We all know how important referrals are in any business. But in the homebuilding business referrals are particularly important. After all, if you’re a builder, you’re in the “trust” business. When it comes to something as personal as a home, people simply want to work with someone they trust.
Maybe you’ve noticed that some builders seem to get all the good referrals? What’s up with that—and is there something you can do about it? How can you get more of those referrals that make new prospects willing to give you a second look?
Good Referrals Don’t Just Happen: Chances are that you’ve had clients who were absolutely thrilled with the home you built for them. Maybe they told their friends and families about you. That’s great, but that kind of word-of-mouth endorsement only goes so far. How do some builders get glowing testimonials and referrals on their websites? They ask for them! Even if your clients are delighted with your work, they’re probably not going to post a referral unless someone asks them to. If you’ve made someone happy with your work, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral!
Good Referrals Don’t Always Start Out Great: Some of your clients may be quite eloquent. Others may not be as gifted with words. It’s OK to edit their comments—as long as you don’t change the meaning of their words. Sometimes you may need to shorten a comment or make it clear. It’s never a bad idea to run the edited comments past your clients (and explain that you needed to make is shorter or to emphasize something). Ask them if they still feel that your re-work accurately represents their thoughts.
Good Referrals Go Beyond, “We Love Our New House!”: Nobody expects to read a referral that’s not good. But “we love our new house” doesn’t really tell people much. Ask clients to describe the process or to pick out particular challenges you overcame for them. Try to get at the things that highlight their trust in you to do a good job.
Good Referrals Are Current: It’s OK to have some great referrals that are a little less than “fresh.” But you’ll want to review and update the comments that people make. If all of your testimonials and referrals are years old, it can make readers wonder about your current capabilities. Plus, search engines love fresh, new material.