If you were looking for a landscaper, what would you do? You probably would ask around your friends and family to see who they use and if they are happy before searching any other way.
Referrals are a great way to get leads. Not only are they cheap, but they are usually very strong leads. With referral leads, you have a much higher closing rate as in you win more of the estimates, and usually at higher prices.
To get referrals, it is important to note that obviously you need to be doing good work and your customers must be happy and you must provide them with a great experience. If you are a doing a hack job when someone asks their friend if they know of a lawn service, they will say yea I am using one but I am not happy with them and would not recommend them. This, obviously, will not help you get referrals.
I was at a new dentist the other day (referred to by my sister) since I was unhappy with my current dentist. She raved about them! She talked about how nice everyone was and how clean and professional they were. When I went there, I was also very impressed! This was such a different experience from my past dentist. The people were nice, full of energy, and showed me around the office. They were very professional and modern. They even gave me a free gift bag with a water bottle with their name on it! Interestingly enough, they said they picked up all of their business on referrals. And this place was growing rapidly. Point I am making here is if you give your customers a great experience they will WANT to refer their friends and family which is free advertising to you, a pool of great, solid, higher paying leads.
Referrals will come in naturally, like when a customer sees your guys working next door or neighbors talk. But it is always helpful to give incentives to encourage the behavior you want from your customers. That is why we currently send out $25 gift cards to all new clients that sign up for service. It is a referral gift card-so if a neighbor wants work done, they will give out that gift card to their neighbors. It makes the client feel like they are giving a gift to their neighbor.
In addition to the gift cards we send out to our new clients, we send the new clients a $25 prepaid debit card for themselves. The idea behind the prepaid debit card is that every time the customer uses the debit card, they will see our name. It drills our brand into their head and associates it with something positive (free money!) The image above illustrates this process.