5 Unique Methods To Generate More Referrals

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5 Unique Methods To Generate More Referrals
For Your Outdoor Service Business

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By Matt Wacek | October 25

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Do you want more referrals for your business?

I’m going to immediately assume that answer is “YES!” because referrals are the single best type of leads.  When a new lead comes into your business and they were referred to your company from a previous/existing client, family member, or a friend, it becomes a much easier sell, because trust and credibility is already built in. 

Prospects that come from referrals generally pay the most and are the most loyal. Also, the investment for referrals is minimal compared to other marketing campaigns!  In fact, if an existing client told your new prospect about your company, you’re actually already profiting because that existing client is actively paying for services and told their friend, colleague, etc., talk about a win, win!

I know this is may not be news to everyone reading this….

However, a lot of outdoor service businesses struggle to generate consistent referrals.

The main reason they struggle is that there are no systems in place that generate consistent leads referrals.

If you keep reading I am going to show you some unique strategies you can use to get more referrals.

First things first, your service must be worthy enough to be referred, quality work is crucial. This is common sense and most already have this part nailed down. But, if you are providing bad service then it will be very difficult to stay in business, nevertheless generate consistent referrals.

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1. Strategic Partnerships

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]There are hundreds or even thousands professionals in your city/town that can refer you a ton of business & vice versa. These are complementary providers that are in constant contact with your potential clients.

Professionals like real estate agents, home inspectors, real estate investors, and property managers are all great targets to build strategic partnerships with.  But also look towards local business owners that have own/lease space in an office complex, strip mall, or own the building/property themselves.  They are bound to be in need to lawn maintenance, irrigation, landscape renovations, & snow/ice management and most prefer to do business with people they know so. . . the best way to your brand in front of them is to be where they hang out!

Here are several ways to start building relationships with these professionals:

1. Chamber of Commerce – by attending your local chamber of commerce meetings you’ll be around other local business owners. Chances are that you will come across someone that you could potentially do business with and refer more business to you.[/text_block]

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]2. Local Meet Ups – signing up for local business meet ups at meetup.com to join different groups where prospective clients hang out, this is an-

other way to also meet local business owners.

3. BNI – the largest professional network in the world. You can find your local group here their website. BNI groups are generally exclusive to have one business per sector/industry. So t if there aren’t currently any businesses that are green industry companies within the group, then you’d be able to join the group. However, if there green industry companies in the group, then you most likely will be unable to join a

t that time. But, you may have the opportunity create your own group and start from scratch.

4. Linkedin – the entire global professional network to view on Linkedin. You can start a systematic campaign that reaches out to local professionals that connect with them. You can ask these pros to meet up for coffee to begin the relationship or you may find members of the site messaging you and asking about your service offerings.[/text_block]

2. Asking Existing Clients To Refer Your Company

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]The best way to get more referrals from your clients is to simply ask for them. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking information, but you’d be surprised at the results you may see when doing this.

A simple question like “By any chance, do you know anyone that might benefit from our services?” is sufficient.

If they say that they don’t know of anyone at that point in time, make sure you give them a few business cards (if this is an in-person meeting) and have information on the back of your business card about the referral program you’ve implemented in your business (you have one right?!)  This can be as simple as giving them a free mowing service, or fertilizing/weed control application if they refer your company to their friend, neighbor, colleague, etc.

Even though you’re giving away services when doing this and not generating as much revenue as your ordinarily would, you obtained a new lead and if you know how much each lead & client is worth to you as I break down in the Calculating The Value of Each Client post, this basically becomes “free money” because you didn’t have to spend anything to acquire this lead/client.[/text_block]

3. Email Marketing Campaigns

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]This can be one of the most simple tactics in this post.  Simply have a broadcast message sent out to your database of leads/clients on your list or have it scheduled in your email follow-up sales funnel announcing your referral program and how it benefits them with rewards for referring your company to their friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, etc.[/text_block]

4. Maintain Your Current Client Relationships!

— SPACER —

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]I will admit 100% that I have been guilty of not taking the initiative with my outdoor service company to stay in regular contact with my clients.  As a business owner it can be tough to balance EVERYTHING that’s going on – your employees, current projects, the weather, equipment, family life, often times our existing clientele-base gets overlooked and the only interaction with most clients is sending their monthly invoice, except when there is an issue.

This is not good!  Be proactive in staying in contact with your clients and keeping your brand in their mind as much as possible, it costs hardly anything to send an email (from your business email account, not from the autoresponder), a hand-written note that’s NOT included with their invoice and thanking them for their continued business and that you appreciate them as clients.  This will go a LONG WAY when your client has a family member, friend, colleague, or a neighbor ask if they know anyone that provides the services your company offers.[/text_block]

5. Work With Vendors/Suppliers As Partners

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]When it comes to finding suppliers & other vendors (equipment dealer, truck dealership, etc.) be strategic to who you decide to do business with.  Not only to save as much money as possible when it comes to purchasing their products & services but also look for ways your company’s name could be spread by associating with that vendor.

For example, a new landscape supplier opened (literally right next door to one of the largest hardscape suppliers in our area) and their prices were on the higher-end, however after I began talking with their in-house designer (they would design projects & deliver materials but didn’t offer the construction service at that point since they were brand new) about the projects we did, where what our service area was, who our clientele base was, and after a 30 minute conversation, we became their go-to contractor for hardscape & softscape installation projects.

Whenever a homeowner came in looking for a product, they asked the clients as much as they could about their project in order to determine if they wanted a design done, whether they were DIY’ers or were looking for a contractor to construct the project.

Even one small project pays 100x what it cost to start & maintain that relationship.  Plus, the more volume of product we purchased from this supplier, the larger the discount we received the following year.

Another method would be to visit your local garden supplier (any store where a homeowner would visit, this could be the hardware store, or even home depot’s contractor department) and place your business cards, brochures, postcards, etc. on their bulletin boards.  Most locally owned stores will have these boards near their entrance.

My very first landscape installation project back in 2011 (Approx. $1,500 + recurring maintenance services) came from having a business card on the bulletin board near the entry/exit door of a local hardware store, the following year they purchased a $7,000 paver patio and signed on for our fertilizing/weed control program, spring & fall clean ups, and core aeration every year after.  Talk about a massive ad spend ROI.

Then in 2012, another client interested in a fall leaf clean up called after seeing my business card on the same bulletin board.

(TIP: ask every caller to your business how they found your information so you can track where people see your company and what advertising is working best).

30 minutes after completing the job, the client called and expressed how happy he was with the work quality and will definitely be interested in services in the spring.  The following spring he signed on for a spring clean up, 2 shrub trimming services, & a fall clean up and more importantly, the homes in this neighborhood were $500k-$1M each plus they had a large HOA commons area (20 cubic yards of mulch, shrub fertilizer, non-selective weed control, seasonal clean ups, & shrub trimming) that we obtained the maintenance contract for thanks to that client being on the HOA board.

This also led to another $15,000 in landscape installation work and about $3,000 in lawn maintenance work throughout the neighborhood.  Not bad for taking the time to place a few business cards that cost $0.10/ea at the local hardware store?

Employ these tactics in your business and comment below your results![/text_block]

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