Over the last 7 weeks, we have explored the foundational steps of the sales process.  The beauty of this process is that, when done correctly, it works as a cycle.  Gaining referrals is the last step in the sales process and it works to jumpstart the beginning of a new sales progression with a brand new client. In today’s blog, we are going to investigate the three important steps that lead to gaining strong referral prospects inside an HVAC, plumbing, or electrical independent contracting company:

-Provide excellent service that is worthy of referring-

It is important that your existing clients are thoroughly satisfied with your company and its services because acquiring referrals is the process of gaining new clients by incorporating the help of your existing clients. The first step to gaining strong referral prospects is one that encompasses the current client’s entire experience with your independent contracting company: “has it been a smooth process?”, “have all questions and concerns been resolved?”, “was the work and service excellent?”.  Clients will always tell family and friends about service they have received that is either excellent or awful—average service rarely gets reported.  So your company team must make it their mission to go above and beyond the industry standard and provide work that is superb and provide service that is first-rate.

-Qualify the client by inquiring about potential referral prospects-

When a client is thoroughly and completely satisfied with their entire experience with your company and with your team then qualifying a current client for new potential prospects becomes a much easier process.  The important aspect of this second step within the referral process is to being sure to listen for information about the client’s family, friends, or neighbors that he or she mentions throughout the call.  So when you reach the end of the client’s sales experience, you can ease your way into asking for referral contacts by say something like, “Bill, didn’t you tell me that you have family that lives in town? (“Yes, I do.”) “Do you happen to know if they own their home?” (“Yes, they own it.”) “Well since they do, do you think they could use our services?”  When technicians learn to lead into qualifying the client for a referral prospect in this manner then it gives the client’s brain time to shift into thinking about family and friends that may be looking for an excellent HVAC, plumbing, or electrical service company.

-Provide an opportunity for customers to have some time to think about their referral contacts without being rushed-

The third step in effectively gaining referral contacts is a continuation of qualifying the current client.  After a technician has asked the client for referral contacts and given the client a referral sheet to provide contact information then it is important that the tech give the client some time to think without the pressure of someone looking over their shoulder.  In order to do this, a tech should always have something with him to help pass some time so the client can be alone to think.  For example, a tech may explain to the client that he is going to finish up some paperwork in his truck or going to hang door hangers around the neighborhood and that he will be back in 10 minutes.  Then when the technician and client reconvene, they can both be more confident that the referral list contains the contact information of people who really need the services that the company offers.  The last aspect of this step is to ask the client if he would like to call the referral prospects but if the client would not like to call then it is important for the tech to gain permission to call the prospects.  When each small step within this process is followed then a company can be confident that they will grow a strong base of referral prospects.

Gaining strong referral contacts is an important component of the sales process because it keeps the sales cycle moving forward and expanding the company’s reach.  Acquiring referrals at the end of a current client’s sales experience is done most effectively when an independent contracting company has provided service that is worthy of a referral, the technician qualifies the client for referral contacts, and when the technician gives the client time to think about their referrals.  Thank you for following our weekly blog.  Here at Service Excellence Training, we turn learning into earning!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training