Maximize Referrals With Well-Planned Customer Network
During a slowdown when leads become scarce, well-networked businesses can help sniff out new business and maximize referral opportunities.
“Fantastic customer service is a must to score referrals,” said Victoria Downing, president of Remodelers Advantage, a remodeling consulting firm based in Laurel, Md. that provides coaching, consulting and online resources.
According to a recent survey from Sun Trust bank, 51% of new business growth comes from referrals and 55% of businesses view word-of-mouth as the most effective marketing investment.
Skillful management of a strong referral network supports a thriving remodeling business, Downing said. With a little thoughtful planning, remodelers can develop many effective referrals, she added.
Downing offered six methods for building referrals:
- Develop a system to ask for referrals.
Asking for referrals from customers is the first and most important step. Most customers are happy to provide their friends with help in finding a professional remodeler. But if they are not asked to provide referrals, customers won’t think to give them.
Remodelers should create a clear and easy process for referrals ― and be sure to ask for contacts.
- Measure and track the best referral sources.
Satisfied and well-connected customers may be the best advertising. If they appreciate the service they received they will spread the word.
Track referrals to identify these customers and nurture the relationship to collect referrals.
- Create customer referral programs with incentives.
An easy-to-understand process for referrals will make it accessible and usable for customers. Offering incentives for referrals will keep them coming back for more.
Consider using customer testimonials in promotional materials and inviting customers to speak about their positive experiences at open house events or trade show booths.
- Improve communications with customers.
Share the vision for the business with customers and ask for help in achieving business goals. Describe the profile of an ideal client, how many referrals the business needs and how customers will benefit from sending sharing referrals.
- Institute referral networks with local partners.
Develop relationships with people who know people and who influence others. This may include bankers, hairdressers, ministers and others with ties to the community.
- Use positive reasons to reach out to customers.
Contact prospects in the referral network several times a year with news, invitations to events or other appealing communications.
Before launching a new referral program, take an assessment of current customers and the referral rate. Adjust any gaps and lay out a plan before jumping in.
A committed and thoughtful approach will yield results. Be sure to track any progress and start with the fundamentals of excellent customer service.
Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
Take the “Profitable Business Through Quality Practices” course from The NAHB University of Housing and learn key strategies for providing a quality building/remodeling experience for your home owners.
Topics include meeting the quality challenge with customers, with competitors, and within your company.
This is a “must” for builders and remodelers who are ready to take their companies to the next level. Find out where upcoming courses are being held by clicking here, or call 800-368-5242 x8154 for more information.
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Earning the CAPS, CGR, CGB or GMB designation demonstrates a commitment to excellence and keeps builders and remodelers on top of industry innovation.
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For more information, visit www.buildersshow.com/PreShowEducation.