Referrals are critical to the success of your business and yet most of us don’t give referrals the attention they need to become a cornerstone of growth. There are fantastic books about getting more referrals, but since you’re probably like me with a big stack of books to read “when I have the time,” let’s look at a few high impact, low effort steps to get started.
I used to think referrals would just happen if the work was good and people liked our staff. Nope. My cleaning business does good work and has really happy customers, but getting a referral is all by chance… and that means it doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like. With a few simple tweaks to how we left each job, we’re getting more referrals without changing the way we do business. It’s all built into the system. Here’s how we did it.
Update your marketing materials to get more referrals
We leave our residential customers two or more pieces of branded content after each job. This includes a call-to-action to like our Facebook page, a reminder of all the services we offer… and a written question: Know anyone that could use a good clean? Share our card with a friend or neighbour and we’ll knock 5% off your next clean and theirs too. If you’re in a service business, this is a great way to grow your foothold in a neighbourhood or new service area. Neighbours talk and who doesn’t like to give something away?Update your marketing materials to get more referrals
Email signatures that get noticed
Email signatures are the perfect place to remind everyone of what you can do for them and it makes it really easy to share that with their friends. By adding a list of services to our email signatures, our current customers are using more and more of those services. No more “I didn’t know you did that.”
Before adding pest control to my email signature we would do maybe two jobs per month. Now it comes up several times a week and it mostly sounds like this: “I saw on your email that you do pest control. I’ve started seeing <insert pest name here> at my house. Can you do something about that?” Easiest sale ever! For a primer on making a killer email signature, check out Canva’s tips on creating your own here.
Get strange: look for referrals in places others don’t
It can be awkward asking customers for referrals and John Jantsch's eBook '50 Simple Lead Generation Tactics' is a great place to start. Another tip comes from The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. In the book, Mike shares his thoughts on the best places to get referrals and it’s probably not where you’d think.
Instead of asking your customers for referrals to other businesses just like theirs, which can be kind of awkward, ask them for a referral to their favorite vendors or service providers. Odds are good that these companies, the ones that your best customers love to work with, work with other businesses that you’d die to get in front of.
Reach out to these vendors and ask how you can work better together to provide excellent service to your shared customer. After you’ve established the relationship, ask those vendors if they know of any other businesses that could use what you’ve built together. If you work really well with this business, and help them improve their offering too, they’ll jump at the chance to share their best customers with you. Everybody wins and it’s all through referrals.
Remember that your first goal in contacting these other vendors is to provide value to them first. Only after you’ve established your business as awesome and helpful do you ask for referrals to their ideal customers (who are, again, your ideal customers). Not all of these will work for every business, but they’re cheap and easy to implement. What referral strategies have you tried in your business? Share your answer on Facebook or LinkedIn.