How To Create A Successful Architect Referral Business
Although we don't advise that architects rely on referrals alone (not a good idea in this economic climate), it's still important to build a successful architect referral business.
These are the three ways to build a successful architect referral business.
Step 1 – Deliver Measurable Results
As Bonnie Raitt said, ‘Let’s give them something to talk about.’ Focus on delivering measurable results, where possible. Show them where your service is superior by documenting your proven results.
Then, promote the living daylights out of the value you’ve created.
Step 2 – Claim It
This step is simple. First, on your website, business card and newsletter, use the following statement (personalized to you): ‘Richard Petrie Architects is proud to be a referral business. Over 70% of our clients are retained by being referred by existing clients.’
The key here is you are claiming this status as if it were unusual. Although everyone can say that, they don’t. That’s the difference.
Claude Hopkins helped take Schlitz Beer from #5 in the U.S. market to being neck-and-neck with #1 in just a few months. How did he do it?
All the beer companies were talking about how ‘pure’ their beer was. Hopkins was the first in the industry to explain in detail what exactly ‘pure’ meant, and the pains Schlitz Beer went to ensure purity in their brand beer.
The irony is that ALL the beer manufacturers used the same process, but by the time they got around to claiming that fact, they just appeared to be copying Schlitz.
Step 3 – Reward It
Then, when you present your fees, ask, ‘Do you want the normal price or the referral price?’ Give this choice both orally and in print. For those who choose the referral price, make prospective clients well aware of your ‘Terms and Conditions’ very early in the sales process of your architect referral business.
These state that you will expect 3 letters of introduction over the next 12 months and a video and written testimonial about the whole process and outcome.
In return, they might receive a discount, which might look very similar to today's fees (but a lot less than the new non-referral fees), or you can include some bonus services like a before/after sketch of your project that's framed and signed by the architect.
One last thing about your architect referral business …
Okay, let's face the tough part of this. The only hard bit is the mindset shift about asking for referrals as a condition of doing business. But there are three methods to move past this irrational fear.
- Get over it. Your clients are often business owners themselves and will think you are mighty smart for asking. It's just common sense.
- The client doesn't have to take the referral option, but discount = referral terms.
- Remember that people don’t mind giving referrals. They usually do this anyway. This is exactly the process I am going to use with my private clients from now on.
Remember, referrals should be a healthy part of your marketing strategy, just not the whole strategy.
Don't lose momentum! Our next article is one of our most popular. Check out The Secret Technique To Overcoming Client Fee Objections now.