In real estate, we work hard to generate business and get referrals to grow our success. So how do most agents go about getting more referrals without spending a lot of money? Where do we go to get referrals when we don't receive them from our clients? Let's explore some options.
Ask for Referrals
When you close a deal, don't hesitate to ask your client for a referral. If they don't provide one, ask again after they've moved into their new home. For example:
“Hi! How have you been enjoying your new home over the past month? [Client response.] Great! I wanted to thank you again for your business. I really enjoyed working with you and would appreciate it if you would share my name with your friends and family. Do you know of anyone who's looking to buy/sell in the future?”
In addition, give your clients creative closing gifts that include a request for a referral. For example, a basket of apples with a branded note, "You and your referrals are the core of my business".
Utilize your Sphere of Influence (SOI), asking former clients for referrals. A couple of years ago 11.2% of the U.S. population moved. Now it’s approximately 14%. If you have 100 people in your SOI and 14% move, that's potentially 14 sales. Your business will see faster growth if you focus on those you already know.
Referrals From Other Agents
- Inner office referrals. Work with top producers in your office to get referrals from agents that already have a good reputation and following.
- Conferences/trade shows. Connect with agents at conferences, especially when travelling outside of your area. Build relationships and ask them to refer clients that are moving to your area (and vice versa).
- Engage with agents on social media. "Like" and share their posts and post comments to add value. On your social media, share your wins and struggles -- you'll come across as human, making it easier for others to connect with you.
- Create a video asking for referrals. Kevin Ward encourages agents to create a short, friendly video each quarter to share via email, with your personal circle of agents. In the video, ask them to reply to the email, sharing the area they're in so you can refer clients who relocate to their area. Win, win!
No matter what stage of your career you're in, always work on developing a great reputation. This includes your reputation with your clients, other agents, leads that went nowhere, those you interact with on social media and through your blog, among others.
Create a Unique Service or Signature Piece
Create something unique, whether it's a service, infographic, ebook or an article and share it with clients, leads, and those in your SOI. Make sure it's branded and something others will want to share.
Ease of Finding You
You don't want people to have to dig to find your website or information about you online. If you aren't active online, you're making it difficult for potential clients to learn more about you.
Keep your website up-to-date, post blogs that generate comments, comment on social media posts and blogs. The more presence you'll have online, the easier it will be for others to find you.
- User-friendly website (responsive on all devices)
- Active presence on social media
- Business blog
Businesses Associated With Your SOI
Have you considered marketing to businesses associated with your SOI clients? Clients who have coffee shops, work in large corporations, run engineering firms, etc. Ask if you can leave information in the employee breakroom, a bulletin board, employee newsletter.
"Hey, Bob. Isn't Agent XYZ the agent you used to sell your house? I saw his postcard on the employee bulletin board. We're thinking about selling next spring and thought we'd give him a call."
Connections Through School
If you have children and you attend events with other parents, don't be shy about casually mentioning what you do for a living. Share success stories, how happy your clients are, what great homes you've recently found for clients, etc. When they know you love what you do and are bragging about great clients (vs. complaining about bad ones), they'll be more likely to ask you to represent them when they're ready to buy/sell. Consider offering them a discount if you sell their home (5% vs 6% commission, for example).
No matter where you're at in your real estate career, it's important to understand how to generate referrals and grow your business. Ask for referrals from new and old clients, create and maintain relationships with agents outside of your area, and always be aware of the reputation you're building. By practicing these principles, you’ll spend less time trying to drum up new business and more time getting referrals from former clients and other agents.