Are You Asking for, and Getting, Referrals?

Consumer insights on referrals

Referrals work in any business.  Courtesy of Jim Kneiszel and Pumper magazine:


I have a simple idea to get the phone ringing and help fill in the appointment book over the next few months. In today’s world of Facebook and Twitter, this is an old-fashioned – but never out of fashion – marketing ploy: Start asking your satisfied customers for referrals.

Recently, marketing blogger David Frey sent out a short dispatch containing two interesting statistics about business referrals. In a survey of financial services customers in Canada, 92 percent of respondents said they would refer their financial advisor to friends if they were asked. Answering a follow-up question, 90 percent of those surveyed said their financial advisor had never asked for referrals.

As Frey observes, the survey points to a missed opportunity to develop business for financial advisors. Could you also be missing out on an opportunity to broaden your customer base for septic service? You’ll never know until you give it a try. Here’s a simple process you can use to encourage customers to start talking about your fantastic service:

Just ask.

A few days after you pump a tank or inspect a system, call or email a customer and ask if they were satisfied with your service. If they respond in the affirmative, ask if they would be willing to recommend you to friends or neighbors with septic systems. If they answer yes, offer to send them business cards or brochures to distribute as the need arises. Make it as easy as possible for satisfied customers to spread the word about your good work.

Try a referral program.

Sometimes customers will be happy with your service, but require an incentive of some sort to step out and make the recommendation. Set up a referral program in which they receive a modest reward – say a discount on their next service call – if they bring you a new customer. These rewards keep the good will flowing between you and satisfied customers. The more value they receive for their loyalty, the more likely they’ll be to keep the referrals coming.


A personal referral is a rock-solid lead for new business. Sure, advertising in the local newspaper will produce results. A website has loads of potential for expanding your customer base. And don’t forget the promotional power of a well-maintained truck with eye-appealing graphics and logo rolling down the road every day.

Nonetheless, the referred customer wants to hire you before making the call … and is more likely to choose the quality service they’ve heard so much about over shopping around for the lowest possible price.

What percent of your business is the result of referrals?


About Insights From Analytics

Integrated marketing professional who generates insights from analytics to increase revenue. Daily blog now resides at
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