There are a lot of ways to acquire customers for your lawn care business, including social media, review sites, search engine optimization and Google Adwords, but if you ask any successful landscaper where most of their customers came from, it’s customer referrals.
In this post, we’ll dive into how you can leverage.
Why focus on referrals?
Word of mouth has been around long before the internet and will never die. Ensuring that you maximize customer referrals has a number of benefits.
For starters, referrals are free. Not much more we need to say there.
Additionally, you’ll find that customers who are referred tend to stay longer and spend more money with you.
Finally and most importantly, word of mouth is one of the few ways of acquiring customers that scales really big. Adwords and review sites all tap out at some point, and they become harder to squeeze the juice out of. Referrals, on the other hand, compound. The more referrals you get, the more customers you get, which in turn increases the number of referrals you get.
Why spring time is prime time for referrals
As anybody in this business knows, the demand for lawn and landscaping services peaks during spring. That is when people are actively seeking lawn care.
Yes, most businesses are swamped and business owners are typically working around the clock during spring time, but it is important to make time to focus on referrals.
Lawn care and landscaping is the type of service a customer has to be in the market for in order for them to purchase. If someone isn’t already in the market to hire a lawn care company, no recommendation from a current customer is going to cause them to suddenly hire you. This would either require that someone fire their current company or stop doing it themselves, and changing that behavior is too much friction.
Thus, focusing on referrals during buying season is just like fishing during feeding time — your chances are way higher.
How to maximize customer referrals
In order to maximize your referrals, you must provide exceptional service. This not only means the quality of your work, but also your customer service. Nobody is going to refer a company they aren’t extremely happy with.
Consumer standards are higher than they have ever been. Little things like showing up on time, accepting credit cards and communicating well are becoming table stakes and necessary to earning referrals.
Assuming that you have these bases covered, here are some tactics you can use to maximize referrals this spring.
Ask for referrals
If you want referrals, asking is the first step. Of course, don’t be pushy, but sending an email out to your customers letting them know that you have excess capacity and you’d love any referrals can go a long way.
Reward good behavior
You should ask every new customer how they heard about you. If they say they were referred, ask who referred them. Then, do something special for that customer. It can be a free lawn mowing, a gift card to a local restaurant or planting some colorful flowers in their bed free of charge. Be sure to include a handwritten note. Whatever it is, you want to let them know you appreciate them spreading the word, and they will be far more likely to refer more people.
Tell your personal story
Either via social media or an email newsletter, tell your customers the story of your business. Help them get to know you as a person. Talk about your journey and the struggles and successes you’ve had along the way. The more people get to know you as a human, the more they feel like helping you succeed at business.
Offer a group discount
Referrals in the lawn care industry are reactive by nature. Person A asks person B, ‘Who does your lawn?’ Generally, person B isn’t going to go out of their way to tell their friends about you, unless you give them a reason.
One method is common in the industry. You tell them that if they invite two neighbors to sign up, you’ll give all of them a discount, as you can save on drive time. It helps you build route density and increases the likelihood even more folks in that neighborhood will hire you. It also gives your customers a reason to proactively reach out to their neighbors.
To make it easy for your customers to share, type up a note they can forward to their neighbors or share on social media.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Ryan Farley. Farley is co-founder and head of marketing for LawnStarter Lawn Care, an on-demand lawn care platform that on average, grows lawn care businesses by 50 percent.