3 Mindsets That Are Sabotaging Your Referral Program

3 Mindsets That Are Sabotaging Your Referral Program

Todd Jensen

Written by: Todd Jensen | Snoball Editorial Team

Last Updated: May 14, 2024

Are you sabotaging your referral program

Are you feeling like your referral program is just limping along? In the competitive world of home services, it’s not enough to rely solely on a stellar reputation and loyal customer base. What you really need is a dynamic, effective referral program. But here’s the catch: building such a program is less about the setup and more about the mindset. Let’s dive into three mindset pitfalls that could be stalling your progress and explore how you can turn things around to truly energize your referral efforts.

Sabotaging Mindset #1: “Customer Satisfaction is Enough”

It’s a common belief in business that if customers aren’t complaining, they must be happy, right? Wrong. In today’s fast-paced, service-driven market, just satisfying customers doesn’t cut it anymore. The real goal is to elevate customer interactions from mere satisfaction to genuine delight, creating memorable experiences that your customers are eager to share.

Ken Blanchard, a leading management expert, really hits home with this in his book Raving Fans: "Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans." This is especially true in home services, where you’re not just providing a service but are part of enhancing someone’s home and, by extension, their life.

Ken Blanchard profile picture

Ken Blanchard

Author of Raving Fans


"Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans."

Imagine a scenario where an HVAC technician not only fixes a problem efficiently but also takes the time to educate the homeowner on how to prevent future issues. Or a plumber who not only fixes the leak but also leaves the work area cleaner than before. These actions go beyond basic service—they create standout moments that customers love to talk about.

If customer delight isn't your top priority yet, nothing else below will help you. Pause here and reconsider your business approach to customers. Seriously, this is the foundation of any killer referral program.

Actionable Tips:

  • Shift your mindset from “Customer satisfaction is enough” to “Satisfaction sucks! Customer delight is our new goal.”
  • Always look for ways to over-deliver. Whether it’s wearing shoe coverings, cleaning up meticulously, sending follow-up maintenance tips via video, or checking in a week later, every extra effort counts.

Sabotaging Mindset #2: “Our Reps Will Handle Referrals”

Relying solely on your sales team to secure referrals can lead to inconsistent results, to say the least.

You know this is true.

Sales professionals are often focused on immediate sales targets and may not always prioritize long-term strategies like soliciting referrals during customer interactions.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, sheds light on the importance of systems over ad-hoc efforts: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” This insight is crucial for home service businesses aiming to develop a systematic referral approach that operates independently from the day-to-day pressures faced by sales teams.

James Clear profile picture

James Clear

Author of Atomic Habits


"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."

Automating your referral process can involve simple yet effective strategies, such as setting up follow-up emails that thank customers for their business while gently reminding them about your referral program. You can also integrate prompts into your CRM to automatically request a referral when customer satisfaction is highest, such as after a successful service call.

Actionable Tips:

  • Transition from “Our reps will do it” to “We’ve got to automate this or just get used to disappointment.”
  • Integrate referral processes with your existing tools—be it CRM software or even basic spreadsheets—to make it seamless and natural.
  • Include a referral hub or pop-up request on your website.
  • Leave behind collateral at your customers' homes with a QR code linking to your referral program.

Sabotaging Mindset #3: “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!”

If your referral strategy boils down to constantly asking for referrals without giving much back, you're likely going to see your program dry up quickly. Successful referral programs are built on mutual benefit and ongoing engagement, not one-sided requests.

Landon Taylor, CEO at Snoball, highlights that effective referrals often come after multiple positive interactions with a customer, with a significant portion stemming from repeat referrers. This underscores the importance of maintaining regular communication and nurturing a real relationship beyond the initial transaction.

Landon profile picture

Landon Taylor

CEO @ Snoball


"Average referral comes after 3 requests from your customer. Additionally, 50% of your referrals will come from those that have already sent a referral."

Engaging customers means more than just updates; it involves actively seeking their feedback, showing appreciation for their business, and making them feel valued. When you foster this type of relationship, asking for a referral becomes a natural part of the conversation, met with enthusiasm rather than indifference.

Actionable Tips:

  • Shift from a “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” transactional mindset to “Let’s nurture an ongoing conversation.”
  • Keep the communication flowing with regular updates, special offers, and genuine inquiries about their satisfaction.
  • Invite customers to join a newsletter with helpful tips and resources. Give them everything they need right at their fingertips.
  • Recognize and reward those who refer, and don’t shy away from asking again if they were happy to refer once. Spoil them with higher payouts as they increase their referrals.

Change Your Mindset or Become Replaceable

Changing these mindsets isn’t a quick fix; it’s about making strategic adjustments that realign your business’s approach to customer engagement and satisfaction. This might mean retraining your team, adopting new tools, and continuously refining your strategies based on real-world feedback. 

By focusing on delighting customers, systematizing your referral processes, and nurturing ongoing customer relationships, you can transform your referral program into a vibrant part of your business that consistently drives growth and fosters loyalty. 

Ultimately, the success of your referral program hinges not just on the tactics you employ, but on the underlying attitudes and behaviors that define your business’s approach to customer service. Embracing these mindset shifts can help your home services business not just survive but thrive. All powered by referrals from your happy customers.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Let Snoball automate your referral program! Schedule a demo to see what Snoball can do for your business.

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