For buyers and sellers, location is everything. For agents, one could say the same thing about who they know. While many markets are seeing a healthy rebound in the months following COVID-19’s arrival in the United States, agents are relying on their networks more than ever — and for good reason.
There are few (if any) marketing tactics more powerful than a referral. In fact, some surveys point to 60% of referral programs generating a high volume of leads. And though most agents claim to be committed to garnering a steady stream of referrals, the reality is that some will put it off because it seems daunting. If you’re interested in putting more effort into referrals but aren’t sure where to start, check out these five ways that top producers create consistent referrals.
Go above and beyond with clients and other agents
Let’s start with the low hanging fruit. There’s still something to be said for the merits of being a kind, courteous, and attentive agent, and you shouldn’t be surprised if that goodwill is returned to you in the form of referrals. Clients with agents who go above and beyond, as opposed to an agent who simply checks the boxes and shows up when needed, are much more likely to refer their friends and family. The same principle applies to how you treat other agents. By developing good relationships with your peers, you could gain exclusive access to listings or potential buyers before other agents.
Make it worth their while
There’s nothing wrong with showing your referral sources a little love, and what better way to display your appreciation than with a gift? The thing to keep in mind here is that referral rewards don’t have to be expensive. A handwritten thank you note with a small gift card to a local coffee shop is an excellent way to let someone know how thankful you are. Also, if it’s financially feasible, you should make this gesture even if the referral does not result in business. Because if this one doesn’t, the next one might —and you never know when that next referral is walking through your door.
Reach out early and often
A successful strategy for building referral sources is not one that you can just set and forget. If you really want to create consistent referrals, you’ll need to be dedicated and devoted to your craft. That means scheduling your outreach to former clients to ensure it gets done. You’ll need to detail a communications calendar that includes not only when and how you’ll contact your sources but what you plan to say. Some of the best times to reach out are during celebratory moments like immediately after someone moves in or on the anniversary of their closing. There are plenty of customer relationship management tools out there that allow you to categorize and sort your past clients, while also documenting each outreach attempt.
Network, network, network
If you rely solely on your existing circle of influence for referrals, it’s time you broaden your horizons (and your circle). Work the phones, send emails, do whatever you need to do to introduce yourself, or reconnect with potential referrers. For agents, that can include business contacts like mortgage brokers, inspectors, attorneys, and title agents, along with community leaders like HOA board members and local business owners. These allies can be regular resources for agents by providing valuable referrals on both the sell- and buy-side of the deal.
Provide a service, not a sales pitch
Some agents believe the best way to consistently get referrals is to consistently ask for one. But the savviest and top performing agents understand that providing a service is imperative if you really want to land a referral source. As you make your communications plan, think about the value that you can bring to your past clients and business associates. Is it providing a recap of upcoming family-friendly events in your town? Perhaps it’s offering up statistics like a year-over-year snapshot of real estate transactions in the area. Or, maybe, it’s merely a simple birthday greeting with well-wishes for a prosperous year. Whatever that communication includes, you must diversify your message to avoid fatigue among your contacts.