How To Get More Referrals
To succeed as a home service professional, you need a steady stream of referrals. Keep reading to learn how to get more sales leads without a lot of extra stress.
No matter how much you spend on marketing each year, customers are one of the best sources of sales leads for contractors. Many people don't trust brochures and websites, but they do trust their friends and family members. As a result, they're more likely to call you if someone recommends your services than they would be if they just happened to see an ad for your business. Keep reading to learn how to generate more leads.
Referrals are just one way to grow your business. Let CraftJack help you find more leads in your area. Sign up today.
Ask For Sales Leads
The easiest way to get contractor leads is to ask for them. One of the biggest mistakes home service professionals make is concluding a transaction without asking the customer for a referral. If you do this, you're leaving money on the table. Another common mistake is waiting too long after you finish a project to ask for a referral. You don't want to be pushy, but you also don't want to wait three or four months to make the request.
Like many things in the world of contracting, timing is everything when it comes to asking a customer for a referral. If you haven't finished 100% of the work yet, hold off on asking for free construction project leads. You don't want the customer to think you're pressuring them for a referral before they have a chance to examine the quality of your finished work. Wait until the project is over and the customer has paid your final invoice.
Unless you're extraordinarily lucky, you won't get sales leads from every customer you meet. But if you get into the habit of asking for them, you will get some. If a customer says they can't think of anyone who could use your services, thank them and end the interaction on a positive note. You may want to give the customer a few of your business cards to hand out if they come across someone who needs the services you provide.
Increase Your Lead Generation Budget
Free leads are great, but they're not always easy to come by. If you want to generate more leads, think about increasing your budget. Your budget should be based on how much revenue you want to bring in each month and the average amount of revenue generated per customer. Using this information, you can determine how many paying customers you need to meet your revenue goals.
For example, if you want to generate $10,000 per month and average $2,500 in revenue per customer, you'd need four customers per month to meet your goal. Assuming you have a sales conversion rate of 6%, you'd need about 68 leads to meet your revenue goal. You may need to increase your budget to ensure you can generate the minimum number of leads to support your business.
Network With Other Professionals
Networking is a critical source of referrals, especially for home service professionals. Industry experts are well-positioned to assess the quality of your work, meaning their customers may give more weight to their referrals than to referrals provided by nonprofessionals. The key to networking effectively is to focus on building long-term relationships.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your networking activity:
- Always end things on a positive note. If you stop working with a client or decide to leave a trade association, don't say something you'll regret. You may need a reference or have to work with one of your contacts on a future project.
- Join a local professional association. You'll be able to network with other industry professionals at conferences and trade shows.
- Use social networks and online forums to connect with other contractors and share your expertise.
- Focus on helping others. This builds goodwill and makes it more likely you'll get referrals from your new contacts.
Contractor Referral Networks
Some contractors set up their own referral networks, generating even more leads each month. The key to using this tactic effectively is to build a network of professionals who offer complementary services without competing directly. You wouldn't want a network of five or six roofers, for example, as they'd all be competing for the same projects.
If you provide carpentry services, you may want to create a referral network that includes a painter, an electrician, a drywaller, an HVAC contractor, a mason, a roofer, and a landscaper. You can give these contractors referrals without giving away your business; in return, they'll connect you with customers in need of carpentry services.
Hand Out More Business Cards
Get in the habit of handing out your business card when you meet someone who might need your services or want to join your referral network. Business cards cost money, so you don't want to give one to every person you meet, but you can generate more sales leads by handing out your card in the right circumstances.
Follow these tips for using business cards effectively:
- Think before you give a business card to a new contact. If you want to maintain a personal relationship with the person, it's best to give them your phone number or send them a message on Facebook. If you might work with them at some point in the future, give them your business card.
- When someone gives you a business card, jot down some details on the back of it, such as when you met and what you discussed. If you ever have to call the person or contact them via email, you can include some of these details to start the conversation on a positive note.
- Keep your cards in good condition. Handing out cards with bent corners, ink stains, and tears may cast doubt on your professionalism.
Create An Incentive Program
Some customers give you referrals just because you did a good job with their projects; others need a little more of a nudge. An incentive program encourages customers to refer their friends and family members to your business in exchange for a reward of some kind. If you have the time and the budget, you can even set up an incentive program with several reward levels.
If you run a roofing company, for example, you may want to offer one type of reward for customers who leave an online review and another type for someone who gives you a lead that turns into a paying customer. For best results, make sure your rewards are a good fit for the services you provide. As a roofer, you might want to offer a free roof inspection or a discount on gutter cleaning.
Before you launch your incentive program, make sure the terms are clearly stated on your website. Customers should know exactly what they need to do to qualify for each reward. If the terms aren't explained clearly, you may lose some of the goodwill you built up when you were working with the customer.
Use Referral Services
If you don't have a large marketing team, it can be difficult to generate leads when you're busy working with customers. One way to solve this problem is to work with a referral service like CraftJack. At CraftJack, we take the guesswork out of lead generation, ensuring you have a steady stream of leads without having to take time away from paying projects.
We're dedicated to helping home service professionals connect with qualified leads, which means you don't have to spend time following up with people who don't have an immediate need for your services. Even better, you get to work with a dedicated account manager and access a suite of tools designed to help you manage reviews and leads. CraftJack also makes it easy to monitor what people are saying about your brand online, ensuring you can respond quickly to reviews.
Focus On Quality
One way to get leads without even asking for them is to impress customers with the quality of your work and make it as easy as possible to work with your company. Before you even begin working, you can impress a potential customer by making it easy to contact you and submitting your estimate as soon as possible after your initial meeting. A potential customer doesn't want to wait for several weeks to find out how much they can expect to pay for your services.
Once the work begins, provide regular updates. Customers get a little nervous when they make a deposit and don't hear anything about how the project is going, but regular updates can put them at ease. This is especially important if you have to deliver bad news. For example, imagine you start the job and come across a problem that will increase the total cost of the project. That's not something to spring on the customer at the last minute. Let them know right away so they don't question your integrity.
If you have employees, make sure they're empowered to meet each customer's needs. Provide regular coaching, and make sure each employee understands your company's service guidelines. If possible, give employees some autonomy when they're at the job site. If a problem arises, the customer is more likely to be satisfied if an employee can resolve it right away instead of having to contact you and wait for a response.
Overview: How To Generate Leads
The topic of lead generation is one that often strikes fear into the hearts of home service professionals throughout the United States, but it's not as scary as it sounds. If you focus on quality and make it as easy as possible to work with your business, many customers will give you referrals even if you don't ask for them.
When you need more leads, you can always set up a referral network, do some more networking, create an incentive program for existing customers, or use a referral service. If you're a one-person operation or your employees just don't have time to help with lead generation, using a referral service is the most convenient option, as you'll be able to focus on your current customers without sacrificing the leads you need to meet your business goals.
Start Generating Leads Today
If you're ready to generate additional leads, make sure your website and other marketing materials are up to date. Customers should be able to visit your site and understand exactly what you do and what they need to do to get in touch with you. If you're not already on social media, consider setting up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to connect with potential customers online.
Once your marketing materials are up to snuff, stay in touch with past customers by sending out an email newsletter or doing a mailing every few months. This keeps your business on their minds, increasing the number of referrals you receive weeks or even months after you complete a job. If you need help generating leads, CraftJack is standing by.
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