In another article, we talk about 10 Ways to Get Referrals. The referral program is a way to honor and show appreciation to your existing clients, while training them to recommend their experience with your shop to their friends, coworkers and family members. There are many great ideas on how to get referrals, but going one step further to set up a referral program is a valuable way to pump up sales.
To actually put a referral program in place, you should design a “referral card” that is about the same size as a business card. On the back, your customers can write their own name and then give the card to friends or people they come across. When the other person comes in and shows you the card, you can credit the giver with a recognition or award. To make it worth the recipient’s while for doing this, you should also give them an incentive, such as 10% off their first service, etc.
Offer a Tiered Referral Program for Best Results
A lot of shops do offer some type of referral incentive, but the standard, free oil change is so cliché. Besides, your clients may refer so many people that they would end up with oil changes for life; and that is just plain boring. Why not think outside the box and offer a unique referral strategy instead?
A tiered referral program is a great idea and it works like this…
- Look outside of the shop and find other businesses to partner with. You can help each other. For example, movie theatres, golf courses, restaurants, bars, tanning salons, florists, nail or hair salons or even a local bakery could become a potential partner.
- You have special cards made up for each business you partner with. This should be easy and affordable. You can order simple cards through online printers for as low as $10 or so.
- Each business places the referral cards at their front desk, where people pay. Always offer or point them out to customers and ask them to use your partners. You send business their way, and they will reciprocate.
- Each partner should put something of value on the referral card. Think of something original and beyond ordinary. The oil changes are too common.
These work like crazy, because while the customers are bored in the waiting room, they tend to notice things you have on display. Having a card station in a prominent place is a good way to get their attention, but if they don’t happen to see it, you should always point at it or bring it to their attention; after they finish getting their car serviced. Just keep it simple and say something like, “Did you happen to notice our referral partners?” and the customers will have to acknowledge the referral cards. Invite them to take some of the services they need, as well as telling them about your in-house referral program.
Givers gain, so when your referral partners see how much business you are driving their way, they are likely to reciprocate. The business owners will gladly send more of their customers to your auto shop whenever they need quality vehicle repair services.