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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
At what stage of your sales process do you provide references to prospective customers that ask for them?

What steps do you take to be sure your past customers are ok with being contacted?

How often would you offer a past customer as a reference if they were ok with it?

How many times would you offer a past customers name as a reference if they were ok with it?

I get turned off by the idea of anyone bothering my customers for any reason. It seems like it would be a nuisance to them but no one has ever said no or complained about it. They are always enthusiastic about it.

It seems they like to brag about what a good decision they made. LOL. I think psychologically it's called validation.

I don't think it is my past customers responsibility to help market my business but they sure do a hell of a good job at it.

Where we are lucky is our purchases are some of the largest and most exciting. IT isn't an every day event that someone spends the kind of money that construction costs so they seem to like to talk about the experience with anyone that will listen. Lucky for all of us.

I do invite very serious prospective customers to our current project with the customers permission and that has worked very well for us and the two seem to enjoy chatting.

Thoughts?
 

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Electrical Punk...
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571 Posts
At what stage of your sales process do you provide references to prospective customers that ask for them?

What steps do you take to be sure your past customers are ok with being contacted?

How often would you offer a past customer as a reference if they were ok with it?

How many times would you offer a past customers name as a reference if they were ok with it?

I get turned off by the idea of anyone bothering my customers for any reason. It seems like it would be a nuisance to them but no one has ever said no or complained about it. They are always enthusiastic about it.

It seems they like to brag about what a good decision they made. LOL. I think psychologically it's called validation.

I don't think it is my past customers responsibility to help market my business but they sure do a hell of a good jib at it.

Where we are lucky is our purchases are some of the largest and most exciting. IT isn't an every day event that someone spends the kind of money that construction costs so they seem to like to talk about the experience with anyone that will listen. Lucky for all of us.

I do invite very serious prospective customers to our current project with the customers permission and that has worked very well for us and the two seem to enjoy chatting.

Thoughts?
I'll only do that if I think it will make the sale,and I'll have them call friends who I know are willing,I really don't want my current clients bothered by sudden phone calls from people that they do not know.
 

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Sophisticated Siding Guy.
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528 Posts
After I receive final payment I typically send out a "How did we do" card. All they have to do is fill it out and drop it in the mail. One of the questions is "Can we use you for a reference?".

That being said I include a list of a dozen or so in all my proposals. I find most don't even call if they see the list before asking.
 

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Focusing on solutions.
Hardwood floors/custom cabinets
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We average about 40% of our clientele offering to give us a referal. Probably 20% say if I ever need someone to come see our work in their home. It's rare that I have to take them up on their offer, but it's nice to know I've got people who will let our prospective clients into their home or speak up on our behalf.
 

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Design/Build Remodeling
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We have a non-disclosure clause in our contract. If asked for references, I simply state that “I must get permission to give out the names and telephone numbers of any of my past customers”. My next statement is a closing probe: “Let’s make sure we clear all other hurdles before I ask for permission. Are my references the only thing preventing us from moving forward on the project?”
 
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PoleBarnsNY said:
At what stage of your sales process do you provide references to prospective customers that ask for them?

What steps do you take to be sure your past customers are ok with being contacted?

How often would you offer a past customer as a reference if they were ok with it?

How many times would you offer a past customers name as a reference if they were ok with it?

I get turned off by the idea of anyone bothering my customers for any reason. It seems like it would be a nuisance to them but no one has ever said no or complained about it. They are always enthusiastic about it.

It seems they like to brag about what a good decision they made. LOL. I think psychologically it's called validation.

I don't think it is my past customers responsibility to help market my business but they sure do a hell of a good job at it.

Where we are lucky is our purchases are some of the largest and most exciting. IT isn't an every day event that someone spends the kind of money that construction costs so they seem to like to talk about the experience with anyone that will listen. Lucky for all of us.

I do invite very serious prospective customers to our current project with the customers permission and that has worked very well for us and the two seem to enjoy chatting.

Thoughts?
I send a word document along with my proposal with names email and phone number of my past jobs. I ask permission and tell the reference what I will do with the info . It helps me win work big time. Even on my online reviews such as houzz there are real people real customers leaving me a review. Last year my biggest exterior re paint job was won by the HO contacting 4 yup 4 of my references. I ask all my clients if they mind 90% don't some might not want to give out a cell number but all give there contact email or home phone. I would never hire a contractor without checking at least 3 past clients and real clients not friends.
 

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ive had mixed views on providing references to prospective clients..Everyone asks but not everyone signs up..

I got tired of giving references of past clients, so i tried a different approach..I began to value my past clients privacy and wasnt so quick to give out their information unless they was really nothing else standing in the way of making a decision regarding moving ahead with us.

you guys may not agree with that approach but it limited the amount of clients info i had to give out..
 

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Marketing Ninja
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26 Posts
At what stage of your sales process do you provide references to prospective customers that ask for them?

What steps do you take to be sure your past customers are ok with being contacted?

How often would you offer a past customer as a reference if they were ok with it?

How many times would you offer a past customers name as a reference if they were ok with it?

I get turned off by the idea of anyone bothering my customers for any reason. It seems like it would be a nuisance to them but no one has ever said no or complained about it. They are always enthusiastic about it.

It seems they like to brag about what a good decision they made. LOL. I think psychologically it's called validation.

I don't think it is my past customers responsibility to help market my business but they sure do a hell of a good job at it.

Where we are lucky is our purchases are some of the largest and most exciting. IT isn't an every day event that someone spends the kind of money that construction costs so they seem to like to talk about the experience with anyone that will listen. Lucky for all of us.

I do invite very serious prospective customers to our current project with the customers permission and that has worked very well for us and the two seem to enjoy chatting.

Thoughts?
Great question. I recommend shifting the focus here a little bit. Rather than provide references for your jobs, elicit testimonials from satisfied customers.

You can develop a short, 3-5 question survey for them to answer regarding their experience. Or you can be more informal about it. Better yet, since you're selling a very expensive product, ask for video testimonials. Get your customers to spend 30-60 seconds talking you up on camera. Not only should this alleviate the need to further contact past customers, it can be used as a sales tool with all new leads.

Testimonials are powerful. I don't see any on your website. Do you think your prospects would have more confidence if they saw testimonials on your website?
 
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