The first few weeks with a new client can set expectations for the entire life of your contract. After a rocky start, clients see the wins your company delivers in terms of “improvement” instead of “value received.”
The tone of your client relationship makes a big difference when it comes time to ask for referrals. Referrals are an important part of running a successful security company. When you take on a new client, you should already be thinking of ways that you can earn referrals down the road.
Of course, you shouldn’t ask them for a referral right out of the gate. You need to establish a track record for prioritizing client success before that. However, right from the start, you can begin setting their expectations in a way that will generate good referrals down the road.
Why You Need Referrals
When it’s time to make important decisions, most people will leverage their connections for insight into which companies will do the best job. Personal recommendations help you stand out in a crowded industry.
Beyond that, referrals help security companies secure contracts without being the lowest bid. Companies that get consistent referrals can usually avoid joining the race to the bottom that will bleed resources and generate low profits. They are especially valuable for landing commercial properties, which tend to be both lucrative and easier to manage than residential buildings.
That’s not all, though. When you start getting referrals, you cut down on time spent marketing and prospecting; that work is done for you. Good, consistent referrals mean you can spend more resources on improving client relations, which can reduce contract turnover — and lead to more referrals.
Why Clients Are Hesitant
However, clients don’t give out their recommendations easily. Why not?
People value their reputation. If you give a referral to a friend and they have a bad experience, that reflects poorly on you. In order to lock in a referral from a client, you need to be exceeding expectations.
In other instances, happy clients don’t think to reach out to their network for referrals unless you ask them. If no one mentioned the importance of referrals when expectations were set early in the relationship, it may never come up.
Here’s one uncommon tactic that sets bold expectations for your relationship right when you start: a promise statement.