Developing Referrals Before Finishing the Job

There’s an old expression in sales – A,B,C.  It means “Always Be Closing.”  Years ago, pushy sales tactics ruled the day, the mantra for sales people was to focus on closing the deal no matter what.  There’s actually some benefit to this line of thinking that works well for contractors and construction marketing in general.

Most contractors are excited when the phone rings with a prospect and are more than happy to give answers to the basic, generic questions from home owners; type of work performed, estimated time frame to start and cost normally make up most of the conversation.  Rather than talking only about the work, you need to take control of the conversation with a “How did you hear about us?” This usually leads to a conversation about a mutual contact or advertising source.

Regardless of the answer, talking about the source of the lead first and finding out what made this person call YOU will let you not only control the flow of the conversation but provide you with much-needed intelligence. If you find your prospect particularly chatty, asking them if they used other source to find out about you such as your website or Yellow Pages ad can be helpful too because most people use multiple methods of research before picking up the phone.

Why such an emphasis on tracking?

Because you can’t manage what you don’t track. And it doesn’t matter if the home owner in question becomes a client or not – you need to know how they found you so you can make a mental note of the source for future reference. If it was a referral, then you want to make sure you say thank you in some way. If it was your advertising, then you want to make sure to remember what medium it was that got you the response. Then, after you have won the job, mention the referral source again.  This lets them know that you paid attention and you are considerate of their opinion.

After the job is complete, following up with two seemingly minor details will increase your chances of referral business dramatically and will help you stand out from your competition every time.

1. Send a thank you card and mail it the day you wrap up the job. Make sure to personally sign it and mail it, don’t hand it to your client. It’s old-school and it works!

2. Call the customer about two weeks after the job is finished.  Ask them if they are satisfied with the results.  Then ask them if anyone else they know anyone might be interested in your service. The two weeks has given them time to show off your work and by asking them this question you could very easily find yourself with a prospective name and number or a promise to pass along your information to the interested party.  Either way, you have them thinking about you, which means good things for your contracting company!