Monday, February 6, 2017

"Determining What A Good Referral Is For Our AIP Business"

The best qualified, most inexpensive customer we can get is from a referral.

Since referrals are so valuable for our businesses, we must make sure we can tell other people such as strategic partners, referring professionals, and well-meaning friends and associates exactly what we are looking for in a top customer or client.

We need to think about and then be able to quantify and express what we consider to be our optimal customer or job scope so that we can share this with others would like to help us by giving us qualified referrals.

People enjoy helping each other, but we have to be specific about the type of customer that can help us and we can help also.


At some point, we will find ourselves at a business reception, a card exchange, a professional gathering, a trade show, or other type of forum where people will approach us. Introductions will take place (if we don’t already know each other), and the discussion will turn to what each of us does. This is not the time to be brief. “I do remodeling” or “I work with seniors” does not help someone understand what we really do.

People are interested in determining if they know someone they might tell us about or send our way (and often they want the same for themselves). They need quite a bit more information – specific.

Using our business model, we can easily answer someone’s question about what we view as a good or ideal referral. We should know the type of customer of client we are seeking by whom we enjoy working with already (age range, type and size of home they occupy, general health, employment or activity status, general income, size of the job typically and how many days it takes to complete, rooms where the work is to be done, features generally installed or replaced, and value of the job).

Notice how getting this specific leaves little doubt as to whom we are looking for in a client and how someone else can help us by producing such a person. This takes all the ambiguity out of our response and clarifies for anyone wanting or willing to help us with a prospect just exactly what we are seeking.

If someone does not have a referral for us at this time, that’s OK. At least they know now what we are seeking and they can watch for such a person in their daily comings-and-goings. They may never encounter a person that matches the type of customer we want to serve, but they may meet several of them.

The chances of us getting a referral are greatly increased when we have a clear idea of who we want to serve, when we can express it clearly, and when the person giving it to us is not a direct competitor. We may have similar business, but we should not compete head-to-head. Their business model should focus on a different price point, type of client, age of the client or of the structure, physical needs or abilities of the client, and overall price and scope of the work.

This way we can feel good about the business we are pursuing, be confident that there are additional eyes and ears at work in the marketplace to help us identify people we can serve, and know that we have others we can refer work to when it is outside what we prefer to do.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.