Referrals are the ultimate compliment. However, people do not always give referrals because they are complimenting you; they are giving referrals because it makes them feel good.
It is basic human nature to offer help. It kindles a feeling of belonging and satisfaction which no other feeling can beat. We all want the best for our friends. Thus, we take pride in helping them. Here are few ideas for getting more and better referrals for your fencing company.
Do you deserve to get referrals? Would you buy from you? Would you refer your company to someone else? A referable company is:
Dependable: You show up when promised.
Competent: You have the best installers.
Clean: You pick up after every installation.
Fair: You charge the right price.
Friendly: You develop a relationship before talking about price.
Courteous: You are polite—even to rude people.
Excellent products: You install only the best vinyl products.
Cheerful: You have the attitude of good customer service.
Ask for what you want
Be specific, not general. And don’t call them referrals. Everyone says, “We’d love your referrals.” Instead, say, “We specialize in building vinyl fences in your neighborhood. Do you know of anybody who is thinking of building a fence?”
Keep close to those who refer
The best people to refer business are those you have a relationship with. This includes your circle of influence: current and past customers; friends; neighbors; people you know in civic clubs, service organizations and churches.
Teach people how to refer
Teach your friends and clients to think of you when they are talking about fences and introduce your fencing company in their conversation.
Ask for referrals the right way
If you blurt out, “Can you send me referrals?” The person you are talking is to put in an awkward position. They are thinking: “What is a referral? What does she want really? If I send you a referral, what will happen to my friend? How will they be treated? Can I trust you with this referral? How do I refer?” Choose your words carefully.
Ask when you pass out your business card
Every time you meet someone, give them your business card—and ask. Also, consider putting an offer on the back of the business card for those who refer.
Use the right words
Do not say: “My business grows by word of mouth and I would appreciate your referrals.” Instead, when you are talking to someone you say, “Whenever you hear of someone talking about fences, give me a call or text me. Here is my card. Have them call me. I might be able to help.” Notice how low-key that is.
Ask for referrals using e-mail, texting or social media. Put something on your website that makes it easy for someone to get a bid from you. Here is an example of one e-mail: “Hi, Steve: You know we do vinyl fence, right? But did you know that we specialize in installing fences on private homes in your city? Do you know of any friends talking about putting in a fence?”
Ask for referrals in a group setting
Be specific. Don’t just say, “We build fences.” Say: “We
install vinyl fences for those homeowners who are sick and tired of painting their wood fences every year.”
Ask for referrals at the right time
…You meet someone for the first time
…You hand out a business card
…You give a bid
…You give a talk at a public meeting
…You just finished a project for a client
…Your customer complains and you solve the problem
…You have been awarded the job
…Your customer thanks you
…Your customer brings you a referral
…You see your customer in public, not at your store
…Your customer asks a favor from you
The lesson: always be ready to ask for referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing is still the best form of marketing.