Referral programs are a vitally important piece of any roofing company’s marketing strategy. Word of mouth advertising, online testimonials, and customer reference meetings are all things that new clients are likely to look into when choosing which roofer to trust with their project.
Despite the importance of referral programs, they can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, forgotten about. Until one day, a prospective client comes to you looking to speak with a previous client before signing their contract and you don’t have a single referenceable client to put them in touch with. It isn’t a reflection of your work or their satisfaction. You just haven’t been asking your many happy customers if they would be willing to participate in your referral program, simply because you don’t have one. Unfortunately, in these situations, it is highly likely that the prospective client will go with a roofing company who did have a referral program in place.
To help make sure your roofing company never ends up in this sticky spot, the Roofing Academy team is here to help! Today we are going to walk you through the ins and outs of building a referral program that actually works!
What is a referral program?
A referral program is a program that is designed to leverage your current or previous customers to attract new customers. Referral programs most often relate to when current or previous customers direct a friend or family member to a business, this is also known as word-of-mouth advertising. However, in addition to word-of-mouth referrals, you can also focus on proactive referral programs and establish a customer reference program and solicit testimonials.
Tips for Building a Referral Program that Works
- Ask Happy Clients Up Front
The completion of a project is the best time to ask happy clients for referrals or their willingness to be a future reference. The client is (hopefully) thrilled with the work you completed and eager to share the job well done with the world.
To set the stage for them to become a customer reference you should ask them:
- If they are willing to write a testimonial/online review for your services?
- If they have any friends or family who may be looking for a roofer?
- If they would be willing to act as a customer reference to future clients?
Many times we get nervous to ask these questions out of fear for what the client might say. Remember, the worst anyone can say is no and most likely if they are happy with your work, they will be more than willing to be a referral source for you.
- Provide a Small Incentive
People often get swept up in their daily routines and forget to act as a referral source for roofing companies. It falls to the back of their minds along with the other million little things they hear and promptly forget throughout their weeks. In order to help keep your referral program top of mind, provide a little something in it for them!
As a roofer is unlikely you will be able to offer them free services or a discount on services the way other businesses may, however there are still incentives to provide. Implement a gift card referral program, offering $25 Starbucks, Amazon, or Visa gift cards for each referral. For milestone referrals such as a fifth or tenth referral, up the gift card amount to $100 to show your appreciation and encourage continued referrals.
- Establish Email Touch Points
Assuming that everything went well with the project you completed and there is no major need for follow up, it is likely that roofing services will fade from a clients mind until they need them again. While this is frustrating, it is also understandable. We’re all busy, juggling many balls at once!
To help keep your name fresh in a client’s mind, ask if you can enroll them in an email program when they first sign on as a client. Send them occasional emails — monthly or quarterly — to keep your name in their minds should a friend or family member have a similar need arise. Just be careful not to spam them with daily emails. This will certainly drive them to hit unsubscribe faster than you can say referral!
Although the roofing industry has begun to leverage digital marketing more frequently in recent years, referrals and word-of-mouth advertising are still hugely important. Don’t neglect this all too important aspect of your marketing strategy, invest in a referral program that works for you!