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One of the goals of any real estate professional is to build a steady stream of reliable leads. However, when many agents start out in the industry, they rely on traditional methods to market their business and generate leads. Unfortunately, even as they gain experience, they continue to rely on those unreliable traditional methods of lead generation instead of tapping into their most valuable resource—their clients.

Although the transaction ends when your clients sign the papers, your relationship with them doesn’t. When you continue to offer great service to your clients after the transaction has closed, they’ll appreciate the value you provide, and, if asked, will refer you to their family and friends. After all, they want to make sure the people they care about are taken care of.

Think Like a Client
According to a study by Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers trust referrals from people they know. If you’re looking for a good hairstylist, contractor or gardener, don’t you usually ask your friends who they use? If your friends have had a great experience with the service, you’ll trust that you’ll have a great experience as well. The same is true for your clients. If they’re referred to you by someone they trust, they’ll often extend that trust to you.

This is why referred leads are “warmer,” more reliable and often a higher quality than leads received through traditional sales methods. Instead of starting at square one, trying to explain your services and how you work, you can jump into building the relationship and finding ways to help them achieve their real estate goals.

Focus on the Relationship
When you work by referral, your focus is on continuing to build a solid foundation for the relationship. This means staying in touch, finding ways to serve and looking for ways to connect them with other people or businesses in your network. Your relationships drive your business. From those relationships come referrals.

Give. Since high-quality service is your calling card, provide value and look for ways to help. When you speak with clients, listen for a need. Are they thinking of renovating a bathroom? Connect them with a contractor or plumber in your network. Is their child applying to colleges out of state? Give them a book to help them cope with having an empty nest. While these gestures seem small, they show your clients that you care and that you’re looking out for their best interests.

Ask. Many agents think if they offer their clients great service, their clients will automatically refer them. Not necessarily; sometimes they need a gentle reminder. At the end of your conversations, remind them that you’re never too busy for their referrals, or include a reminder at the bottom of your correspondence. This suggestion will stay at the top of their mind, so if a family member or friend mentions they’re thinking of buying or selling a home, they’ll think of you.

Receive. When you receive referrals, acknowledge and reward the referrer with a note and a small token of appreciation, such as a gift card to a favorite restaurant or store. Even if the referral doesn’t lead to a closed transaction right now, it may lead to more referrals in the future. The intention is to reward the behavior, not the result.

If you want to enjoy a steady stream of reliable leads, lean into your relationships with your clients and ask for referrals. Not only will you always have leads in your pipeline, but you’ll also build a database of great people who you enjoy serving. And, what’s more fun than helping people you genuinely like achieve their real estate goals?

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