2 | Relying Solely on Referrals
This mistake is not unique to new business owners. Well-established pros with a healthy network of past clients may come to rely upon those referrals to keep their pipeline full, and may not invest sufficient time or marketing funds to finding new clients. Many pros in the Houzz community share that word of mouth is one of their top sources for new business.
But, it can put your business in a lurch if the referrals you get are for projects outside your target market, design style, and scope—or worse, if the referrals suddenly dry up. By actively leveraging your network of past clients and collaborators, you can still benefit from a word-of-mouth strategy:
Ask past clients to review you.
Inc Magazine cites data that 91% of consumers read online reviews and 84% trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. If a homeowner comes across your business from another source, like Houzz, your reviews can impress those potential clients.
Use photos to entice new clients.
Schedule photoshoots of past projects, upload the photos online, and give your client a link to share with their network. The client’s friend or colleague may see the post and reach out to you.
Network to get more referrals.
Spend time connecting with other complementary pros in the trades or revive relationships with pros you’ve worked with on prior projects. Let them know you’d be interested in recommending one another to clients who need a renovation team.
“At the start, referrals from a few builders were my entire book of business. One builder restructured and basically wiped the slate clean and started over. More than half of my income disappeared over a weekend. I decided I couldn’t put so many eggs in any one basket anymore. Advertising and getting my brand in front of homeowners year round was a great opportunity for me to potentially have more individual clients. It’s paid off tremendously. My highest grossing projects to date have all been Houzz leads, and I don’t worry about any one revenue stream disappearing again.” Marilyn Kimberly Hill, Marilyn Hill Interiors