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Referrals: Your Secret Growth Weapon

Referrals and projects

How Referrals Can Boost Your Business

A great referral program can end up delivering a huge portion of your overall sales.  Even better, once set up, this lucrative marketing engine runs almost entirely on its own. This frees up your precious time for other activities and initiatives.  Unfortunately, many small contracting companies get lost when trying to implement a referral program, and they fail to see any benefit.  Below are some tips to get you started with a few referral program options that could help boost your business!


Partner with Complementary Service Providers

Team up with companies who serve your same audience without overlapping in the actual services provided. There are a ton of cross-marketing opportunities two complementary contracting companies can implement. In a win-win partnership, each will gain visibility and ultimately, more customers. These might include a cross-marketing email campaign, direct mail mentions, a web page shout out, or phone promotions.  

These relationships often offer a discount on one service if the client is referred by the other. You could also consider offering your partner service a finder’s fee. This helps establish balance if you anticipate one company will naturally receive more referees than the other.    


Set Up an In-House Referral Program

Word of mouth is a tried and true method for boosting your client roster. It also fosters a good reputation in the community.  It can fall short, though, when you’ve sent your best customers out to tell their friends and family about your business.  Often, you’re left wondering when you’ll hear from them or if they followed through.  This is where an in-house referral program comes in.  Instead of passively waiting for the phone to ring, a well-done referral program will bring new lead information to you.  This gives you the initiative to implement your marketing and sales tools on those leads to close a deal.


Make It Easy

The smartest contracting companies know that most people don’t mind passing their name on to others. They especially don’t mind if you make it  easy for them to do so. For this reason, Apparatus has set up an entire web page dedicated to doing just that.  This makes it convenient for someone visiting our page to pass along the information of someone they know who might need our services.  We take it over from there by sending out an email to both parties, thanking the referrer for the connection and introducing ourselves to the referee.  The amount of work we’ve put on the referrer is so minimal they wouldn’t think twice about referring again.

You can also send your clients a mass email asking for referrals, to which they can easily reply if they have someone in mind.  You can incorporate this same tactic offline, too.  If customers visit an office location, have a referral box set up with slips of paper asking for details on the referee. Or include a tagline asking for referrals on your invoices.


Incentivize Referrals with a Finder’s Fee

To encourage your clients (and even non-clients) to refer, refer, refer, incentivize them with a finder’s fee.  A finder’s fee can be straightforward, such as $100 check sent to them in the mail for each new client you obtain through them.  This is useful for clients who don’t often use your services or for non-clients who would benefit more from a cash offer than a discount.  For existing clients running on recurring or subscription services, you might offer to cover a dollar or percentage amount of their next bill.

Make sure your intentions are clear (you’ll only pay for leads who become clients) and that you’re sure your company will honor them.  It’s usually financially worthwhile to pay a few dollars off the top in exchange for an additional client who could bring a lifetime of value.  

Designing the structure and setting up your referral program will require the most amount of work.  Beyond that, it will run effortlessly in the background. New leads and clients will continue to trickle in while you work on other areas of your business.  Of course, this should only be one part of your marketing strategy.  For six other ways to effectively market your company, download our free eBook!


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