Published by Kartik Subramaniam
Referrals are perhaps the most powerful tool you have for building your real estate career. While you can market heavily online and locally, there is nothing more powerful and meaningful than having an existing client recommend you to their friends and family. Consumers trust other consumers in every business. The question is, how do you encourage your clients, then, to recommend your services to others?
The first step in getting referrals is the most challenging. You have to go above and beyond, exceed expectations, and deliver more than what the client expects. That’s a lot to ask for, of course, but it is what helps people to remember you and want to tell the world about you and what you did for them.
At the very heart of this, you should provide excellent service to your clients:
⦁ Respond to them as soon as possible.
⦁ Find solutions to their concerns.
⦁ Work outside of the normal business hours if they need you to.
⦁ If they are worried about the cost of a repair on a home, set up a quote for them.
⦁ Provide recommendations for service providers they may need within their budget.
There are many simple things you can do to address the needs of your client. Most importantly, listen to them. See what their goals or concerns are and provide solutions.
When a transaction is successful, it is always important for you to thank your customers. Yet, that is not enough. Take a few minutes and talk about how important they are to you. Ask that if they have friends or family planning to buy or sell that they take the time to recommend you.
You can also ask for your satisfied clients to also share a review of your services online. While real estate agents may find this to be a bit awkward, most consumers are more than willing to do so when they are happy with the service they received. Send them an email with a link to streamline it. Don’t be shy :) - Link them to your Yelp or other review pages.
Whether through the local Chamber of Commerce, city council, religious organizations, or professional associations, the more connections you make, the more opportunities you create for referrals. The key is to get to know people who work or live within your ideal area.
When you got your real estate license, you knew the value of developing networks – it is a key component of learning to market your services. Now, work to build those relationships on an ongoing basis. You don’t necessarily have to donate money to create these opportunities or spend a lot of money on the process. Instead, focus on just getting to know people. Give people the opportunity to say to their friends, “I know a really good Realtor…”
When the home sells or the buyer moves into their home, your job is not done yet. While officially it may be, this is the perfect time to follow-up with the buyer or seller to get more insight and clarity. Perhaps a month later, send them a note. Provide a card with a few recommendations of local restaurants. You can even reach out to those restaurants and small businesses to request a coupon you can offer. You can also just send a bouquet of flowers.
If you want to create more of a personal relationship, connect with your clients with a formal email or even a lunch appointment. Ask them what they thought of the process. What could you have done better? Learn more about what their expectations and needs are going forward. Provide a few business cards, so they can recommend you to their friends.
Some of the best referrals come months – even a year – after a client has approached you about the prospect of buying or selling a home. This is a big decision for most people. As a result, they need to be able to think about and work out the details of the transaction before they commit to the process.
Be sure to have your new inquiries provide an email so you can send them information about current market conditions, new opportunities that come up, or other services and offers that may help. Emails sent consistently and over a period of time, allow you to remain fresh in the minds of your would-be clients. When it is time for them to do their deal they are more likely to call you.
Another fantastic way to keep your image and name in front of people is by giving branded material away. Whether it is a water bottle they can use for years with your logo on it or a t-shirt, the goal is to keep your brand in front of them long term.
Imagine the client that buys a home from you having a branded hoodie from you – perhaps you gave it to them as a thank you gift. They wear it often. They receive questions about it and can tell their friends and family all about your business as a result. This is a fantastic way to get your clients to keep talking about you long after they purchase a home.
When you become a Realtor, value every relationship you create. Whether it is in meeting friends of friends or connecting with clients that call your office, you need to build a connection. When you really do connect with these leads, you create long-lasting opportunities for them to remember you and the services you offer. People love to share good things about those they know. You want to be one of the people they talk about in a positive manner.
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