Marketing Mistakes – No Formal Referral System

Michael ToussaintMarketing, Window Cleaning Business

Guest Blog Disclaimer: This is a guest blog post by Jim DuBois of Squeegee Pros and Window Washing Wealth. The views, opinions, and positions expressed within this guest posts are those of the author.

Are You Guilty of Making this $52,380 per year Marketing Mistake?

Second in a series. Read part one here.

Mistakes happen. It’s just part of being in business. Marketing mistakes, on the other hand, can and should be avoided if approached correctly. Marketing is critical to any business, and in our business, it is the gas to keep the ‘bus’ moving forward and revenue coming in. What kind of gas are you putting in your bus and is there enough of it?

I use the term “plate” when I refer to marketing. And referral generation is just one of many of our marketing plates. But an important one for two reasons:

1. Revenue as noted above
2. It’s free

Hi. My name is Jim DuBois, and I own Squeegee Pros, Inc., out of NC, and am the founder of This is the second mistake in this blog series. We will point out the most common mistakes that window cleaners all over the world are making in their marketing efforts. Not only will you discover the major mistakes, but you will also learn how to avoid them or prevent them from occurring again within your business.

Mistake #2: No Formal Referral System. (USP)

Referrals and word-of-mouth are a substantial and very important part of your business. With that said, answer this question:

“Do you have a formalized referral system in place?”

Most companies rely on referrals for their business. Yet, these same companies give no thought whatsoever to having a system in place to control referrals. The best part about referrals is how these customers come favorably predisposed to you. They’ll typically want higher-priced services, and they usually will refer even more profitable business to you. We’ve always been taught that if our job quality and our customer service is good, then referrals will automatically occur. Sorry, that’s just not good enough.

Of course, assuming you provide a decent service to your clients, you will gather a few haphazard referrals, but to increase your referrals, you need a formal and proactive system. You need a way to compel customers to happily provide their friends, neighbors, or business associates names and addresses to you, and then a systematized way to force these referred prospects to do business with you. And, a little note printed on your invoices or business card that says something like “we appreciate referrals” just won’t cut it.

There are two groups of people that you should consistently ask for referrals. The first group is your customers, and the second group is your ‘circle of influence.’ Your customers are the most obvious group to ask for referrals because they have experienced your services and have first-hand knowledge of how your business delivers. These folks will always be your best source of referrals. Develop a system for obtaining referrals first from your customers and secondly from other influential people or ‘Circles of Influence.’

Perhaps the simplest way to harvest referrals from your customers is to write a simple letter or email asking them for their help. This letter should become part of your routine system and should go out like clockwork at the given time that you set. The best time to send out this letter is immediately upon completion of a job. If you are providing repeatable services such as window cleaning or pressure washing, then asking your customers for referrals several times a year should be part of your overall marketing plan. And naturally, the very best time of year to do this is during the times when your customers will be most happy – right after the job is completed.

Everything we do in my company is automated or systemized, and there is no exception when it comes to referrals. Click here to get a run-down on many of the things we do at my company to rise above the rest. With referrals, we reach out to every single customer and ask for a referral, always after a job has been completed, whether automatically through an auto-responder generated through the online survey inside the Squeegee Pros website, or manually started within our system through our residential administrator and then automated. An example of this automation that works behind the scenes looks in part something like this:

Automated Message

Systemization keeps marketing on target. The above is a perfect example of this. Set it and forget it.

The Steps:
1a. After a job is complete, the customer is sent a carefully created email from our residential administrator to request the referral. Or…
1b. A customer fills out Online Survey on, and when the survey is submitted, auto-responder instantly sends the customer the same referral generator email request.
2. If the customer is interested in giving a referral, they simply click the link inside that email, and it takes them to a specific referral page on my website.
3. On this web page, when the customer clicks the “submit” button to refer a friend, another attention-getting email is sent to the ‘prospect’ referred. See above.
4. And here is where the magic happens, and we gain referral after referral, completely seamlessly automated.

Now – the second important group that you must work with to generate referrals is the group we are going to call your “centers of influence.”

Centers of influence are other people who have a connection to the same people that you serve. They are not your competitors, but other folks who provide complementary products or services to your clients. They can be a potent source of referrals.

To give you an example, let’s assume that you have a window cleaning company, and that’s all you do. Your centers of influence could be:

  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Maid Services
  • Pressure Washers
  • A Glass Company
  • Landscapers

All of these people deal with people who are prospects for your services. If you’re a residential window cleaning company, then your centers of influence should also include window contractors, door contractors, and architects. Your objective is for your name (or company name) to be the first thing that pops into their mind when someone mentions the word “window cleaning.” To accomplish this objective, the first thing you have to do is form a relationship with some of these people. I would suggest choosing only one, say…, carpet cleaners to start, rather than trying to nurture a relationship with every carpet guy in town.

Become Their #1 Referrer – Before you receive, you must give. Start sending some referrals their way, and they are almost sure to reciprocate. Think about any of your clients that may need their services right now. Then go to the next…

Establishing a formalized and systematic referral system is crucial IF you are serious about growing your business quickly and effectively. Many window cleaners confuse word of mouth advertising with generating referrals. Don’t make this mistake and miss out on another powerful and effective way of growing your business!

Marketing IS your business, not simply one aspect of it. You must change your thinking if you are not managing your business with marketing at the forefront. Not sure which way to turn with your marketing? Click Here for window cleaning business-building ideas.

Take control and become your own marketing expert or let my team help you, and your business will boom. Until next time…

Jim DuBois is the founder of Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of Mooresville, NC. He is the creator of, which specializes in aggressive marketing tactics, the importance of internal company systems, and how to dominate your window cleaning marketplace. All things a serial window cleaning entrepreneur should know to build a huge business. Visit the site for a Free marketing report. Feel free to send any questions or comments to