Word-of-mouth is the best kind of advertising there is.
Although this is a familiar saying, most dealers ignore the very people who create the best word-of-mouth advertising - satisfied customers. It's important to learn how to use your satisfied customers in referral and reference programs. You can literally turn their enthusiasm and their contacts into profits for your business. We'll outline two distinct programs - a Referral program and a Reference program. Both can help you capitalize on your customers' satisfaction.
In a referral program, you ask your satisfied customers to share the names of neighbors, family and friends who might be interested in purchasing windows from you. In exchange for these referrals, you give your customers a reward. In most instances, money will work as the best incentive.
While referral programs can be effective, they do have one major drawback. Some people feel very uncomfortable about sharing the names and phone numbers of their friends and family. Because of this, you must carefully watch your customers reactions when you ask if they'd like to be a part of your referral program. If they have strong and immediate negative reactions to your request, do not try to overcome their objections. Tell them that you understand their feelings, and then change the subject.
Still, there are some good reasons to start a referral program. Some customers will be happy to participate. Plus, referral programs are very easy and inexpensive to administer.
There is another advantage to asking your customers for their referrals. It's a good way to find out if your customers are truly satisfied with the work your company has done. If you discover that none of your customers are willing to act as referrals, you should re-examine your work. Did you make a promise you didn't keep? Did you create expectations that you couldn't -- or didnt - meet? Did your installers do a thorough job? Did they clean up after themselves when the job was completed? Before you ask your customers to participate in your referral program, you have to decide which kind of program would be best for your business. There are two types of referral programs you should consider.
In the first type of program, you ask your customers to give you the names and phone numbers of the people they know who might be interested in purchasing Milgard Replacement Windows. Once you have the list, you call the referred names and try to set up appointments. You use your customer's name in the introductory portion of your phone call.
'Hello, Mrs. Green? My name is Jim Sam pie from ABC Sample Glass. Your friend Mrs. Winter suggested I call you. She said you might be interested in hearing about the ways that Milgard Replacement Windows can save you money and make your home more comfortable. Id like to make an appointment with you - at your convenience. What day works best for you this week? Or would next week be more convenient?"
The second method is to ask the customer to recommend your company and Milgard Windows to their friends and family. When these friends and family members call you, they mention your customer's name. If the referral purchases windows from you, your customer receives a reward.
Payment is simple, too. You give your customer $50 for every referral who buys more than four windows from you.
How To Start A Referral Program
1. When you finish a job ask your customer if he would be willing to act as a referral for you. If he is interested, tell him how your referral program works.
2. Leave a form for the customer to fill out - and a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Make a note in your calendar to call the customer in ten days if you have not received his referral list.
3. If your customer does not wish to fill out a form, explain that he can recommend your services directly to his friends and family. Make sure he understands that if he wants to receive his $50 reward, his referrals must mention his name when they call you to make their first appointment.
4. Always pay your customers prom promptly for their referrals, and send them a thank-you card when a referral turns into a customer.
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