Getting referrals is the core part of any successful real estate agent’s business. Whether those referrals come from past clients or come from other sources. It’s ideal for an agent to make every effort to nurture and leverage every referral they are handed. This would include making a strong first impression coupled with consistent follow-up and providing each referral with the best experience possible.
Now some of the greatest assets an agent could have include tools for assisting with follow-up, resources for obtaining more referrals, and confidence in themselves. Without these core elements, the below tips and tricks are merely a waste.
- 1. Utilize Your Current Clients as a Goldmine For Referrals
- 2. Create Events That Your Audience Wants to Attend
- 3. Make a Great First Impression on Other Agents
- 4. Attend Events With the Mentality “I am here to help others”
- 5. Be a Referral Source For Others
- 6. Sign Up For Referral Sources
- 7. Keep an Eye Out on Social Media
- 8. Build an Online Community
- 9. Be Local
- Concluding Notes on Real Estate Referrals
1. Utilize Your Current Clients as a Goldmine For Referrals
“90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others”
Providing a smooth buying process is just the start of a journey with your clients. It’s what will set the tone for your relationship going forward and should help keep your relationship strong past the sale.
Utilize Your CRM
Agents today utilize their CRMs as an efficient way to stay in touch with their past clients. Building your CRM to send informative content that your clients care about, local events you think they might like, market updates, ect. Is a great way to stay top-of-mind, whenever your client is looking to buy again or refer you to their friends and family. Depending on your CRM, it’s possible to have birthday cards sent to your client’s homes, have 1 year home anniversary cards sent to your clients, or (for married clients) you could have a “Happy Anniversary” postcard sent to your client.
These touchpoints and communication points are an excellent way for real estate agents to always be on the mind of your clients when their clients are looking to purchase another home or refer you out to their friends and family.
Going Beyond Your CRM
Nowadays, agents are going way beyond just relying on their CRMs to stay in touch with their past clients. They are now utilizing social media to send personalized videos on birthdays and special life events (birth of a child, anniversary, loss of a loved one, ect.). This added touch of personalization goes a long way in reassuring your clients that you care for them as their agents and sets the tone that you would put that same care toward the referrals they send you.
It’s okay to ask your past clients for referrals as well. Many are afraid to do so, but asking 2 or 3 times a year could bring you more referrals. To them it doesn’t appear as needy or inappropriate, it is just viewed as a nice reminder.
2. Create Events That Your Audience Wants to Attend
“47% of buyers used an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative and 13% used an agent that they had worked with in the past to buy or sell a home.”
We’ve found 2 very solid ways of approaching events and creating events that your past clients and their sphere of influence, would want to attend.
First, utilize Facebook events as a measure of marketing data and an area to collect some ideas. (This strategy works best if you and your clients are connected on Facebook) In the discover events section, you can limit the view to strictly “Friends” and this will show you which events your Facebook friends are attending or are interested in.
Once you’ve taken a look at a number of events and notice a pattern in the events (they are attending country music events, brewery, food tasting, ect.). You’ll be able to draw the conclusion that your clients and their sphere of influence, would be interested in events that contain some of those elements. Better yet, if you notice that many have RSVP’d for the event, you could show up (assuming it’s a public event).
Deep Dive Your Past Clients
The second is to think through the last few people you sold homes to and what they have in common. Maybe of the last 20 homes, you sold, 15 of them had kids between the ages of 5 – 12. If that is the case then think through events that parents could bring their children to. Some good events to invite parents to our Smore Saturday, where you can set up a firepit or marshmallow roasting machine and invite your clients and their friends to join. Sometimes the majority of your home buyers are over the age of 65 and hosting or inviting them to a local bingo game that you sponsor is the best route to take.
Let’s take age and kids out of the question. Take another look into your market is see if many of them are fans of wine, a sport, or similar activities. These interests are great ways to bridge the gap between age and kid status. Having a wine and cheese night, for your wine drinkers or a Superbowl watch party for your sports enthusiasts, can be great events that bridge the gap, between your different age groups.
3. Make a Great First Impression on Other Agents
When you introduce yourself to another agent, what you do lead off with? How do you start that conversation? How do you present yourself?
That first introduction that you have with another agent whether online or in person, is crucial to establishing a sense of trust. When that agent first meets you, they need to know they can trust you with their referral, they need to know that you’ll provide their referral the best service, and they need to know you can close the deal.
So before you begin talking to other agents at networking events or submitting your pitch to them online. Be sure that it comes off as confident, reliable, and professional. Establishing a good relationship with a referring agent early could lead to many more referrals coming from them down the road.
There is a reason why the halls, bars, and coffee shops of a real estate conference are filled with agents networking with other agents. It’s because agents are utilizing the time before, in-between classes, and after the classes to network with each other. In this networking time, many agents are looking to meet other agents that are in niches that they don’t cover, covering areas outside of their scope, and learning about what’s working (marketing-wise) for other agents.
This in-person networking is so crucial for establishing great referral relationships with other agents. For an agent, this allows them to gain potential referrals from other agents, but also provide agents with the referrals they have.
To best approach other agents, first become friends with them. If your only interest in meeting the person is for selfish reasons, then your relationship with them won’t be strong and you’ll be less likely to earn the referral. This is why it’s crucial to get to know the person, their hobbies, family life, and interests. Then proceed to talk about work, who they work for, and where they specialize in. Toward a dip or end in the conversation, end with “It was a pleasure meeting you. I’d love to exchange business cards and send you any referrals I receive in your market and would like to be considered for any you have in my market.”
