Grow Your Cleaning Business By Creating a Referral Machine
One of the fastest ways to grow your cleaning business is to get referrals from your current customers. There may be times when a customer will pass your company's name along without any prompting from you. However, to really get your clients to work for you, it's important to encourage referrals.
A business generating strategy may sound complicated, but it's really quite simple. All you need to do is set up a system to track where referrals come from, and then reward the individuals (including your own employees) or companies that have sent new business your way.
Before you begin actively seeking referrals, take a look at your clients and make sure that they are happy with your services. If you're not sure how they feel about your cleaning services, send out a customer survey to see what areas they are happy with and where you might need improvement. There are also a few simple, but often neglected rules of courtesy that you should adhere to:
You may provide the best cleaning service in your part of the country, but what your customer will remember is that one time you had a meeting and your cell phone went off or the time a complaint went unanswered.
Once you are happy with the level of service you are providing your customers, it's time to set up your "referral machine". Begin by deciding what type of rewards you will give your customers (and employees) for sending referrals your way. Are you just going to send thank you notes, or will you send gifts? Gift certificates are an excellent way to reward customers who send referrals; and cash is a good incentive for employees.
How do you get referrals from your cleaning customers? Ask! Think of the different ways you communicate with your customers.
1. When sending out monthly invoices include a referral form that they can pass along to anyone looking for cleaning services. Make sure you have a tracking number on the form or a place where they can write their name so they get the credit for the referral.
2. Do you send out a newsletter? That's the perfect place to let your customers know you appreciate your business and that you are accepting new cleaning customers.
3. Call or schedule an appointment with your current customers to discuss how things are going. Ask if you can send them a referral form that they can keep on hand.
4. Ask for testimonials from your current customers. Then print part of their testimonial on a referral form that they can give to people who are looking for a cleaning service.
5. Put together a list of the individuals and business that could send referrals to you. This includes not only current customers, but employees, networking groups, suppliers and professional service providers (your accountant, lawyer, tax preparer, etc.
) Send information to all the individuals on your list letting them know you are building your business and are looking for referrals.
6. People are busy with their own lives and their own businesses. So it is important that you thank them when they take the time to send a new customer your way. Taking the time to send a thank you shows that you appreciate the referral.
As any successful business owner will tell you, referrals from current customers are the best way to grow your business. Indeed, it is more cost-effective to give cash and gifts to individuals that send referrals your way than to it is to run an ads in your local media. Provide good service to your cleaning customers and remind them you are growing your business and the referrals you get will pay off much better than any money you spend on an advertising campaign.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Hanson is co-founding member of The Janitorial Store (TM), an online community that offers weekly tips, articles, downloads, discussion forums, and more for anyone who would like to learn how to start a cleaning business. Visit The Janitorial Store's blog and get inspired by reading cleaning success stories from owners of cleaning companies.