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How to Build a Dynamite Referral System
You’ve hopefully seen the following scenario play out a number of times. You erect a steel building or remodel a home magnificently, and your customer is more than satisfied with your work. But you can’t just count on someone walking by, seeing your handiwork, and requesting your services. After you complete work for your customer, you need to put your customer to work.
If you’re a general contractor or a specialty contractor looking to build your company, what could be more important than word-of-mouth business? Depending on your finances, you might not have a lot of excess cash to spend on your marketing strategy, so building, improving and capitalizing on a referral system should be one of your biggest ambitions. Here are a few ways to build an outstanding referral system, at little or no cost to you.
Create a Referral Plan
It’s not a bad idea to ask yourself several questions to determine what type of plan fits best for your business. Who are your most satisfied customers? These are the people who need to become your unofficial brand ambassadors. Reach out to current and past clients, and find out what made them pick your company, and what makes them engage with your brand? Other than the finished product of a kitchen remodel or when you were hired to erect a steel building on their property, they have to feel some value in your company. Are they sharing their experiences with others? Showing off your work on social media? This is the time to ask them to do so (and not feel bad about it).
Join Associations and Partner with Nonprofits
When you collaborate with a non-profit organization, you’re doing more than saving money; you’re strengthening your image and creating more credibility. Even if your business mission doesn’t perfectly align with a non-profit, your moral purpose will. Armstrong Steel’s philanthropic organization, Armstrong United, partners with the United Way and Habitat for Humanity to name a few, because we believe in enhancing the lives of our customers and community. It’s also not a bad idea to become part of an association related to your current industry. You’ll meet experts in the field, and network with entrepreneurs who can connect you to clients and other professionals.
While casting your net out on the Internet will occasionally catch some big fish, being a part of the community will help your word-of-mouth business tremendously. Your availability to erect a steel building quickly and efficiently is a definite interest for potential customers. According to Google, a startling 83% of consumers conduct active research on products and services using local searches. Tap into those consumers in your community.
Who are your biggest fans? Get your family to support you and expand your network. These are some of the greatest relationships you’ll ever have, and you know they’ll sing your praises. More important, educate your family on your expertise. Give your mom reasons to convince prospective clients to hire you, and don’t let her only sales pitch include the phrase, “Because he’s my first-born.”
Motivate current and future consumers by turning the referral process into a transaction. People don’t mind doing something as long as they see the value in it. Reward them for their actions. Offer discounts or coupons on additional work if people refer your services. These types of concessions don’t have to hurt your bottom line either. Make sure your decisions improve your overall return on investment.
Erect a steel building
Nothing helps gain a referral like a job well done. Provide excellent customer service and superior work ethic, and your customers won’t be able to help themselves. If they are proud of the way you erect a steel building, they’ll want to tell others about it.
Do you know any other ways to build a referral network? We want to hear about it!Photo courtesy: US Army, USACE
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