Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and Referral Tips for Your Field Service Business

By David Crary  

kevin bacon

According to the Oracle of Bacon, Kevin Bacon numbers higher than 4 are very rare. You’re probably asking yourself “What the heck is a Kevin Bacon number?” Basically, there’s a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon where you name an actor or actress and try to connect them to Kevin Bacon. Anyone who has worked with Kevin Bacon has a Bacon Score of 1. Anyone who has worked with someone who has worked with Kevin Bacon gets a score of 2. And so on.

Of the more than 1.5 million (yes, million!) actors and actresses who can be linked to Kevin Bacon, 99% of them can be linked to Kevin Bacon in four moves or less.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you can get from Kevin Bacon to 1.5 million people in just four moves, you can connect with a whole lot of people by leveraging your existing customers. Not only can you connect to a lot of people, but word of mouth advertising is the most effective form of advertising you buy. Here at HindSite, leads we get from customers buy our field service software nearly 3 times better than any other type of lead. It’s a big opportunity.

So how do you do it? Here are some tips:

  1. Love your customers – Obviously, if you do a crappy job, you’re not going to get referrals. So first and foremost do a great job. Treat each job as if it was your own and you’ll be well on your way to success.
  2. Know your customers – Once you’ve done a great job, get to know your customers. Your odds of succeeding are much higher if you first build a relationship with your customers. If you are a commercial landscape management company, get to know the person managing the contract. Make a habit of having a conversation with them every time you visit their property.  The better your relationship, the easier it is to ask for referrals. And, it’s more likely they’ll say yes to a name and face they recognize than one they don’t.

    Also, you’ll want to identify customers who are most likely to refer you. Typically, these are your happiest customers. Do you know who your happiest customers are? If not, you need to find out. Setup a simple survey. If you own an irrigation business and service irrigation systems, after every service call, email a simple 3 to 5 question survey asking your customers to rate their satisfaction. It’s an easy way to identify your happiest customers.
  3. Make a habit of asking – We tackled this in our latest eBook, 33 Stupid Things Contractors Do, but many contractors simply fail to ask for a referral. They’re either too busy, too afraid of rejection or simply forget. Either way, it’s important to ask for referrals from your best customers.

    Determining when to ask is also important. Asking for a referral for when your customer is most pleased. For instance, if you own a snow plowing business, the middle of summer probably isn’t the best time to ask for a referral. What you do and have done are not top of mind.

  4. Make it easy – Everyone’s busy. There are tons of companies I love, but have never taken the time to refer them to others. I’m just too busy to do it. So do whatever you can to make sure referring is easy. Give your happy customers refrigerator magnets with referral information, business cards they can give to their friends or create a simple web form that can capture a minimal amount of lead information.

  5. Make them an offer they can’t refuse – Encourage your customers to refer you to others by giving them an incentive that benefits them – and you. For instance, say you own a landscaping company. You have a customer who loved your work. You’re also starting to get into the holiday lighting business, but don’t have a lot of customers. Send your customer an offer where they get 10% off your holiday lighting service for every referral that hires you for a job. You hopefully gain some new lighting business from a customer, as well as a new customer.

    Keep in mind that an offer isn’t always required. A lot of times, ego is just as effective at motivating people. Hold an annual contest to see who can generate the most referrals and publicly recognize that person. Sometimes, that’s as effective as a discount.
  6. Give and Ye Shall Receive – You want to get referrals? Don’t be afraid to give them to your peers as well. Again, get to know your customers. You may find that one of them is a freelance marketer. Give that person’s information to people in your network. People are much more willing to scratch your back if you scratch theirs first.

  7. Give Thanks – So you’ve got this great new referral, now what? Thank the person that gave it to you! A simple phone call will go a long way. If you want to take it a step further, surprise them out of the blue with a well-considered token of your appreciation.


Have your own tip for generating more referrals? Drop it in the comments!

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