Remodeler: Building a Referral Base Builds Your Business

by WOHe

Remodeler: Building a Referral Base Builds Your
Business

Baltimore, MD The sales process doesn’t just stop
at obtaining and closing sales, according to Steve Klitsch of
Carlyle Construction Co. in Germantown, MD. Klitsch spoke about how
dealers can create a strong base of referral business quickly and
easily with a little creativity at the Kitchen & Bath Design
Expo ’98, held here in October. Since “kitchen and bath remodelers
have to rely on referrals heavily” to keep their businesses going,
says Klitsch, dealers and remodelers have to understand that in
addition to advertising, they can and should build their businesses
with word of mouth from satisfied customers.

In building a customer referral base, Web sites can be an effective
tool, says Klitsch. “It will be key to invest some time and money
in a Web site, one that’s right for you. It can increase your
referral base, even though you [may] be in a small geographic
area.” Klitsch also suggests on-line profiles, which are similar to
Web sites, as well as linking your Web site to manufacturers’ Web
sites. “Linking with brand-name manufacturers helps increase your
referral base by virtue of your name being associated with them,”
notes Klitsch.

Another, less high-tech way of generating referrals is to “develop
referral incentives,” advises Klitsch. “Personal contact is the
best way to reward referrals.” Klitsch suggests personal
thank-yous, gifts, free home repair services, even contests where
customers can build up credit points for services or discounts
based on how referrals they give.

“We’ve [also] got to educate clients, show them what we’re doing,
invite neighbors and friends to showcase your work in progress,”
adds Klitsch.

“Cultivate referrals from allied professionals, as well,” Klitsch
emphasizes. That includes architects, kitchen and bath and interior
designers, realtors, suppliers, lumber yards and builders. “And
reward them with referrals.”

But what do you do with the referrals once you’ve gotten them?
Klitsch says that referrals are often misunderstood because they
are “not in the bag. You still have to work.”

The sales process then begins with the phone call to the client who
referred you. “It’s a courtesy call. Say ‘Thank you,’ and then ask,
‘What does your friend want? What does your friend like about your
kitchen?'” You’re getting information, explains Klitsch, that will
help close the sale. “[You] want to get more information from the
‘referrer’ before calling the referral,” says Klitsch. This enables
you to ask the right questions, and “get on their level.”

“Good will to existing clients will keep those referrals coming,”
concludes Klitsch.

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