How To Get Referral Business | Checkatrade
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How to get referral business

The key to any successful business is a manageable rate of growth. One way to increase leads is by getting referrals for your business.

How do I get referrals for my business?

Increasing your workload through referrals means taking matters into your own hands. Working out how you can get referrals from fellow tradespeople or your existing or past clients varies across different trades.

However, with a bit of thought, you could see the benefits. In no time, fellow tradespeople and your customers will be bringing more work your way.

Don’t forget that word of mouth is the cheapest and most effective way of growing your business. It can be somewhat hit-and-miss though!

When referrals can be structured and monitored, it can really boost your sales and keep your workflow going.

How to get more referrals for your business

There are a number of methods you can try to get referral business in your local area. Getting referral business can vary from region to region, so try out different options and see what works for you.

Provide the best customer service

You would think this goes without saying, but answering the phone straight away, or getting back to emails promptly can really do wonders for your reputation.

Word of mouth about your business can go both ways. If people have a great experience they are likely to refer you to others, whereas they’ll warn people off if they have a bad one.

Simple things and attention to detail can make a big difference to both your customers and your leads:

  • Pick up as soon as the phone rings
  • Quickly get back to people
  • Be positive when communicating

These simple steps will give a great impression of your business. Even before you’ve started any work!

You may be the most skilled tradesperson, but it will not matter if people struggle to contact you.

Providing excellent customer service

Chat and meet fellow tradespeople in your local area

Referral business doesn’t just come through your customers. Many trades will have a trusted network of other tradespeople nearby that they can tap into for work. And vice versa.

Whether or not that involves an official referral agreement, or a more ad hoc arrangement, it is good to have referring relationships with others.

If you’re a plumber, you could find referrals coming through interior designers or builders. If you’re an electrician, you may find work coming from plasterers and kitchen fitters.

Local forums, such as on Facebook or online, can also be a great way to meet fellow tradespeople.

Referrals go both ways, so if you have jobs you can’t complete, you can forward them to someone you can trust. Having an agreement means that you’ll have people in a different industry that will be your advocate too.

Incentive schemes

Everyone loves getting something for free. Incentive schemes are definitely one of the best proven ways of how to get referral business.

These days your customers may want something in return if they recommend your business to a friend.

Amazon gift cards are a popular choice, and as an example, they can be offered to customers for every successful referral.

However you choose to implement such schemes will need a bit of thought. You don’t want to end up out of pocket.

Any incentive should be for a successful referral, with someone booking work or quote, and not just a customer sharing a friend’s contact information with you.

Indirect methods

Boards or signs can be left with your customer for an agreed amount of time. This could be in ways such as in the window, with an A-frame, or a post. Make sure that this is agreed with the customer in advance and does not provide an obstruction to pedestrians.

Even having a visible presence in the area, such as your van, can provide you with indirect referrals for the duration of the job.


Checkatrade directory landing on the homeowner's doormat

Especially if you’re working across a wider radius it is good to tell people in the same street or block when you’re physically in an area. Carrying out a small leaflet drop nearby can really pay off, especially if it’s a bigger project and you’re there working for a longer period. Be sure to include your details!

Feature in the Checkatrade directory.

How can I measure the success of referral business?

As with all marketing methods, it is important to trial and test things as they’re running. Trying to get leads through referral methods is no different.

You’ll need to work out how to track the success of your referrals. If you’re investing time and money you’ll want a good way to track that leads are turning into business.

Volume vs Quality

More leads does not equal good leads. Measuring referral success means seeing how many of those contacts convert to a sale. If you find that other marketing routes are more effective, be prepared to try different approaches.

Return on Investment (ROI)

The purpose of all marketing is to see get more business, through more leads, better leads, and therefore more work.

If you are spending money to support incentive schemes, you will want to make sure that it is being well spent. The same goes for other referral methods.

You don’t want to be spending more money than you end up making. That approach to referrals may help your business in the short term, but it will not bring about long-term growth.

How can Checkatrade help me get referral business?

As all Checkatrade members are both checked and guaranteed, they are trusted by homeowners when it comes to hiring a tradesperson. That trust transfers beyond their initial contact, as 6 out of 10 people who use a tradesperson on Checkatrade are likely to recommend you to someone else .*

Being a Checkatrade member is not just about the jobs you get, it is about the extra jobs you’re recommended for. When you provide great work, and fantastic service, it keeps your customer happy.

Our research has showed that the majority of customers that come through Checkatrade are so happy, they’ll want to tell their friends through word of mouth. Having people recommend your business, and check your profile on Checkatrade, is a sure-fire way to get referral business.

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Key takeaways

  • Referrals provide good quality, cost-effective leads
  • Referrals come through direct and indirect methods
  • Referrals can come through customers or other tradespeople
  • Referrals are helped by incentive schemes
  • Referral success needs to be tracked
  • Referral business often comes through Checkatrade

*Claims are sourced from industry analysis conducted by Deep Blue Thinking in January 2022.

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