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Getting it Right

VIEWS: 13 PAGES: 5

"There's business out there, but it doesn't come to you like it used to; you've got to aggressively go out and get it," [Cunningham] says. "The mother lode is your past clients," he adds.

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									 R E MODE L E R SU RV E Y SE R I E S




       Getting it Right                                                                                                                       “We start every development meeting and
                                                                                                                                          every production meeting by asking how we are
                                                                                                                                          doing and inviting customers’ candor so that
                                                                                                                                          we can learn from and can head issues off at the
                                                                                                                                          pass,” he explains.
                                                                                                                                              “It keeps very much alive the idea that we’re
       Cultivating repeat and referral business is best not left to chance                                                                trying to do well by them in order that they
                                                                                                                                          would help us with a referral,” he says.
       By K e n ne t h W. B e t z                                                                                                             Allen doesn’t have an incentive program,
                                                                                                                                          but instead acknowledges referrals with a hand-
                                                                                                                                          written note and a personal gift. “These are our
                 emodelers swear by repeat and referral                               leveraged and there is no dishonor in doing so      customers and we know them. We try to send

         R       business. For most, it’s their lifeblood,
                 with nearly half reporting that repeat
                                                                                      honestly.
                                                                                          Most remodelers accept that passively wait-
                                                                                                                                          a very specific and personal gift that they’d
                                                                                                                                          appreciate,” he says.
       business constitutes more 40 to 60 percent of                                  ing for repeat and referral business may be a           Allen will sometimes ask customers to hold
       their business. A slightly smaller percentage (44                              luxury whose time has passed. At the very least,    an open house or party to showcase a finished
       percent) holds true for referrals.                                             communicating in a variety of ways and on a         job to friends and neighbors. In fact, he recently
           A third of those responding report that                                    regular basis with past customers is an essential
                                                                                                                                             Has your percentage of repeat business
       both repeat and referral business has increased                                ingredient to many of their business plans.
                                                                                                                                          increased or decreased in the last 12 months?
       5 to 10 percent in the last 12 months, while
       another third report that it has increased more                                Referrals shouldn’t be an afterthought                  35
                                                                                                                                                   32.4%
       than that, according to a survey conducted by                                      For Charlie Allen of Charlie Allen
                                                                                                                                              30
       Qualified Remodeler.                                                           Restorations in Cambridge, Mass., referrals are
                                                                                                                                                                         Increased
           For all of its importance, more than 50 per-                               a priority, not an afterthought. “We approach           25
                                                                                                                                                                         Decreased
       cent of those surveyed say they have no formal                                 it differently,” he says. “The world referral is
                                                                                                                                              20
       program in place to cultivate repeat and referral                              in our vocabulary all the way from potential                     15.5%
       business.                                                                      customers through design and development                15               13.5%          12.4%
           For many, their repeat and referral numbers                                through construction and forevermore.                   10
                                                                                                                                                                                             9.5% 8.7%
       are a point of pride tied directly to quality work                                 “I am very likely to say that even after I                                                  5.1%
                                                                                                                                               5                       2.9%
       and customer satisfaction. In fact, comments                                   have collected considerable sums of money to
       from a number of respondents indicate a belief                                 remodel your home that I am actually not done;           0
                                                                                                                                                      5-10       10-15          15-20          >20
       that repeat business flows naturally from satis-                               what I really want is a referral,” he says.
       fied customers and word-of-mouth without                                                                                                     Source: Qualified Remodeler, 2009
       ext
								
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