We know from studies conducted by the National Association of Realtors that a large percentage of buyers and sellers get their agent from a referral, and the overwhelming majority of clients say they would refer their agent to others. But just how likely these clients are to actually refer you largely depends on things you are doing (or failing to do).
In this article, I’ll discuss five ways you can maximize the number of referrals you get. But before I start, know that providing great, one-of-a-kind service is a given — it’s the foundation to building a successful referrals-based business.
1. Keep in touch and continue to provide value
Don’t take for granted your relationships with past clients. You may have just worked with a very happy client, and sure, they may refer you to someone right after you’ve helped them buy or sell a property. But, if you don’t keep in touch with them long term, don’t assume they’ll remember the great service you provided and refer you.
Staying top of mind and continuing to offer value to your clients, long after the transaction is over, is a key tenet to creating referrals-based business. Your real estate contact management system will help you keep in touch by making it fast and easy to send an e-newsletter, put contacts on a drip marketing campaign, and more. And if your contact management software has a built-in business directory, be sure to use this to recommend reputable home professionals — it’s a great value add.
2. Ask for referrals and make it clear that you value them
Make certain that both your current and past clients know your business depends on referrals. This means you should ask for referrals at the appropriate times and make it clear on your website, email signature, business card, etc., that you value referrals.
When asking, be specific. Mention the types of people who can benefit from your services, such as those with growing families, retirees, first-time buyers, international buyers, or any other group you specialize in or can be of assistance to. This gets people thinking about friends, family members or acquaintances that they can refer to you.
3. Host client appreciation nights and housewarming parties
Events like client appreciation nights and housewarming parties are great ways to generate referrals and build loyalty. Encourage your clients to bring their friends and family to these events. Your clients will likely speak highly of you to those who attend the events, which means that you have the potential to generate a good deal of new leads. This is especially true when you consider that in any given year, the average person knows three to five people who plan to move (according to NAR).
4. Cross-promotion with other industry professionals
Developing relationships with other industry professionals is a must because these people/businesses can be a great source of new referrals. Cross-promotion refers to working with your network of professionals to promote each other’s services. There are many ways you can do this, such as in each other’s e-newsletter and/or website, and by inviting each other to events you host. One of the best types of events to build relationships with other industry professionals and to generate referrals is a home expert seminar. You can plan, schedule and send invitations for these events right from your real estate contact management system.
When approaching other businesses for the first time, try to learn about their services and what you can do for them. How they can help you will flow naturally from the conversation.
5. Properly close the loop
What you do after getting a referral matters just as much as what you do before receiving one. Thank the referrer in person, if possible, and send them a handwritten real estate thank-you card. Communicate with the referrer every step of the way, letting them know the person they referred has contacted you (or vice versa), how everything is going, and what the final outcome of the referral was. You might also want to send a meaningful token of appreciation.
As well, it’s a good practice to track on an ongoing basis who’s sending you business (who your best referrers are). This way, you’ll know to give these people that extra bit of “TLC.” With a real estate contact management system, you can easily track how many referrals you’re getting and by whom, month over month.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to grow your referrals business. While providing top-notch service is essential, there are a myriad of things you can do to maximize the number of referrals you get. Good luck!
Matthew Collis is part of the sales and marketing team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a North American real estate CRM firm that aims to help Realtors achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing.