The 7 Proven Steps to Empower More Home Performance Referrals


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Andrew Leslie is a man they don’t make anymore. Hard-working, Cajun born, duty driven. If the deep caramel skin (that’s about as smooth) and the tell-tale accent reeling off quick-witted tales didn’t make you question his age, his overbooked work ethic would.

He was our lawn maintenance guy a while back. Did it by himself too. Pulled a neatly-crafted and packed trailer behind his trusty silver Dodge Ram truck. Weed eaters, blowers and a Snapper Mower that was more an extension of his hands and feet than a separate machine. You can tell by his ‘connection’ to customers that if Andrew got one job, he’d get all the other ones he wanted, where he wanted and at the price he wanted. Shopping was over. Why?

Because Andrew’s referrals were so enthusiastic, you’d half question if there was some pyramid scheme of sudden riches coming to the referring party.

Here’s how he did it:

He “Advertised” his work while doing his work. A neat truck, parked out front, with good well-maintained equipment was better than an interstate of billboards. If you’re NOT doing this, plus yard signs, and/or parking pylons, and/or door hangers, and/or windshield signage, how are the neighbors to know you’re ‘endorsed’?

Focused, targeted marketing efforts. Andrew controlled his jobs instead of the other way around. Sure, he could’ve gotten jobs in multiple inconvenient locations, but he focused on a particular customer, in a particular area and “owned” that area. You think neighbors don’t talk?

Pricing insensitivity. Andrew could price a job efficiently since he only had to move his truck a few feet, spreading the ‘windshield time’ over the adjacent yards, where others had to quote from a ‘rate sheet’ that unwisely assumed a trip charge regardless of relative proximity. Smart. Yet, his increased efficiency went into his pocket, not ours, because he followed these steps! Double smart.

Established a Referral chain. Each new job came with a blessing and endorsement from the previous. This was the ‘first step’ in a three-step process that followed with…

Asking a simple question of the potential referrer: “If I introduce myself to your neighbors, is it okay if I tell them that I do your work?” Who’s going to say ‘no’ to that? No one did. Thus, the near simultaneous next step.

Qualified Introduction. Andrew would introduce himself as being the lawn maintenance professional for <Neighbor> and stated, “I love this area and these great lawns. If you’re looking for someone to take care of it, I’d be honored. The <Neighbor> said it’d be okay to call them to ask anything you’d like to know about my service.”

Regular re-endorsement and relationship building. We got an invoice monthly, sometimes with a handwritten note (bill stuffer, anyone?) and a Christmas card every year. It’s the small stuff that can make the strongest glue. His regular re-contact, even in the months we didn’t see him regularly, reinforced his presence, our loyalty, and the subsequent discarding of competing effort. This is massively important. If you’re not ‘re-contacting’ clients, they’re not as much ‘yours’ as you hope.

You can also go one step further by establishing an online referral program. When you offer a promotion ($100 off your next installation, etc.), promote it on all your sites. Then when your customers go to claim the offer, require them to “share” it with their friends via Facebook, Twitter, or email. It’s a ‘win-win.’

If the offer is good enough and if they trust you, you’ll have no problems getting your promotion to go viral and generate more qualified leads.

But keep in mind: Your referrals will not “just happen” in the numbers you could get if you “made them happen.” Andrew made his happen. You must target, ask, follow up, and perform as promised, then repeat. If you do this for 23 years, 5 months, 2 days and about 6 hours… or thereabouts, you can grow your referrals and retire happy, too.

Adams Hudson
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Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings, Sales & Marketing

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