Word of mouth is critical for construction lead generation and your current customers present some of your best opportunities for getting the word out about your firm. To get those referrals coming in steadily, though, you’ll need to give your customers a little encouragement.
- Time it Right – When your client is feeling especially appreciative of your work, they’re more receptive to the idea of returning the favor by sending business your way. A few good times to ask for a referral are when your client thanks you for a job well done, after you’ve done a favor for them or gotten them out of a sticky situation, or when you’ve exceeded expectations, such as by getting a job done ahead of schedule. Be ready with a form that’s easy for your clients to fill in with their referral’s contact information. A self-addressed, postage-paid postcard they can drop in the mail later is even better.
- Offer a Little Extra Motivation – A referral program offering a reward for new clients is the most clear-cut way to incentivize customer referrals. For large contracts your current customers help bring in, you could even offer a cut of the profits. A cash incentive isn’t a must, though. In fact, with high-end clients, small rewards can backfire by looking trivial. Instead, when a valuable client sends you a construction lead that turns into business, thank them with a gift tailored to their preferences, such as restaurant gift card, tickets to an event or a bottle of their favorite wine. A thoughtful gift is likely to be remembered when another referral opportunity shows up.
- Stay in Touch – Even during on-going projects, continue building relationships with your clients to keep your firm at the forefront of their minds. Pass along useful industry news, tell them about a potential opportunity or introduce them to someone who could benefit their business. As you connect, educate your clients about the range of services you offer so they understand what kind of clients you’re looking for.