How to Get More Repeat Customers and Referrals that Drive Serious Profits Year After Year

Your phone rings… again.

“Hello! It’s a great day at Happy Painters, _____ speaking, how can I help you?”

“Hi,” replies a woman’s voice. “I think you painted the houses of a couple of my neighbors. I need some painting done, and they said I should call you.”

She already knows you will do a great job. She’s seen your work.

The seeds of trust have been planted.

You must admit. A lead like that beats a paid lead any day of the week.

The only thing better is a repeat customer.

Repeat customers and referrals

These should be your top 2 lead sources. If they are not, then keep reading.

If they are, fantastic. (How would you like them to be 80% of your total lead sources?)

Well, that was the case for us when we built up Burnett Painting before we sold it, and I’m going to show you exactly how we did it.

The Father of Quality

But first, have you ever heard of the legend, Edward Deming “The Father of Quality”?

Edward Deming, was an American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant..

He helped the leaders of Japanese industry to become the #1 economy in the world just 10 years after the USA A-Bombed them to end WWII!

His ideas didn’t fit nor makes sense to American corporations.

American companies were focused on production.

…or focused on figuring out a way to produce more.

As painters, can relate relate, can’t we?

We all focus on how can we get more work done.

It makes complete sense.

If we can figure out how to hire another crew, we can paint more houses.

If we can help our crews to increase their production rates, we’ll complete projects faster which increases revenue.

“Hurry up and get this job done so we can get to the next one.”

I get it.

That used to be my focus too.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t keep working to find ways to improve your production rates.

What I’m saying is that you should re-prioritize your focus from production rates to the customer experience.

See, Edward Deming is famous for helping war ravaged Japan to understand that constant and never-ending improvement (CANI) of quality is the key to not only greater profits but to becoming as world economic leader.

The Customer Experience Priority

But here’s the mind-shift that helped us at Burnett Painting to generate massive customer referrals, repeat business, 5-6 newspaper write ups each year, multiple local and national magazine articles, such awards as top 40 Business, Business of the Month, and Business of the Year, which all compounded into driving serious profits!


Here’s the deal…

When your customer hires you—scratch that…

When they call you for an estimate, they pretty much already trust you’re going to do a great job.

What they are really trying to get a feel for is…

“What’s my experience going to feel like if I hire your company to invade my home?”

This is why asking the Great Experience question will not only help you to double your win rate but will set you up to create another Raving Fan!

If you focus on the “customer experience” vs “great job”, you’ll create more raving fans, who in turn will increase your repeat and referral business which in turn will greatly increase your profits.

Here’s the problem though…

We all feel like we do a great job and our customers are satisfied.

Your feelings can be misleading.

Don’t rely on them.

Well, I’ve got news for you. Satisfied customers aren’t going to help you to drive profits.

Creating a sea of Raving Fans drives profits!

Here’s exactly what to do to increase the rate of Raving Fans:

Step one is to get your team refocused from prioritizing a great job to a great customer experience.

Again, I’m not saying to not do a great job.

Of course, you should do a great job.

But you should get your team refocused on the customer’s experience.

You can have your finest craftsman lay down a perfect finish on a set of kitchen cabinets, but if he’s

  • Smoking in their garage,
  • Listening to political news on the radio,
  • On his phone, while working,
  • Showing up a little late,
  • Not communicating with the customers,
  • Using an offensive word here or there
  • and looking like a slob…

You might have a satisfied customer regarding the work performed,

but they did not have a great experience nor are they a Raving Fan meaning they won’t be raving about their experience with your company to their friends and neighbors.

They will just keep it polite and say, “you guys did a good job.”

Instead, direct your team every morning via a group chat, Let’s provide a great customer experience today!

Then later in the day, follow up with “Hey guys, how’s the customers experience so far?”

This helps to keep them focused on the customer’s experience, which will generate massive customer referrals, repeat business, compounding into driving serious profits!

How cool would that be?

Very cool of course!

Now that you understand how important customer experience is for driving serious profits…

Measuring Customer Experience

…go ahead and create a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to track how your well your company’s customer experience is.

How can you do that you ask?

Great question!

This is the most important part of this whole process.

I was so obsessed about this that I would document our customer’s experience KPI via video.

But I have finally found an easier way to not only track and measure your customer experience KPI, but to automate it as well,

And it’s FREE!

All the Fortune 100 companies which do this call it a Net Promoter Score (NPS) program.

In 2003, Frederick Reichheld wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled The One Number You Need to Grow.

In it, he described a methodology for understanding customer satisfaction, and thus the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was born.

“On a 0 to 10 scale, how likely are you to refer our company to a friend or neighbor?”

That is it, those exact words.

Simple. Concise. Impactful.

I KNOW you’ve seen it before.

Here’s how to set it up…

The key to NPS:

If they give you a score of 1-6, this means they are a detractor. They are likely to warn their friends and neighbors about your company.

If they give you a 7-8, this means they are passive. They may be satisfied, but they weren’t that impressed.

If they give you a 9-10 this means they are a promoter. They are Raving Fans who will tell their friends and neighbors how you exceeded their expectations and what a wonderful experience they had.

Here is how to calculate your NPS

NPS provides a score, ranging from −100 to 100, which serves as a report card, grading your overall customer experience.

The NPS formula

Your NPS numerical score is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors.

For example, if 71% of respondents were Promoters and 14% with Detractors

71% − 14% = 57 NPS

Now remember, NPS score can range from -100 to 100.

So a 57 by national industry averages isn’t bad.

Just as baseline for painting contractors, the average of DYB members is 79.

(As a member of DYB you get to see how others are doing and help drive serious profits alike.)

It’s great to get your company focused on the customer’s experience.

It’s awesome to be able to measure it.

But here is the game-changer that I found for you to automate it and for free.


Register for a free trial, and you can be set up in 10 minutes.

They will let you send to 250 customers.

If your list is larger just select “choose a plan” then register for the $0/month,

And you have full access allowing you to send up to 1,000 customers a month which should be plenty.

Once you send it out, you now have your baseline NPS.

Whether your NPS comes in at 50 or 80,

you now have a baseline to improve from,

and as you do…

I hope that you too generate massive customer referrals, repeat business, 5-6 newspaper write-ups each year, multiple local and national magazine articles, such awards as top 40 Business, Business of the Month, and Business of the Year, all compounded into driving serious profits!

If you get stuck, just schedule a call with me here.

You’ve got this!

-Steve Burnett



About the Author

As a newly single father of two from MI, he struggled to start over as a paint contractor in FL, going door to door. His situation was so bad, even the IRS had mercy on him.

 Feeling completely hopeless, he remembered the story of King Solomon praying for wisdom. Could it be so easy? 

He felt he had absolutely nothing to lose. So, as a bankrupt, divorced, high school dropout, single father of 2 young kids, now living 1250 miles away from all friends and family, started to pray for wisdom.
 And while he continues to wait for the wisdom to arrive, what did come was an insatiable desire to learn and read books… 
Thanks to God for giving him the burning passion to read books, and attend seminars, (oh and winning the wife lottery) he not only cracks the success code and overcomes the struggle, but also streamlines his painting business in less than 3 years, published a how to book, then sold the company. Now he leads a business coaching company for painting contractors so he can help other businesses, like yours, to do the same. Hear more... Or