If you’ve been following our comprehensive guide to establishing an online presence we published over a month ago, you should be starting to see some results from your efforts. Hopefully you are on your way to establishing credibility as an expert in professional paint work and the message about your services and organization is starting to reach prospective clients. As we mentioned then, developing a positive online presence that can lead to new clients and new business is an ongoing process that takes time. If you’ve gotten started and are being diligent in managing your online profiles and reputation, then we say, “Good job!” Giving proper time and attention to the online portion of your marketing efforts will lead to new clients, more customers, and increased brand awareness.
That said, there are certainly other ways to earn new customers. And the easiest is through customer referrals.
Doing a great job for existing customers is probably your top priority anyhow, but it can also provide a number of business benefits. For starters, satisfied clients are likely to call on you again the next time they need professional paint services. Just as important, satisfied clients are the best possible evangelists for your business. People love talking about services and products that make them happy and your business won’t be an exception; today’s satisfied clients are the people that will be giving you referrals tomorrow. However, there are a number of ways to increase and accelerate the number of paint business referrals you are receiving. Here are three tips for getting happy customers to refer you to their friends and colleagues:
- Exceed Expectations – The single best way to generate referrals from clients is to WOW them with your work. Doing a great job, however, is just the beginning. Make the entire experience of working with you delightful for your clients. From your professional appearance to the thank you card you send later (you are sending handwritten thank you cards, aren’t you?), a client should be pleased they chose your service over the competition every step of the way.
- Lead the Conversation – Making it easy for clients to refer you is the next step for success in generating more referrals. Remember those social marketing tools you are using? Twitter tweets and Facebook posts make it easy for clients to share your brand with friends and colleagues by sharing the messages you are posting through social media. It’s possible that your satisfied clients will mention your company by name in casual conversation with a friend. However, it is substantially more likely that they’ll ‘retweet’ or ‘Like’ something you posted on social media, since it only takes one click. This traffic adds up and can lead to a great deal of new business.
- Ask for them! – If you are shy about asking for referrals, ask yourself why. Is it because you’re worried the client isn’t really satisfied? Is it that you feel awkward “asking for business.” Don’t be. If you are doing a good job and performing an in-demand service at a high level, you should be eager to ask clients for referrals. And, as much as it may surprise you, happy clients will be excited to spread the word about your service. Simply telling them, “I’ve really enjoyed working with you and hope that you feel we’ve done a good job. Our business relies a great deal on referrals and word of mouth, so we certainly would be appreciative if you would tell friends and family about our services if the opportunity arises. Thank you.” You’d be surprised how effective such a simple statement can be!
Referrals are an implicit endorsement of your skills and service. Very few messages are as powerful as a trusted friend making a recommendation. If you can’t find the time for any other sales or marketing efforts, you absolutely must find the time to leverage the goodwill of happy clients. Encourage them to refer you. Ask for introductions to the people within their network. The best advertising is also the cheapest advertising – positive word of mouth. Make sure you are benefiting from all the good things people are saying about you and your paint work. Click here for more information about marketing and earning more paint business referrals!