It doesn't matter whether you're a small business consisting of just you and a few other workers or a growing company with a dozen employees – many of your new customers will come to you based on referrals.
Without a strong word-of-mouth strategy, you'll lose out on many people who could use your services, but never heard about you.
It's All About Attitude
To gain more referrals, embrace the perspective that you're always in sales mode. This doesn't mean going over the top or pushing your services. What it entails is always putting the best face of your company forward and keeping a positive attitude. Even if you never mention a product or service you perform, every conversation you have with a client or consumers is a chance to sell your business by boosting its reputation in the community.
You know what it takes for you to recommend a professional to one of your friends or family members. So, keep that in mind when you're working with customers. The people you refer friends to are those who communicated with you, had an above-and-beyond attitude, and most of all, were trustworthy. Strive to fulfill these traits for your customers and you'll be more likely to gain word-of-mouth business.
Grow Your Network
Have you ever had a lead land in your lap that you can’t close on because you don’t do the type of work they’re requesting? Did you pass that customer on to another company, or did you wish you could have? If you maintain a friendly relationship with not just past clients and partners but also your industry peers and, yes, even competitors, you may be able to refer clients that aren’t the right fit for you to a business that can serve them – and you may in turn receive leads that are better served by your business.
Provide a Bonus
A smart option to boost referrals is to incentivize the process. How you do this can vary. For instance, you can provide the previous client with a future discount on your services. Or, if it's likely they won't need your surfaces again in the near future, consider sending a gift card and thank-you note as a small token of your appreciation. Don't forget the new customers – the incentive for them could be a small discount as well.
If you want your previous clients to refer you to friends and family, you should ask them. Bringing up the topic of referrals isn't offensive, and it's an easy and straightforward way to bring the idea into the client's mind. Once you're finished with a job, you can give the client extra copies of your business card to hand out to family and friends. You can also ask the client to display a sign recommending your service in their yard for a few weeks.
Don't Let Referrals Go to Waste
Once you have the name and number of a potential new client, be prepared to give them a call more than once. Most contractors won't gain a customer through one phone call. In fact, often one phone call won't even get you in contact with the referral. But, by calling back you greatly increase the chance of speaking with the person and landing the job.
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