One of the most significant financial problems building service contractors face is figuring out how to find new janitorial clients. There’s one way that almost guarantees you higher revenue.

Figuring out how to find janitorial clients may be one of the most pressing issues you face. Oddly enough, this is especially true when you’re busy. There are, of course, worse business problems than being busy. But when you neglect your marketing and client retention strategies because you’re too busy to worry about it, you are setting yourself up for failure.

On the surface, that doesn’t make sense. If you have enough business to meet your overhead and go home with a healthy profit, life is good. Eventually, though, that business starts to drop off. If you don’t have a pipeline of new clients, that cuts into your revenue pretty quickly. In a worst-case scenario, you could lose a large client or several smaller clients and find yourself in panic mode almost immediately.

A good referral program, however, can mitigate this situation or prevent it from happening in the first place. Play it right, and your referral program can help you attract new clients and retain your current clients, so you always have a steady stream of work.

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How To Find Janitorial Clients

How to find janitorial clients through a referral program that leaves your competition behind

Figuring out how to find janitorial clients through a referral program can be a little daunting at first, but once you get it going, it can be almost self-sustaining. Is it worth the effort, though? Take a look at some of the data.

  • Referred customers are 18% more likely to stay with you vs. non-referred customers, according to the Wharton School of Business. Some sources even put this number as high as 37%.
  • According to eMarketer, “Nearly 25% of leads generated from customer […] referrals resulted in an opportunity – that is, a prospect who is engaged in an active sales process.”
  • Small Business Trends notes that 84% of buying decisions for businesses begin with a referral. They also point out that a formalized referral program makes you three times more likely to hit your revenue goals.

So, yes, referral marketing works, but what is it exactly? You may know referral marketing as word-of-mouth marketing. They both rely on satisfied customers to spread the word about a product or service. The only real difference is that a referral marketing program is a bit more formalized. It requires a proactive approach from you, as opposed to leaving things up to chance.

It’s not hard to find referral marketing ideas. Some of the most common come with an incentive, such as when you get a friend to sign up for an ISSA membership, you receive a $25 gift card. So how do you start one?

Customer service

Above all, your customer service needs to be flawless. With referrals, you are asking people to recommend you. That puts their reputation on the line. If they aren’t completely satisfied with your work and your level of service, your referral program will never get off the ground, and you’ll be in your office wondering how to find janitorial clients before the next set of bills roll in.

This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It does mean you need to communicate honestly with your clients, you need to fix mistakes when they happen, and you and your team need to be professional.

You don’t have to offer money

Cash and cash equivalents aren’t the only referral bonuses available to you. It might be a good option if you’re busy and have the funds to do it. Certainly, everyone loves cash. A service upgrade, however, may be a less expensive offering, and (you’ll love this) that referral bonus can act as a marketing tool for upselling.

For instance, say you offer a free carpet cleaning to a client as an incentive for a referral. They don’t have carpet cleaning as part of their regular contract, but once they see how amazing the carpets look, they might think about adding that on. They may at least consider it on an occasional basis. You just gained a new client, and you had a chance to upsell to an existing client.

Put limits on your offers

If you want to pull in some business quickly, don’t be afraid of a high-value, limited-time incentive. What that looks like will depend a lot on your specialties, the clients you are working with, and your situation, but some ideas include:

  • 50% off the total bill for one month for the current and referred client
  • 40% off for the current and referred client when they sign a three-month contract
  • Two free months for both the current and referred clients when they sign a one-year contract.

Obviously, these will cut into your bottom line, so approach them with caution. And be very clear with expiration dates, so you aren’t unpleasantly surprised down the road. This type of referral incentive won’t work for everyone, but it could be an effective way to get an influx of new clients.

Promote your referral program

Unless you make a point of mentioning your new referral program, you can’t expect your clients to know about it. Add a one-page flyer to your invoice when you send it to them. Pick up the phone and call them. Put the information on your website, boost it on social media, and make it the headline on your next email newsletter.

There are, undoubtedly, many more ideas and ways you can learn how to find janitorial clients. Some may work better for you than others. However, when you need a powerful way to kickstart your program (and keep your pipeline full of potential clients), mix and match these four strategies.

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