Most builders and renovators will say a large percentage of their business comes from referrals (and, for some, virtually all their business comes from referrals).
Of course, backing up your reputation and the quality of your work are your testimonials (you do collect testimonials…don’t you?).
In fact, testimonials are essentially mini-referrals. They allow a past client, who’s never met your prospect, to provide a referral ‘after-the-fact’ by saying “this is why I did business with this builder.”
Where Most Builders Fail with Testimonials
Most builders will ask for a testimonial and leave it at that. Some may follow-up once or twice, but even that can get annoying for the client, especially if it’s just not that high on their to-do list.
(A company I once worked for continued to follow-up for *three months* to get one testimonial. This, in my mind, is overkill, and not a positive experience all around.)
The problem is two-fold:
1) Clients, as well intentioned as they are, may be too busy with their everyday life to remember, or get to, your testimonial
2) Most testimonials, left solely to the client, aren’t as powerful as they could be.
The Road to Better Testimonials
Instead of simply asking your client “Can you write me a testimonial?”, use these strategies to capture not only more testimonials, but more powerful testimonials, quicker.
Ask you client:
a) what their fears and concerns were when considering taking on a build / renovation, and how your company helped overcome those fears.
b) what their hopes and dreams were when imagining their new home or renovation, and how your company helped create that vision.
c) what services were performed by your company that simply went over and beyond their expectations.
d) Ask if your clients received any help or service that they wouldn’t normally attribute to working with a builder / renovator.
e) Hopefully by now they’re remembering some great things you did…which is a perfect time to ask for a referral. Do they know anyone considering a build / renovation that you could help with?
Finally, make it easy for them to give you a testimonial. You can ask for it not only in writing (the old stand-by, but definitely not the easiest method), but also:
. on voice mail (some businesses set up a number or extension solely for this purpose)
. via a questionnaire form (print out the questions above with spaces beneath for them to fill out
. in a conversation with you (if you do it via phone, you can record the testimonial…just simply ask their permission first.)
You don’t have to wait until you’ve completed a project to get a testimonial. Ask your clients to comment on the progress so far, whether it be the design phase, or how you helped them choose the right contractor (you!), or any other phase. This reminds the client how they feel about your work (hopefully positive!), gives you great feedback, and captures the testimonial before it’s forgotten.
Brett Martinson is a professional coach and consultant to the home building and renovation industry. Builders and renovators can sign up for a FREE subscription to his Successful Home Builders’ Newsletter AND receive his free, bonus 5-Part eBook, “5 Profit-Draining Mistakes Builders and Renovators Make…and How to Fix Them” at http://www.SuccessfulHomeBuilders.com.