By Katie Mientka

What do you do when you need to find a reliable contractor? An innovative designer? New energy efficient windows or plumbing fixtures? You ask your friends and family members, your coworkers and your neighbors. When you’re looking for answers, you turn to those you know and trust. This makes referrals critical for businesses, especially those of us in the construction and design space. They can have a significant impact on your bottom line. How do you get more referrals?

Try these three tips for referrals:

1. Ask!


Sometimes, the simplest solution is the best one! Be direct, and kindly ask your clients to refer you to friends, family, coworkers, etc. You can do this via email, but face-to-face conversations are often the most effective route. Most people enjoy being helpful – and they are more likely to agree if you are standing right in front of them.

Try something like this:

I’m so glad you’re pleased with our work. I’d really appreciate it if you’d pass my name to anyone you know who’s interested in (custom home building, bath or kitchen renovations, design projects, etc.). Can I leave some extra business cards with you?

Practice! It gets easier, and you can put your own personality into it.

Remember, when you deliver exceptional service, products, and quality, it makes it much easier to ask for referrals without being pushy. It can feel awkward at first, but the worst that can happen is that someone says, “No.” The best: you get new clients! It’s worth a few “No’s” to get to the “Yes’s.”

2. Incentivize

Your work speaks for itself – but gifts don’t hurt when it comes to asking for referrals! A gift card, a discount on future work or products, or a value-add (e.g. if the client has just renovated their kitchen, you can get them a gift related to cooking) communicates the message that you care, appreciate their business, and will help their friends or family achieve similar results with a great experience.

What type of incentive makes the most sense for your business?

3. Take “No” for an Answer – But Don’t Give Up

You asked a client for a referral, and they declined. Why? It doesn’t matter: they said no. Do not push them; this can create tension in your relationship. Back off and give it some time. In a month or two, reach out and ask them to advocate for your brand in a different way. Maybe they can leave a review, submit a testimonial, or agree to have their project serve as a case study.

These do not require as much action or effort on the part of the client, but you can still develop new leads from these avenues without putting your existing relationship at risk. See what they’d be comfortable sharing, and then highlight it on the appropriate channel (e.g. your website, your Facebook page, etc.).

Referrals are a low-cost method that boosts your closing rate and often leads to larger sales. Further, customers/clients who are referred are more likely to refer others; it’s a way to pay it forward, so to speak! If you need help optimizing your approach, connect with Haven. We’re here to help you tell your story of expertise – and ensure others share it for you.