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Leads are an important part of client generation, increased sales, and overall productivity inside of an independent contracting company in the industry of HVAC, plumbing, and electrical.  For the last two weeks we have explored the important aspects of marketed leads and technician-generated leads.  In today’s post, we will delve into the last type of lead: referral leads.  We will discuss three of the most important components of excelling in generating strong referral leads:

-Provide Service that is Worthy of Referring-

The first step to growing your company’s base of strong referral leads is to maintain a high standard of excellence that is worthy of a client referral.  Establishing a positive and strong first impression as well as living up to that initial impression is important when working to earn referral leads.  A company’s culture should embrace high standards of service excellence in every branch of a company team; from the CSR that works to establishes a professional and customer-oriented first impression to the technicians that works to reinforces this positive impression by arriving at a customer’s home prepared and focused.

Rapport is built and service worthy of referring is provided when techs show clients that they are devoted to thorough customer care, dedicated to proper system maintenance, focused on meeting client needs, and committed to presenting all options before any work is started. When a customer is happy and satisfied with every step of the service process then they will be inclined to give great referral leads because rapport, trust, and respect has been established and maintained.

-Provide an Opportunity for Clients to give a Referral-

A client may be happy to provide a referral but if they don’t know the process of providing the necessary information then you may miss out on a prime opportunity to gain a strong referral lead.  Thus, it is important for independent contracting companies to provide their clients with an opportunity to provide referrals at the end of their service experience.  When technicians provide this opportunity for clients, it is important that they practice the steps to making the process smooth and effective.

If a customer is thoroughly satisfied with the work that has been completed then the first important step of acquiring a referral lead has been accomplished.  The second step to acquiring strong referral leads from satisfied clients requires a lead-in from the technician.  In order to effectively execute a smooth lead-in, a tech must listen throughout the call to what the customer says about family, friends, and neighbors so they can effectively “open the door” to qualifying a referral lead.  For example, a tech could begin a lead-in by saying, “Sam, didn’t you say you had family that lived in town? You do, that’s great. Do you know if they own their home? Well since they own their home do you think they would be interested in our services?” A lead-in like this gives clients time for their brains to warm-up to thinking in terms of referrals and recall people that could use the company’s services.

The next step to the process is asking for the contact information by providing a referral sheet.  While a client fills out this sheet it is important for a tech to go do other work such as place door hangers or fill-out paperwork in the truck.  When a tech does this step, the client doesn’t feel pressure and they can be free to think of others they may want to refer.  The last step includes asking the client if they would like to call the referral prospect but if they would rather not, then a tech can gain permission to call the prospects.  The steps to the referral process allow for smooth and effective transitions between the client and technician as well as help to generate a larger amount of strong referral leads.

 -Referral Leads are Generated and Closed through “Social Proof”-

A wonderful benefit to referral leads is that they naturally provide “social proof.”  “Social proof” is a psychological occurrence in which individuals assume that the thoughts and opinions of others prove the value and authenticity of a product, service, company, or idea.  This strong presence of “social proof” is a great aspect of referral leads.  When a service company comes in contact with the referral prospect, the service company already has the support and backing of a completely satisfied client that already has a relationship with the prospective customer.

Referral leads are strengthened because prospective customers will most likely value the opinion of the friend or family member that referred them to the company; thus they will be more inclined and receptive to beginning a relationship with the service company.  Embracing this positive “social proof” that naturally comes along with referral leads can work to grow a strong base of referral prospects that can, in return, lead to a strong base of lifelong, happy, and satisfied clients.

Referral leads are an important component to an independent contracting company.  A company can work to increase their referral leads by providing service that is worthy of referring, offering an opportunity for completely satisfied clients to provide a referral, and embrace the benefits of the “social proof” that naturally comes along with referral leads.  We have popular lessons that explore referral leads as well as the other two important types of leads: marketed and technician-generated.  Thank you for following our weekly posts.  Here at Service Excellence Training we turn learning into earning!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.