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More Bu$ine$$ Through Referrals

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by rodfather, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    We have never advertised and only have a one-line insertion in the Yellow Pages. All of our new business in the past 9 years has been through customer referrals and word-of-mouth...but that is going to change.

    Instead of just casually asking for referral work (now and then), I've decided to take a more pro-active approach for 2003. I have written a letter to all our customers explaining how we would like to increase our revenue base through referrals. Included is my business card and company brochure for a prospective customer they may know of and hcan hand to. I have also included a $100 redeemable coupon to be used (by our current customers) for any service we perform upon the signing on of their referral by us.

    Here is my question. When should I send these packets out? Now, with snow on the ground and probably no one thinking about lawn care? Wait till it's closer to Spring? Or when?

    I need your help guys...any and all comments are sincerly welcome. Thanks.
  2. I send my "spring" letter out the 1st week of Feb. to start scheduling aerations. Anybody I don't hear from gets a reminder post card mid/late April.
    Could work for what you're doing also.
  3. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 488

    We send out our spring letter Mid Jan. Already getting lists of response and we are way up north. We had to go to this early for mailing because TGCL is on the phones by then.

    I question whether you need to give away $100.00 to get a referral. Unless you have some qualifier on the size of the new customers revenue, you could be giving away a lot of money.

    We include a postcard for our customers that they can mail back with a referral and we only offer them a $5.00 coupon if the referral signs up and prepays. We get results from that. I am sure you could go higher, but no sense giving away more than is necessary

    Austreim Landscaping
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Good point Doug...the redeemable coupon isn't set in stone yet (price-wise) anyway. Maybe make it 50 bucks? Dunno.
  5. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,847


    as it was stated, if one wants alot of growth, offer alot of incentives...If you want low to no growth, offer low to no incentives. I personally am only offering $25 per signed referal
  6. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    any time i'd do discounts i tried to keep them under 5%. so i'd be looking at getting at least a $2000 acct (year) for the $100 coupon. we do smaller props, so that would be unlikely.

    better at $50, its more than enough incentive.

    one thing that i noted on a recent thread on this was the probability of your existing customers being friends. you get a new customer, and 2 of your existing customers know them and claim to be the one who referred. both want the discount.

    became a real pain in the rear.

    keep that in mind.

    i must say no advertising, that is impressive. each year i spend a few grand...really tough in the cash strapped spring.
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I guess I am looking at this redeemable coupon more as a "finder fee"...in some way, it's another kind/type of advertising expense.

    My take on this is by getting referrals, prospective customers will be somewhat pre-qualified, my sales effort will be a little easier, and I tend to think the negotiation process (pricing) may be a little more profitable.
  8. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    the referral system works great with me. That is how I get the majority of the customers. I send out the referral information twice during the year...once around end of March, beginning of April, and once closer to August (for fall clean ups). It seems to work great here.
  9. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    forgot, offer 10% discount of their next service for each referral customer, they have a limit of 100% off their service though. So if they refer 5 customers, and those five become customers, the customer get 50% off their next service.
  10. Rob T

    Rob T LawnSite Member
    Posts: 165


    I agree the letter should generate business. However I'm thinking keep it simple! Don't make the customer "jump through hoops" for thier reward.

    Personaly I would give the client $50 and the new client another $50 for signing. Maybe specify what services it's good for.

    Also, maybe even offer the cash if they just simply give you a lead to a new client(providing the new client signs up w/u). You may need to do the sales pitch, they help you get it started.

    Make it EASY for them to make it happen!

    Good Luck..

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