Something like the lead magnets we discuss in more detail HERE will establish your expertise and answer any questions they may have before they even ask.
IF the cost of this is a concern – compare it with the cost per client acquisition of ANY other form of marketing and it will soon look VERY cheap… If its still upsetting you can always ‘tack’ it on to the cost of their new kitchen!
- Captilise on special dates to remind them.
Send them a gift for the anniversary of their move-in date; their wedding anniversary; their birthday anything you know or you can find out
Any excuse to put your brand in front of them whilst of course thanking them for being a loyal client…
And slip in if they know anyone who would enjoy your services as much as them!
- Reward them!
When a referral becomes a client, immediately send a card expressing your sincere gratitude
Send them cash, a booking for a fine dinner, a bottle of expensive wine…
Anything that would encourage them to do it again
AND bonus points:
Get them to tell their friends that they could also benefit from referring you!
ACTIVE – SEEKING REFERRALS
- Provide an easy & obvious way to refer you
Make an easy form on your website where a referral can be submitted with each party being immediately notified:
You, the client & referral
- Introduce the referral to your referral scheme
When you first meet your prospect you should introduce your referral scheme
You can even offer an attractive discount on their project for any referral they can make BEFORE you start
- Collect their review & ask for a referral in person after EVERY job
Make every client aware that you’re looking to please them and that you won’t ask for a referral unless you’ve exceeded their expectations at the start of the job
At the end when you sign off you should collect a written testimonial, using a review sheet, or have them go directly online to your website and submit their review
A good idea is to take an IPad or similar with you that you can hand over to them as you sign off.
This is good to not only get immediate feedback from clients but also helps with the optimization of your contractor website.
Another idea to consider is that Homeowners like to have one person to deal with from start to finish.
That person should then be the one who in “the honeymoon phase” immediately after the job is finished, should close the loop by requesting any referrals.
Offer them an extra ‘gift’ like a new appliance for their kitchen, extra service or bottle of champagne if they use their own phone to leave 5-star reviews on Facebook, Houzz AND any other platform you are using.
- Educate your client
By continually keeping your client informed you’ll not only maintain your expert status but will build trust
Provide clients with handouts or point them to your blogs and articles during the project that explains the processes or review materials
will be worth a mention to their friends and family
AND help remove any doubt as to whether or not they can refer you confidently.
- Do the heavy lifting for your clients
[This follows on from the BONUS POINT above as you’ll need their permission…]
Before you go to collect your reviews write a draft of a letter under the customer’s name
Write a positive review from their point of view about their experience during their recent renovation
Once they approve it, handwrite the letter and hand-deliver to the other house in the neighborhood with a photo of them next to your company yard sign (make sure that your phone number is showing) and other photos of the finished kitchen
Then simply compensate them fairly for every job you get in their neighborhood!
- Get your client’s email address.
Staying in contact with past clients is essential.
Staying top of mind can not only lead to more business from that client directly but can also lead to referrals.
Sending information they find valuable, for example ‘tips to take care of new kitchen’ will ensure emails get opened and read.
You can then include offers in there for your other services, referral offer
You could even include affiliate offers for other businesses you have a strategic alliance with.
- Stay in Contact.
Even if you do not want to send out an email marketing campaign, then stay in contact with your past contacts through direct mail or the odd courtesy call.
Direct mail can be used in exactly the same way as email, you could send a newsletter with case studies and testimonials of your latest work, current offers etc.
Calling your past clients to check in could lead to more business directly and of course is the perfect opportunity to ask for referrals.
- Leverage Social Media
You need to share your main social media pages with your clients and make sure they follow you.
You should create a case study from each client and show case on Facebook, Instagram etc
AND of course:
Tag them in!
Let all their family and friends see, make them jealous and wait for the phone to ring for quotes!
As nearly EVERYONE is on Facebook you should also ask them to post project pictures and discuss their experience there.
- Celebrate The Kitchen
At the end of kitchen remodeling project, one of our clients will offer to finance and prepare a fine dining experience complete with professional cooks and waiters straight out of their client’s new kitchen for them, their family, friends and their neighbors
Not only do they get to showcase their kitchen to people in the same local area
but you are also marketing directly to prequalified prospects based on their demographics.
The event creates envy and also builds social proof based on the attendees reactions and comments
One of the more bigger investments but highly effective in generating new business.
- Track referrals
Have a system in place to track referrals – Track referrals like you track any other lead source.
Make sure you always know where customers came from and who is most likely to refer more business.
Make sure you ask new customers if someone referred them and take the opportunity to make them aware of your referral scheme.
Doing a good job is only one aspect when it comes to having a successful and reputable remodeling company. You need to constantly work on building relationships and seeking referrals.
A referral system will be one of the most valuable marketing tools you can utilize
If you have any referral tools that we left out please post on our Facebook page