In this article, we will focus on increasing referrals for your cleaning business and explain why it is so important to the long term health of your company. Many cleaning services do not pay enough attention to organic referrals (If any) relying instead on more aggressive and less effective tactics such as direct marketing and cold calling. Those are necessary tactics in the early months of your cleaning business venture, but the long term health of your cleaning company will the result of organic referrals and you get referrals by observing high-quality business practices and over delivering on your services. But you do not have to leave it to chance, you can actively pursue referrals in an effective and fun ways. Many of your clients would gladly refer you to a friend, but they simply may not think to do so, that is where these referral tactics and tips come in.
Why are referrals a good idea?
A referral is more convincing coming from a friend that from a professional. There is more history there, a closer bond and a deeper trust that has been earned over time. If you promote your own business everyone's guard is up since they have been inundated with self-promotional approaches over the years. People tend to believe their own hype, an outside objective opinion that is not invested in the business holds much more merit and weight.
But when someone organically brings up your service at a BBQ or the local gym, it holds great promotional power. Many businesses rely almost solely on referrals like Real Estate and Lawyers.
Efficient & Effective
Warm Referrals are more efficient & effective than cold advertising or even intentional business networking. It is casual, honest, relaxed and personal.
Over the years, if you implement these referral tactics you will grow your business naturally with little other marketing efforts needed. You can focus on branding & reputation which creates a positive feedback loop and improves your referrals which in turn improves your reputation. You are either winding up or winding down, wind up!
Motivate your current clients
You can motivate your current clients by offering them incentives. This is a common practice, think of frequent flyer miles or rewards programs. In the Clean Up Now System we detail many ways you can do this.
Rewards or incentives solidifies your relationship with your current clients and helps to keep them solid and strong.
Ask for a referral after you have worked for a client for at least 3 months. If just starting your cleaning business then ask after the third or fourth cleaning.
Make it easy
Make it easy for the client to give you a referral by pre-arranging as much of the process as you can. Have the cards or e-cards made up in advance, be precise and give instructions so they know what to do.
Once your client signs up for the reward program they start accruing points for every visit. They also receive points for referrals. Once they hit a certain number of points they get a free cleaning or a gift. The gift could be donated by another local business and your service could be a reward for the business rewards program. This would all have to be done through your business website, which is a technical and time commitment. It can be designed in many ways. See the Clean Up Now System for details.
Here is an example of a cleaning service rewards programs:
Follow through with a thank you!
Be Kind, courteous and thoughtful with current clients and they will naturally refer you anyway. Always make an effort to thank them every time they refer you and I would highly recommend you give them a small gift like a gift certificate or gift card to some service or product they are interested in. You are in their home a lot, you probably know what they are into :-).
Attributes towards success
These attributes will increase your odds of being referred.
Be sure to hire good staff!
If you are running crews, then your client is likely actually interacting more with them. You want positive friendly people on your cleaning crews.
Your staff is an incredible resource for referrals as well. Make them happy and pay them well and they will tell everyone about your business in a positive light.
Tricks of the trade:
When learning how to increase referrals for your cleaning business be sure not to try too much at once. Choose one approach that makes sense to you in your situation and then focus on it for 3 months, after that move forward to the next idea. Do not implement any more than 2 or 3 referral systems. Keep it simple. It may be the case than just one approach done right will make the biggest difference.