As a service contractor professional, referrals from satisfied customers have always been the least costly and most effective way to earn new customers.
You’re probably already aware that referrals are what successful businesses thrive on, and they are what allows for massive growth and expansion with large margins.
But before we dive into how to generate more referrals, it’s important to understand the value of direct referrals and why it’s extremely cost-effective.
How Referral Marketing Works
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust referrals from people they know, and a report from Marketshare shows that word-of-mouth can improve marketing effectiveness by as much as 54%. What this means is that investments in your sales and marketing efforts alone aren’t enough to attract potential customers—you should also include your existing customers into the picture as another source for business referrals.
If you want more people to hear positive things about your business, then you’ll need to step up your referral game. Here’s how referral marketing works:
- Identify ideal individuals in your circle of influence and qualify them to see where you need to focus your efforts (existing customers, industry contacts, friends, etc.)
- Nurture and invest in those relationships and delight them by offering special packages eg, 30 days free or 3-months of discounted pricing.
- Finally, make the request and simply ask.
This may take some time and effort, but it’s beneficial to implement referral marketing tactics as you move forward so you know what works best for your business.
How to Get More Referrals from Customers
1. Act swiftly on positive feedback.
If you want to accumulate more referrals, you have to prove yourself as credible and worthy of referrals. When you’re regularly collecting and responding to customers’ feedback, it shows that you’re actively listening to continually meet the needs and expectations of your existing customers.
Review management tools like BirdEye make it easy to whip up and distribute customer satisfaction surveys so you know what you’re doing right and what areas of improvement you need work on.
2. Create a customer loyalty program.
According to data from Forrest Research, it costs five times as much to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. This makes it obvious that focusing on loyal existing customers makes better financial sense.
After all, your most loyal customers are probably going to be the ones who refer your home service business the most, so it’s important to ensure you acknowledge these groups by creating a customer loyalty program that rewards them for promoting on your business’ behalf.
If you invest yourself in this process, the results will produce excellent leads that are more likely to close sales.
3. Provide shareable content and resources
The average buyer now engages with more than 10 pieces of content before making a purchase decision, according to Google’s Zero Moment of Truth study. This means that before your existing leads converted into customers—found your resources and content valuable.
When you focus on creating and providing helpful content, the chances of your potential customers consuming your resources are high, and they will likely want to share it with their network. This helps you build brand authority and trust with your potential customers. Here are some content ideas to try:
- Create a white paper about a new important industry trend
- Write a blog post on HVAC maintenance tips & tricks to keep units running smoothly
- Invite referrers and potential customers to a free webinar on a topic of interest
4. Partner up with other service providers.
Joining forces with other companies that offer complementary services for a referral program is the best use-case for getting referrals. For instance, Service Fusion partners with JB Warranties that allows HVAC and plumbing contractors to provide and manage customer extended warranties.
For the best chance of success on partnerships, you can offer referred customers a discounted package on both services and position it as a way for prospects to fulfill all their needs in one place.
To do this, be sure to create simple marketing collateral that outlines the package and distribute it to your existing customers to see if they know anyone who would be interested. You can also both set up a “Partners” page on your respective websites showcasing different partners and the complementary services they offer.
5. Incentivize referrals with special offers.
Who likes to work for free? No one.
If you want to sweeten the pot and motivate your customers to tap into their networks for a good referral, offer them something valuable in return. Whether it’s an Amazon gift card, discounted services, or referral programs, be sure to give something back to your customers as a thank you for connecting you with new leads.
You probably notice that many HVAC, plumbing, electrical, or field service businesses implement referral programs because it has a high conversion rate, as these are leads who have been specifically passed to your company as potential customers via someone who recommends your business. For example, Service Fusion offers referral bonus payouts for referrals that sign up during a given time.
Referrals are all about turning your customers into a marketing team for your home service business.
As long as you put the effort into providing the best possible service and ensure your customers are receiving value, they will do much of your marketing for you.
In order to continue excellence in service, repairs, and maintenance, it’s best to invest in a field service management software that organizes your every day office-to-field operations so you can use the time you’re saving to focus on growing your business. Ask about our free demo and don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any questions.