A word-of-mouth recommendation that accompanies a warm referral not only comes with a seal of approval, but a testimonial of the value that you offer.
Building your business by referral is cost effective and a strategic way to grow your bottom line.
A referred client can also save you money. Your time spent marketing as well as the cost associated is reduced, allowing you to focus on the customer experience and not the customer search. The additional benefit is that this is a third party recommendation. This means that your new referred client is less likely to jump ship due to the built in trust and loyalty.
However, referrals do not just fall from trees. It is your job is to help your past client database spread the word by understanding how they can help.
1. Be Prepared
Your first requirement is simple – get prepared to pick up the phone and ask for that referral. Knowing what to say and how to ask is a breeze as long as you recognize what makes you and your services valuable. Take a few minutes to describe in 2-3 sentences who you are, what you offer and who you can assist. Your enthusiasm will be felt through the phone if you put your heart into this.
Once that is complete you will want to get comfortable with expressing that information to a past client. It is important that you not stumble through your conversation. A great way to prepare is to write them down and then read through them prior to making the call. This does not mean that you should sound like you are reading a script. You want to relax and feel at ease with the conversation.
You can also record yourself or role-play with a friend or colleague to feel calm, cool and collected by the time you make your first call.
2. Build a Cross Referral Partnership
One way to build your referrals is through a mutually beneficial relationship of cross referral reciprocation. What does that mean? It is the act of asking your past clients how you can aid in the growth of their business.
The success of a cross referral partnership does not lie as much in the doing as in the asking. Asking questions about their business will offer insight into what type of referrals they would like to receive. In other words, take the time to listen and get to know their business.
Be aware of what makes them tick and what it is they need from you. By learning the ins and outs of one another’s business, you open the gateway to exponential growth within your business as well as theirs.
3. Provide Valuable Resources
Providing valuable tools and resources to your database on a consistent basis builds trust and loyalty over time. Decide what it is your clients are most interested in and then get it into your calendar.
Send an “item of value” each month. Whether it is a neighborhood event, home buying or selling tip, or answers to their most frequently asked questions, stay top-of-mind with relevant information. Remember: what you give away for free will eventually come back tenfold as past customers refer friends, family and co-workers who are interested in buying or selling their home.
Challenge yourself today to make the art of asking for referrals a part of your business. Consistently asking can turn your past client database into your marketing dream team!
To read this article on Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate’s blog, “Clean Slate,” visit: http://bhgrealestateblog.com/2012/06/07/build-your-business-by-referral-explode-your-results/