You can’t just hope you’re going to get referrals. You’ve got to put together a plan and to orchestrate them. You’ve got to have a Referral Rewards Program in place.
Referred customers are better customers than those that come in through an advertisement. They are referred by an existing customer that is very happy with your dry cleaning service. They usually spend more and are more forgiving if you screw up early in your relationship. It would be great if you could get more of this kind of customer—a referred customer.
So how can you kick up the volume of referred customers? What can you do to get more of them in the door and in your van? I’ve got some ideas for you.
Pay A Finders Fee For A Referred Customer. My member’s payout anywhere from $5 to $25 for every new customer that is referred from a current customer. You’ve got to make sure that you thank your referring customer with a thank you letter (hand written is preferred) and a credit to their account. If you forget or you don’t have a system to do this, it will all fall apart. So develop a simple system to make sure that this happens.
Ask For Referrals In Your Welcome Letter or Kit. We send a Welcome Kit to all of our new customers. In this kit, I include a letter about our dry cleaning delivery service. I also include one of our newsletters and a gift. The gift is a microfiber towel with instructions on how to keep their shower free of all the watermarks. I actually use this in my shower. I also have a special envelope in this kit with 5 referral cards. I have a short letter explaining that my business is built with referrals and ask if they could please pass them out to their neighbors. This card gives their neighbors $20 in free dry cleaning and my customer gets $20 for each neighbor they refer. Stephen Moore, one of my very successful members in Atlanta includes a fridge magnet with info on his Referral Rewards Program.
Refer With Your Business Cards. This is a simple one. When you’re out and about meeting people, you can give your card out and write, “$10 In Free Dry Cleaning” on it. Owning your own business is about selling your services all the time.
Referrals From Your Garment Covers. Member Stephen Moore also came up with this one. It’s very simple. It says, “$25 of FREE Cleaning, Refer A Neighbor.” You’re already using garment covers, why not spend a little more to get them custom printed with your logo and the Referral Rewards information. This is another way to keep your message in front of your current customers.
Referral Gift Card. Instead of using your business card, or in addition to it, you could use a gift card for referrals. The message is the same: “$10 in FREE Dry Cleaning” if you refer one of your neighbors. I say neighbors, but you could say “Friends & Family” too. If you’re looking for referrals for your route, I like “Neighbors.” If for your plant, I like “Friends & Family.” If your routes cover most of your town, you can use “Family & Friends” because your referrals could come from anywhere. It’s up to you. This is one of my member’s referral gift cards.
Attach Referral Cards To Deliveries. I do it every six weeks. I wrote a letter explaining the Referral Rewards Program and included 5 Referral Cards. This works real well as a stand-alone announcement. I put the letter and cards in a clear zip lock bag, which adds a little intrigue to it. Within a week after you do this, you’ll see an influx of new referred customers.
Referral Rewards Program Along With Your Reminder Calls. First of all, if you’re not using an automated reminder call to let your route customers know you’ll be picking up tomorrow, you’re leaving up to 20% of your revenue on the table. My customers have been getting my “famous quote” reminder calls for over 10 years now. Don’t have the space in this article to get into how and why you should do this. Go to my blog: DryCleaningMarketing.com and look for the post on this.
I’d recommend mentioning your Referral Rewards Program once a month. On the reminder call, remind them that tomorrow is their pickup and then say something like this: “And don’t forget that I’ll give you $20 for referring your neighbor and I’ll give them $20 too.”
E-mail Reminders Promoting Your Referral Rewards Program. I hope you’re collecting your customers e-mails. If you’re not, you’re missing the boat. There is so much you can do with e-mail that you can’t do otherwise. First of all, you should be sending at least one e-mail per week with your specials and maybe a cleaning tip or some other useful information. I would dedicate one of your four e-mails for the month primarily to your Referral Rewards Program. You can use basically the same e-mail every month. And on EVERY e-mail you send out, you should mention the program after your signature. It should be in every e-mail without fail as part of your signature.
It takes many, many impressions for your Referral Rewards Program to get it in the minds of your customers. That’s why you got to hit them from every direction with your business cards, referral gift cards, reminder calls, welcome kits, garment covers, fridge magnets and whatever else you can come up with. This next idea is the BIG one! This idea ties all of these ideas together. This idea will double or even triple the referrals you get. Are you ready?
The Referral Rewards Contest. A contest will tie all of these different ways of letting your customers know about referring their friends, family and neighbors. I’ve thought long and hard about what I should give away in a contest and this is what I came up with after consulting a bunch of business owners that use contests. First of all, you must have a newsletter to drive the contest. Without this, it won’t work. You’ve got to have some way to explain what’s involved in the contest and who’s winning to drive this whole thing.
We’re using a company called The Newsletter Pro to write our newsletters and luck be with us that their owner Shaun Buck used to be in the dry cleaning delivery business. Shaun says that the primary reason you should have a newsletter is to sell more of what you’re selling, and to get referrals. With that end in mind, the newsletter is the ideal home for contest central.
Back to the contest prize. Shaun’s been doing this for a long time and he’s tested a bunch of contest prizes. I mentioned that an iPad or a Google Chrome Notebook would be a good giveaway. He thought so too, until he tested it. It seems that people that use dry cleaning can go out and get an iPad when they want one. They don’t wait for a contest. Shaun said that you should have something that your customers would not normally buy for themselves. I was curious. What could it be?
It was so simple. He said, “How about a romantic night out with your spouse? You could arrange for a limo to pick them up and take them out to dinner.” And he said, you could have the contest over a 3-month period, not a month. This way it might only cost you $100 per month for the contest instead $300 every month. I liked the idea so much, that’s what I’m doing. And if you call Shaun at The Newsletter Pro, tell him that Greg Colosi sent you; you’ll get $150 knocked off the price of his newsletter program.
That’s it on how to get referrals for your dry cleaning business. I’d love to hear your opinions. Go to my blog @ DryCleaningMarketing.com and tell me. Thanks.
To find out more quirky ideas on how to raise your revenue, go to my blog: DryCleaningMarketing.com or call (888) 661-7992.