What’s Your Referral Routine?
Sometimes referrals “just happen,” like sometimes winning a lottery “just happens.” And lightning strikes twice. But mostly referrals involve a series of actions – such as planting seeds, following up and providing incentives – that are consistent and habitual.
In other words, a referral program operates sort of like, say, “a program.” This program creates the routine that makes referral-seeking a part of your everyday way of doing business. Let’s look at a practical three-step process:
Plant the seed – As an installer or service technician completes a job, he mentions to the homeowner something on the order of: “We hope you’ll consider giving us a referral. Getting referrals is how we run our business. This helps us keep our marketing costs down, which keeps our costs to you down. And we’d appreciate the opportunity to be of service to your family and friends.” This seed could blossom quickly or sometime in the future, but it’s there.
Follow up – How easy we forget. Two days later, your well-intentioned customer may no longer be thinking about your fabulous service but may be, shockingly, concentrating on his own life, pressures and what have you that is distracting him from your much-needed referral. So you send a letter thanking him for his business, mentioning referrals again. Plus, now you’re…
Providing incentives – The letter includes a couple of coupons and a note: “Our service technician, [insert name], said he mentioned to you that we would appreciate your referring us to your family and friends. I’m enclosing coupons for anyone you know. Just write your name on the coupons that you give to your friends, and if they use it for a service call, we’ll give you the same discount off your next service. If someone refers a new customer, another thank you letter is well worth the postage. And that’s how referrals “just happen.”