September 4, 2012 by Steve Payne
By Karen Hamilton
As a renovator, getting business from referrals is critical. 65 per cent of new business comes from referrals. People are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. 90 per cent of small businesses consider word-of-mouth one of their key marketing tools. Here are five tips for increasing your referral business.
Leverage a job done well
Provide a “Wow!” experience and then, when your customer thinks you walk on water, hand him or her a small stack of business cards and mention that you’d be happy to have them hand them out to anyone they know who would benefit from your work.
Give customers a reason to stay in touch
People are more likely to refer you to their friends and family members if you remain top-of-mind. Even if the job is complete, give people a reason to stay in touch with you. For example, give away some kind of monthly prize to homeowners who enter a draw or like you on Facebook; invite customers to periodic meet-ups where you host speakers or DIY workshops. Get creative. The only rule is to offer something that has real value.
Reduce the risk
If, for some reason, a homeowner is hesitant to refer you because for some reason they’re afraid their contact might not have as good an experience as they had, reduce the risk. Offer a discount or some kind of extra service for customers who come to you through referrals.
Give away your eBook
We are not talking anything fancy here – a simple .PDF file with good, solid information for homeowners about you’re particular area of expertise will do. But once you have your eBook, you can say to your customer, “I’ve written an eBook on [fill in the particulars for your eBook]. If you want to give me the email addresses of any neighbours or colleagues who you think might be interested in this information, I’d be happy to send it out to them for free.”
Go for engagement
Customer engagement gets a lot of attention these days and for good reason. In a nutshell, it’s about using social technology to maintain meaningful relationships with your customers. Research shows that customers who engage with companies via social media spend more money with those companies than customers who aren’t engaged that way. How much more? A whopping 20 per cent to 40 per cent more. For the most part, we’re talking about you sharing solid, useful and occasionally entertaining online content, not random tweets about what you had for lunch. There are plenty of tools, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Houzz, to name a just a few. If you haven’t dabbled much in social media, there are some great articles on Canadian Contractor that can help you get started.
Karen Hamilton is part of the team at Hammerati.com. Hammerati is a professional network exclusively for the construction industry.