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Referrals: Let Your Clients Work for You
By Mark Mathis, General Manager of Agent and Broker Sales for Homes.com
In real estate, leads are the most important aspect of your business. Without new clients flowing in, revenue won't flow out. While advertising and social networking are great ways to connect with new clients, why not use the contacts you already have to bring in new business? According to the NAR, "64 percent of sellers who used a real estate agent found their agents through a referral by friends or family." This makes asking for referrals a great way to create new clients. Here are four ways to ask your current clients for referrals, so you can keep you business moving forward.
 
1. AFTR – Ask for the Referral
The primary reason agents don't receive referrals is because they don't ask for them. Always ask for the referral. According to Forbes, the best time to ask is before your client closes on their home, while you're still involved in the transaction and have their full trust and attention. While your clients may be more than happy to refer you to their friends and family, they may be unsure how to explain what makes you a great agent. To combat this, consider creating a one-page flyer or checklist detailing who you are, what you do, and why you're great to work with. When you ask clients for referrals, leave this sheet with them so they'll know exactly what to tell others.
 
2. Use an Email Campaign
After you've closed with a client, add them to an automated campaign that goes out each month with home improvement and DIY ideas so you can always stay "top of mind" with them. In these emails, remind them you are also available to help their friends and family reach their real estate goals. Be sure your contact information is always prominently displayed in your campaigns and add links to your social sites that will allow clients to rate or share their experiences on your pages. Remember, once a client opens your email, they should know exactly what you want them to do next. A clear call to action is necessary for clients to interact with you.
 
3. Offer a Small Incentive
In some states, your appreciation for a referral can only be expressed in a verbal "thank you." In others, however, you could offer a financial incentive for each referral that turns into a closed transaction. Keep these incentives inexpensive and relevant to the transaction goal. For example, a small gift card shows appreciation without breaking your budget, while a yearly subscription to a meal prep delivery club may be a little excessive. Also, remember that for many clients, having someone they know, like, and trust help their friends and family is all the incentive they need.
 
4. Know Your Value
Remember, you're providing a service to your clients. If you're good at what you do, why would they not want to recommend you to the people they care about? When you ask, assume your clients would be happy to refer you. If they seem hesitant, this opens up an opportunity for you to discuss what made them uncomfortable in the transaction process, which can help you improve in the future.
 
Asking for referrals can feel nerve-wracking if you're not used to it; however, with practice, it will become more and more natural and eventually just become part of your regular closing process. Plus, you'll be creating a great stream of new clients. One of the best ways to generate new leads is by creating a system that works and sticking with it. To start connecting with transaction-ready consumers now, check out Homes.com's Local Connect. Through Local Connect ads, you'll receive property inquiries from active buyers and sellers who are ready to engage.
 
For more information, please visit connect.homes.com.

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