3 ways to grab more referrals for your tradie business

As a busy tradie, you no doubt have very little time to spend on marketing each month. It’s why word-of mouth is so valuable.

When you’ve got five jobs on the go and your phone is literally running hot, it can be hard to put the time and energy into marketing your business – but what if others did the work for you?

Think about how many jobs are booked from a bloke who knows a bloke rather than a person looking for a tradie in the phone book.

While the occasional referral will happen without you doing anything other than doing a great job, making referrals an ongoing stream of work needs a strategy.

Here are three ways you can start to build your referral strategy and book more jobs than you know what to do with.


1. Ask, at the right time


It seems obvious, but many tradies miss out on referrals because they never actually ask for them.

Customers are busy and have other things on their minds so, while they’d often be happy to refer your venture to their contacts, they don’t actually think to do it.

As such, make it a habit to specifically request referrals from your clients.

The timing is important in this interaction though.

The best time to ask for a referral is at the stage when customers are feeling the most positive about you and your work.

READ: 3 powerful questions to ask for better marketing

When they’re in the best frame of mind, go ahead and ask them if they know of anyone else who might need a project done soon.

This period can vary but is typically when people are connected to the “shiny newness” of your work, whilst having had enough time to utilise it and enjoy the benefits that come from it too.


2. Make it easy


To maximise the amount of referrals you get, make it easy for customers to rave about you to others.

It’s one thing simply to ask whether a client knows anybody who may need similar work done, but it’s another to set up a process for this to happen.

Be proactive, and show people exactly what they need to do to refer someone on.

READ: Creating brand advocates

Make this process straight forward, and quick. Do the heavy lifting for your clients.

For example, set up an email template that customers can use to forward on to their friends, family members and colleagues.

Alternatively, place a form on your website for customers to fill out.

They could use this to simply input the contact details of a person they want to let know about your skills and experience.


3. Provide incentives


To get as many referrals as possible, remember that people are naturally focused on themselves, and their own satisfaction, concerns, and happiness.

While you’re busy thinking about how to grow your business, and hoping you can take a holiday soon or buy that cool new ute, for instance, your customers are thinking about their own daily lives, and hopes and wishes.

As a result, you must find a way to get attention if you want people to be motivated enough to refer you.

One good way to do this is to provide customers with incentives to take the next step.

When people ask, “What’s in it for me?” the answer should be something appealing.

The kinds of incentives you use will be based on your specific work type, and who your clients are and what they’re most interested in.

For example, you could give clients a discount on their next project, or a credit to use in the future.

Alternatively, offer to provide some kind of service for free for them.

If need be, set up this rewards system in a way that means customers only receive the incentive if the person they refer actually comes to you as a serious lead.

It could be dependent on preparing a quote, having someone sign up to your newsletter, or being hired for a job.

By putting this kind of criteria in place, you won’t end up out of pocket from outlaying more on the program than you receive back in new leads and business.