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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Word of mouth referrals are the best form of lead you can hope for. Not only is the lead free but more times than not a word of mouth referral ends up in a sale because they know that you do good work.

How do you encourage your clients to talk about your company to their friends and family? Do you offer any type of referral bonus to them if they do?

I look forward to hearing everyones comments on this. This is a very important topic and there is a lot to be said about it. There are a lot of companies that run their whole business this way.
 

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Well, as you all know I am not yet actively engaged in a pressure washing business but in a former business I used to do the following.

When presenting the quote or the invoice I would give the owner a few business cards and tell them that they can save X dollars on their next visit by referring a friend. All they had to do was write their name on the back of the card and give it to their friend and make sure the friend showed me the card when I went to see them.

It worked great and built a solid referral network.

Now if I could only decide what equipment to buy. Sigh. :blink::blink::blink:
 

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After several years as a Police Officer (medical retirement) I've put in 20+ years in retail sales( RV's-Portable Spas). Yes Nathan Word of mouth is by far the best, and the best way to get referrals is to Ask! Some will tell others about you, but most will not. simply because thay don't think to. So Ask for the referral, leave a few business cards,ASk them to pass them out to their friends, family, and neighbors Ask! Ask! Ask! Just like when you are cloesing a sale,because that's what you are doing, cloesing them on referring YOU.
Of course First you have to do your Job right,then make sure the coustomer knows
that you have given them quality service for their money (show them) . Yes give a referral bonus (birddog fee) there are several ways to do this and I'll bet the Pro's on CT will have more than one that works for them.

Off my soap box . :)
 

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I send my customers a thank you letter and a picture portfolio of before and afters on their project. In the letter I offer them the $25 (cash) referral reward.

The picture portfolio is a great way for them to show friends and neighbors what type of work was performed. To neighbor: "Remember when my deck looked like this? PressurePros did a really nice job, here take one of their cards and tell them I sent you"

Just another way to offer over the top customer service and solidify your customer base. Success is about follow through.
 

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At the end of a job when the homeowner is complimenting my work, I always say "Thank you, don't keep it a secret" I usually get a smile or laugh out of them. I also send out Thank You cards and a few biz cards a few days after the job thanking them for the opportunity and asking them to pass my name along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes Nathan Word of mouth is by far the best, and the best way to get referrals is to Ask!
Very good point. Most people just assume that clients will think to refer you but the fact is that a lot of people need a good reminder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In the letter I offer them the $25 (cash) referral reward.
I've always sent a gift certificate to a restaurant with a card that said something along the lines of "dinner on us". I always picked cards that were good for a number of restaurants like a Darden's card so they had some choices.

Why? Well, I think people can look at cash and just spend it on gas or something boring. But I want them to have a whole evening together and think "XYZ Company paid for this because I referred someone".

It's a mind game for sure but it's one that I think works :thumbsup:

By the way, my painting jobs were usually $2,000+ so I gave $40 cards away.
 

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I have gift cards for restaurants that I received two years ago still laying in a drawer somewhere. I like your thinking about wanting them to use say a dinner gift card, but what if you give an Outback Steak House gift certificate to two vegetarians? Cash spends everywhere. Don't discount the power of the green ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have gift cards for restaurants that I received two years ago still laying in a drawer somewhere. I like your thinking about wanting them to use say a dinner gift card, but what if you give an Outback Steak House gift certificate to two vegetarians? Cash spends everywhere. Don't discount the power of the green ;-)
Outback has great salads but like I said I always buy cards that are good at a number of different restaurants.
Either way I think the fact that you have a gift card in your drawer somewhere that has never been used is a bit abnormal. I had a lot of comments about the gift cards and clients told me where they went and how much they loved getting out for a change.

Here is another way to look at it. To me, a gift card says thank you and cash seems like I sold out my friend. Not sure if that makes sense or not. I'm not trying to buy someone's referral I'm trying to thank them for it.
 

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Whatever works for you, Nathan, just my opinion. The gift cards I had didn't interest me. I think it's presumptious to offer a gift certificate for anywhere. It's a thank you, not a Christmas present. For every person you may have had thank you for the night out (like I said, it's a great gesture) I have probably had five call me and thank me for the cash as it came in handy. You can't hand your teenager a gift certificate for a salad when they want to use the car and its low on gas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
BTW Ken, I was just trying to debate the merits of two different ways of doing things and wasn't trying to prove a point.

Sorry if it came out that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's the problem with text messages... you can't read peoples faces, expressions, and tones.

Thanks for helping me think it through. :thumbsup:
 

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McMoo really said alot. And some people here might just go about and keep doing what they are doing, and send letters and what not.
And that works.

I believe that asking is actually the best way. But not really the way I have heard on here.
Saying " Don't keep it a secret" is a good one. I really enjoyed reading that :) I will try to remember that one.
But I am really talking about going one step further.
Imagine this....

You: " I am happy to see that our project turned out exactly how you had expected. I really put alot of pride into my work and I think the results really showed. What do you think?"

Client: "yes, your right. This was what I wanted and I am very pleased."

You: "Can you think of anyone like friends or family members who are in need of this kind of service and want the same quality and value?"

Client: Well, I have a buddy Bob who has been talking about redoing *Blank* and my sister is buying a new home that might be in need of *Blank*."

You: "Well if it's not too much trouble, would you mind if I gave them a call and talked to them about it?

Now 2 things can happen here. They will say "No I will give them one of your cards" or they can say " Sure, I will be happy to get them in touch with a quality company like yours."

Now if you really have done everything from cradle to grave correctly, then this is a no brainer-more for sure way to get referrals.
Remember, they are not offended by this if they are happy with you. They are only offended if they are not satisfied.
This technique can be tough for some people to be this aggressive on asking for future business, and for it to work alot, there is more you have to do during the whole process to guarantee better prospects, but it is taking asking for future business to the highest level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm not sure I could bring myself to be that forward but I'm a whimp when it comes to this stuff.

Good advice though Florcraft.
 

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It's not really neccesary for me to ask for any referrals cause i normally just get them from customers or deck companies,custom home builders.Referrals are 99.9 % of my buisness and i stay busy year round no problems.:cool2:

P.S offer deck/fence companies a % of the total job they refer you it really helps.
 
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