Referrals are something you earn. They are not awarded for mediocre work or performance. When a homeowner gives your name out, they are putting their stamp of approval on your work. They are making a statement that people can trust you to be who they need you to be. A referral is the best compliment you can get. Are you earning referrals?
To earn a referral in the residential replacement scene today, everything you, your installers and your company do adds up to determine whether or not a homeowner will recommend you to their family and friends. Does the final product reflect what you said it would be when you sold them the install? Does their new system actually help their son breathe better? Is their family room really as comfortable as you promised it would be? Are their utility bills going to pay for the system or were you just blowing hot air? Did your installers go above and beyond, assuring your client that they double and triple checked everything they touched? Were they the best and most knowledgeable installers in the industry like you said they would be? Did they do everything you told your clients they would do and more? Are you really earning that referral?
I like to talk to my clients about the referral process very early in the relationship. Ask, “so, who referred you to me?” That lets them know that you are referred often. Tell them that a referral is earned and you WILL earn their referral. The underlying declaration is that you will ensure that they will be thrilled with you, your installers, their install and the equipment, so much so that they will want to tell everyone what a great job you did and what a great value you and your company are. Tell them that they are going to want to refer you.
Most residential heating and cooling installations in North America are less than perfect. The way you earn a referral is by ensuring that your install is perfect. Make great claims and promises about the installation, the install team and the performance they will experience during and after the new system is installed. Tell them how beautiful it will be, how the returns will be sealed up properly, the flues will be nice and neat and clean, and that everywhere your installers work will be cleaner than it was when they started. Then make sure all of this is true. Make the install exactly what you know it should be. Make the install what you say it is. We’ve been trained to explain the installation as some pie in the sky fairy tale and, quite frankly, it is hard to perform installations at that level of perfection every time. But it is not impossible. It IS possible. You CAN offer the absolute best installation AND perform the absolute best installation.
How? Hire the best. Train them to be the best. Expect nothing less than the best 100% of the time and reward them for being the best. When your installers know what you tell homeowners they’re going to do, they then can do those things. Most installers have no idea what Comfort Advisors are promising to clients. We also don’t have weekly training classes for installers, so they don’t get the training to know what their expectations are. But, let them know what we need them to do, train them to do it properly and expect them to do it right 100% of the time and you will see them try to meet and exceed your expectations more than ever. Don’t tell them what you expect, and see what you get.
When you expect perfection from your team and reward them when they get close -- when they try 100% of the time and achieve perfection 98% of the time -- then you will earn referrals. Brag about how others have been so thrilled that they are well on their way to earning their investment back simply by being happy and telling others about their experience with you. Gush about how you are amazed every time you see one of your installers’ finished jobs because of how perfect and effective it is. Tell people how proud you are to work with such a bright group of professionals.
Tell prospective clients that you know you have not earned their referral yet, but you will. Make sure your team is referable. Make sure your install is referable. Honestly earn your referrals and you can’t lose. Ready to take an even deeper dive into improving in-home sales in your business?
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