Be present in the groups and not just the DMs. Everyone in a Facebook or clubhouse group can see who the top commenters and posters are. This means they can also see if you’re just in the group to collect referrals or if you are truly there to contribute to the welfare of other agents. Also, being someone who commonly posts and comments, could gain you credibility and show off your personality a little bit.
When it comes to pitching for a digital referral, be sure to have 3 – 5 different pitches ready. Your pitch should speak to the person looking to refer business out and shouldn’t just be your life memoir. They should also speak to the situation of the client and be a game plan of how you can help aid in the home buying process.
4. Attend Events With the Mentality “I am here to help others”
When you’re attending local networking events, go in with the mentality of helping others. Too often networking attendees ask “What’s your name and what do you do for a living?”. This is the wrong approach and unfortunately creates the mentality that if the person I am talking to isn’t _____ then it’s a waste of my time.
There are 2 practices that you could choose, based on the event and your speaking style.
F.R.O.G – Family, Recreation, Occupation, and Goals. Michael Maher teaches this method of networking, where you first ask the person if they have kids or are married. Next, you begin to swing the conversation into talking about what sort of activities they are interested in, followed by what their occupation is and what their goals are.
That is because, once you know what their goals are, then you’ll know which of the 3 areas in their life is most important to them on that day. Which can help steer the conversation into the topic they would be most interested in. Also, you could think through if you have any solutions for their goals. Regardless, it’s important that when you follow up with that person via email later. You personalize that email by providing an article or touching back up on their goal.
Our other approach is Partner Networking. Find a person or 2 and ask them to describe the ideal person they would like to meet at this networking event. Then let them know that you’ll make it your goal to find that type of person at the event or outside of the event for them. This will typically trigger them to do the same for you.
This approach is ideal for when you go to a networking event and the first few people you meet aren’t your ideal audience. By going through with this approach, you’re able to leverage and help leverage business relationships. Which in turn, helps build trust between you and the person (or people) you are Partner Networking with. Leading of course to that new relationship, referring your business, and expanding your network outside of just the people you meet.
5. Be a Referral Source For Others
Be a networking and referral machine for your community and for your clients. This includes having a list of reliable plumbers, contractors, marketing professionals, accountants, ect. Ready for any request your clients may throw your way.
Better yet, have a referral for just about anything and ask for them to refer you. Many times contractors are working on a job and overhear the upgrades for the home in prep for selling the home. When they hear that, you want to be the first name they say if the homeowner doesn’t have an agent representing them. This is the same for if you’ve been referring someone to a decent amount of accounting work when they have clients looking to buy homes. You want to be the one they refer that business over to.
6. Sign Up For Referral Sources
Signing up for 1 or 2 paid referral sources can help supplement you with a lead flow when the market is slowing down. This is also a great option for newer agents that are looking to get their feet wet in the referral game.
However, be sure to stay away from referral source websites that charge an extraordinary amount to be on monthly. You really want to keep your costs low on a monthly basis and stick with sources that may only take a small percentage of the overall commission.
7. Keep an Eye Out on Social Media
Join as many real estate groups as you possibly can! Members of national real estate Facebook groups and even local Facebook groups are always looking to refer out some business. Aside from these groups, be sure to join local “Things to do” and city groups where everyday people are discussing local companies and news. Every so often, you’ll find someone reaching out to find a local agent or a business that you refer work out to and it’s important to do your best to respond to those requests as quickly as possible.
8. Build an Online Community
Build a community website or social media group that refers businesses out. As an agent, you’ll want to share your referrals in those community groups and have others refer business to you in those groups. This is a great way to reach a large number of local businesses and potential referral customers.
9. Be Local
If you can attend large local events, like a restaurant opening, business opening, or a large event. At every event, you attend that is large in your local community, you’ll find the news or local influencers covering the event. Meeting and potentially being someone they meet on their content, can bring you more leads. But most importantly, nurture those relationships since they will have a large network of locals to refer business to you.
At local events, you’ll also have the opportunity to see and speak with past clients and maybe their friends and family. It’s important to stop by and say “Hi”, ask them how they are doing, and introduce you to anyone looking to buy a home. Yeah, it sounds strange, but you never know if that client has a friend or family member at the event that is looking to purchase a home in the next few months.
Meet the local business owners that see the most foot traffic. Spends some time in the local coffee shop and get to know the barista and owner. They are the eyes and ears of the coffee shop and may be able to point out someone in the shop that is looking for a home or even hand out your cards. Yeah, having your cards on a table near the checkout is always great, but it’s even better when the barista or owner is able to talk you up to customers. This same concept applies to bars in your neighborhood. Bartenders and restaurant owners are very well-connected to the community and can be a great referral sources. That being said, make sure to also talk them up and refer them patrons.
Concluding Notes on Real Estate Referrals
Make the most of the referral opportunities that come your way. If you are in residential real estate and want to make extra money on referrals then consider these nontraditional sources. We all know business owners. Are they adding locations, moving or thinking of selling their business? You can make money by referring them to a commercial real estate broker.
Have your buyers decided to rent instead of purchase? Find a reliable property management company that you can refer them to and make a few bucks on that referral. Make sure to have an agreement that when the renter decides to purchase the property management company will refer them back to you. It’s still your responsibility to maintain contact with the client while they are renting so that they think of you next year when their lease renews. In fact, it’s a good idea to reach out to them 90 days before the lease expires to see if they qualify for a loan.
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