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business_referrals_contactsEveryone has to start somewhere. Whether you’re new to the work force or only new to the real estate industry, your literal or metaphorical Rolodex might be a bit bare. But as a real estate professional, your success relies on who you know, and more importantly, who knows you. So gather your contacts to get a jump-start on increasing your business referrals.

First, start by assessing all of your existing personal and professional contacts, regardless of the industry. Although agents, stagers, and mortgage brokers are essential components to a referral network, you’ll want to include as many quality connections as possible; everyone—from a mail carrier, to a hairstylist, to a restaurateur—will have real estate needs at one time or another (or know someone else who does). But it’s important to have a strategy behind your networking. Make sure you’re making the right connections for the right reasons, and your business will soar.

Once you’ve established your existing network, look to expand in your local market. Either join a networking group or establish your own. Sign up with your local chamber of commerce as a registered business and attend their meetings. Also, consider going to business-related neighborhood association gatherings and your personal neighborhood meetings. It’s imperative to be an involved member of the community to make connections and encourage referrals.

In addition to your personal website, establish and maintain social-networking business profiles for a comprehensive online presence; use these online tools to interact with your clients on a regular basis, and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your community and beyond. Be careful not to use this resource as just another platform for a sales pitch. Instead, it should make you relatable to your current and potential clients. You’ll also want to offer universal real estate and home design insight to give your business some additional value.

Because you can’t shake every potential client’s hand in person at first (as is the case with faraway buyers), it’s important to brand yourself both online and through print marketing, as an approachable, local expert. Out-of-town buyers are significant referrals; they are often more motivated to make purchases, and because they don’t know the area well, they’ll look to you for additional referrals for the best drycleaner, pizza place, and more, which only enhances your professional connections. Before you know it, you’ll be providing referrals to agents outside of your local network and collecting a handsome referral fee, too.

Click here to request a free sample of Home by Design magazine and see how you can increase your referrals today.