By Lesley Geary
Building a Referral Business
TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE NETWORK, September, 2009—Mary Cotton
Prudential Florida Realty
Years in real estate: 15
Region Served: Southeast Florida, primarily Ft. Lauderdale
Average number of days a home spends on the market: For the lower priced houses, if it’s priced right, it sells in about three months. More expensive homes can be on the market for two years or more.
Why are referrals so important in today’s market? They are building blocks. Referrals build relationships that future business can come from. I do a tremendous amount of referral business and it has expanded my client base nationally. When I sent out my first Top 5 newsletter (Real Estate Matters) in my email news blast, I got three referrals. There is more opportunity in this market than you can imagine, but sometimes in a challenging market like this one, you have to work backwards. I find the good deals and take them to my buyers and investors. There is always something to do.
What strategies do you use to build referrals? I love the newsletter from Top 5. It’s perfect for me. I don’t have to do a thing. They are short, they are easy, and they are precise. They give wonderful helpful hints. So I send the newsletters out to everyone and never lose touch. That is perhaps one of the keys to getting referrals. I never lose touch with my customers.
What do you do to make sure you are referral-worthy? Make sure that everyone is happy. I go the extra mile. Customer service, customer service, customer service! I had one challenging referral that required so much attention—I showed her houses for weeks. When she finally bought a house, the sale was for $165,000. She lived up north and wasn’t here for the closing. In order to have the house ready for their arrival, I helped pick out the colors for the walls, had it painted and cleaned for them. This was all after the closing. I get referrals because I’m known for extensive detail work and I don’t disappear when the sale is done. There are so many Realtors in South Florida. I have a lot of competition. I rely on referrals so I give service above and beyond what is expected. I also always remember that “little fish grow up to be big fish” so I do not turn anything away.
Why did you become a Member of Top 5? When I heard about the marketing materials and the newsletter I was sold. I don’t have time with my schedule to be creative so the newsletters are worth their weight in gold. Constant communication with my clients is very important and this makes it so easy for me. The information is current, very interesting, precise and useful. Another important reason is the quality of networking. I know what it’s like to work with Realtors who aren’t professional. Because so much of my business is referral I know that if I am going to pass my client on to someone across the country, if they are in Top 5, I can refer them with assurance.
How are you/will you utilize the Top 5 program to help build your business? Top 5 will continue to help me solidify, expand and grow my business. The current news and information keeps me informed, saves me valuable time and helps me stay in touch with my clients. The professional marketing materials are great. They look good and are more innovative than others I’ve seen. The referral network of such strong experienced agents will help me through both referring and receiving clients with confidence. The sharing of information from the quality of people involved and their expertise is a valuable asset not easily found elsewhere.
What is the key to a successful life in real estate? Be positive. People are attracted to positive upbeat people. Stand out. Go the extra mile. Then know your industry, know your area and put in the time. You can’t do this job part time and do it well.
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