Contractors, and specifically roofers rely heavily on word of mouth referrals for new business. In fact, when I speak with contractors across the country and conduct informal polls during my speaking sessions, I see that greater than 90% of the room indicates that referrals are the number one source of new business for their company.
Yet, even with such high numbers and importance on referrals, less than 10% indicate that they have a process to grow their word of mouth referrals in a much more predictable fashion.
Most business owners tell me that their way of getting more word of mouth referrals is to ask, however in discussions, they quickly find that asking never works. It puts the person asked in a very difficult and uncomfortable situation of being forced to respond. So let’s dig into what really does work!
1. Start with a caring mindset. Word of mouth referrals are a byproduct of caring. They are a direct result of you putting forward information and care toward others. When you care for others, they recognize you in ways that you don’t ask for. They will actually tell many more people about your caring nature and why they should do business with you! When you show up constantly for others, they want your business to be a success, as such, they refer you! You can asses how well you care about others through a free self-assessment at www.ICanCareMore.com
2. Over Deliver - Find ways to over-deliver with your customers, partners and referral sources. There are a number of ways to do this, including quality, time of delivery, amount of communication, and many more. Each business is unique in how they operate their respective business, so you need to take a look at your business and see how you can over-deliver in ways that are meaningful to your customers. Consider how you deliver your product. Are there ways you can give your customer something memorable? When your product or service is a roof, that might be tough, but you can find ways to stand out, be unique, and over deliver. In fact...I challenge you to do just that!
3. Listen - Listening is key to getting more referrals. When you listen to others, they notice, because your gifts, your care, your words, and your actions show clearly that you know them well and that you listened to them. Often when I am conducting workshops or seminars around the country we get knee deep into the weeds of listening and we talk about multiple ways that you can listen. The two most common ways to listen are with your ears and your eyes. The ears are what we know and are used to, but the eyes, that’s a whole different approach. Using your eyes, to listen to what people are sharing on their personal and professional social media channels. These posts tell you a story about who they are, and what they are about. Using this information you can effectively connect with these contacts on a more deeper level and with much more intentionality.
4. Surprise - When you surprise your contacts (both customers and non-customers) you leave an impression that is memorable, resulting in a story. It’s these stories that others share and creates word of mouth referrals. Consider ways that you can surprise people, whether it’s in your operations, delivering, communication, or simply just when they haven’t heard from you in a while, you appear, full of joy and recognizing them! I’ll never forget the time that I read an article by a friend, and buried in that article was a single sentence professing her love of chocolate covered bacon. I immediately bought some for her and shipped it to her. She then posted all over social media about the surprise gift. Not only was she pleased that I listened to what she was saying in her article, but she was completely surprised! Finding ways to surprise others is so rewarding! I highly recommend it and it does, in fact, produce more referrals. It did for me!
5. Non-Self Serving Acts - When you can do things for others with no intention of gaining anything in return, it shows. The recipient will never feel like they are being manipulated into a sales conversation, and this is key! When you put the focus on your contact and you do things in service of them, it’s a win-win for all! One example of how I achieve this is I give away books that I believe are helpful to others in growing their business. This shortlist of books (4 of them) were powerful for me and help me start, run, grow, and ultimately sell my business. I order multiple copies of these books and keep them on my bookshelf for easy mailing. When I ship out a book, I write a custom note in the cover, making it personal and sharing with the recipient why the book was helpful for me.
Finally, stay in touch. With all 5 of these keys, what is most important is that you stay in touch with your contacts, constantly touching base and letting them know that you are there for them, sharing information with them, and being available. Showing up in others lives is keys to getting more word of mouth referrals. If you stay in touch, without asking for sales you will get more referrals.