The trades often rely on word of mouth referrals to get the word out about their business. It’s the traditional way of getting more work that has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
A word-of-mouth referral is an incredibly powerful marketing tool for any business, but how do you make the most of it? How do you make sure you are taking full advantage of your referrals?
If you do a good job, are proud of the quality of your work on a consistent basis then you are bound to get your customers talking. They will recommend you to their friends and family, that’s just how it goes in this business.
As a result of being recommended, your chances of getting work from new customers is much higher.
That’s the power of word-of-mouth referrals, but how do you make sure it’s working for you as a tradesman?
A lot of people just love to recommend someone or something to a friend. It provides a sense of satisfaction, helping a friend save time and effort, maybe money. The reward to them is on a personal basis and the reward to you is more business, everybody wins!
What makes a word-of-mouth recommendation great?
There are several reasons that successful tradespeople find word-of-mouth recommendations great for business:
An increased chance of work
If a friend or family member has recommended a tradesperson, there’s a higher chance that that tradesperson will win the work.
The cowboys are often well advertised, saturating the market with poor quality. People will automatically seek out a quality recommendation rather than sift through the rubbish that’s out there.
Save money on Advertising
Going in cold on new Leads will always require some degree of spending on advertising. Most tradespeople don’t have the time or budget to sit there producing and testing ads. It might seem like you are just chucking money at it and hoping it works.
A word of mouth recommendation, by-passes the need for spending unnecessary cash on advertising that might fail to reach the right people.
Social recommendations do work
In marketing we call it “Social Proof”
Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool because social recommendations come well trusted by customers. If someone they know has been happy with your work, chances are, so will they be.
Good level of trust from the start
Trust in the trades is often a key part of the job. When you are entering somebodies home, the place they feel safest in, it’s important to establish that trust as quickly as possible.
This trust is established via the referral, it’s up to you to keep it that way of course!
Testimonials not required
We would still always recommend that you come prepared with testimonials from previous work as well as examples of previous work but, your word-of-mouth recommendation comes with a glowing testimonial from your previous customer, so the quality of your work is known from the start.
How to make the most of word-of-mouth recommendations
How to maximise your chances for word-of-mouth recommendations
To increase the chance of your customers recommending you, excellent service is a must. That includes:
Excellent project delivery
Meet and exceed the expectations of your customers by delivering all your projects in a professional way, on time and on budget.
Keep the customer informed as soon as any potential problems with budget or time arise.
Great customer service
Keep your customers happy with good, clear communication throughout the project. Be as transparent as possible.
Remember, the customer is always right, even when they are not.
Great customer service and professionalism helps build strong relationships. A relationship built on trust is more likely to lead to your next recommendation and, of course, repeat bookings.
How easy is it for your customer to pass your details onto friends? Leave some business cards or leaflets and let them know they are for any of their friends or family who need a similar service in the future.
Don’t live in the past, make sure you are on Twitter and Facebook, be as visible as possible online. Put your Twitter and Facebook handles on your business cards and on your van. Build a mailing list for sending a monthly email, start a blog.
Gathering Facebook comments and reviews is the new form of word-of-mouth and you should be doing it!
Ensure there’s more to your work than a cheap price
A higher standard of work will always beat cheap, low quality work so don’t worry about being competitive in price. Cost should be based on what you think is a good rate for your expertise.
It doesn’t end once with one referred customer
Your new customer could give you your next recommendation, and that customer could recommend you again, and again, and on and on.
Make sure you continue to deliver work to a high standard and keep encouraging those referrals…