Referrals from satisfied customers stand as one of the most effective tools for growing a business. However, not all contractors feel comfortable requesting them. They don’t want to bother their customers, or they believe it’s in bad form to ask for referrals.
If that’s your perception, you may be missing out on new opportunities!
Instead, look at it this way: Your requests for referrals give your customers the chance to help you (a hard-working small-business owner) AND solve a need for someone they know. Asking respectfully doesn’t pressure your customers to “sell out” their friends, family, or business contacts. Instead, it allows them to think about who might genuinely benefit from your services and expertise.
7 Referral Tips for Contractors
1. Get organized and be selective. Make a list of jobs that went (or are going) very well and ask those customers for referrals. The fans of your work are the people most likely to recommend you enthusiastically.
2. Choose the right communication method. Consider the persons you will be asking for referrals. How do they prefer to communicate (phone call, text, email, etc.)? Reach out to them using the method they find most convenient because it may help ensure you get a positive response.
3. Make the ask specific. If you’re interested in getting more jobs of a certain type (perhaps they’re more profitable or more in line with your specific expertise), let your customers know. That will help generate referrals for the projects you want to add to your schedule.
4. Ask before the job Is done. If you’ve completed most of a project that has been smooth sailing, consider asking for referrals before you’ve finished the job. Because you’re still actively connected with your customer, you and your exceptional work will be fresh on their mind. That may help make your referral ask more top of mind, too.
5. Be honest. If you feel awkward about asking for a referral, break the ice by telling your customer you’re nervous or uncomfortable. EVERYONE has experienced that sort of feeling at some time.
6. Be flexible. Some customers may feel most comfortable giving your information to someone else vs. giving someone else’s information to you. Express your preference but let them proceed in whatever way makes the most sense for them and whomever they want to refer you to.
7. Follow up. What if a customer says they’ll be happy to recommend you but wants some time to think about who might need your services? Follow up with them after a week or so to see if anyone came to mind.
We hope these tips help you harness the power of word of mouth to grow your business!