Referrals can be the lifeblood of your real estate business. According to the National Association of Realtors 2019 survey:
- 41% of home buyers and 66% of home sellers found their agent through a referral from a friend, relative or neighbor1.
- The chance of your referral prospects choosing you as their agent or broker is very high with 7 out of 10 buyers only interviewing one agent during their agent search1.
So how can you make sure you are closing 100% of these referrals?
We all can tell when someone is passionate about their job. They are excited, optimistic and self-driven. Are you passionate about helping buyers and sellers? Show this passion on your first contact with the referral. Provide success stories of similar buyers or sellers you have closed and make sure you tell the story about your referral source. Sharing these stories show that you are passionate and care.
As you tell these stories, emphasize how great you are at your job. Share how you constantly communicate with your clients, provide them your expert recommendations, and make sure they understand the entire process. Be excellent at what you do.
Before you contact the referral, find your notes and remember the referral source from the initial meeting to closing the home. Know the names of the entire family, what they were looking for in a home, how many homes you showed them, why they chose the final home to buy and any unique details of the family or transaction. Then create an outline of the story you want to tell. The story should include points on how you were extra helpful, very communicative, and provided expert recommendations.
Suppose your referral source was a family that bought a great family home in a nice suburban neighborhood with great parks. Your story could sound like this:
It was great working with Greg and Mary and their two kids, Sarah and Michael. What a wonderful family that wanted to move out of their rented condo to a nice big home for their growing family. Greg and Mary told me that they wanted a home in the Sunset district, approximately 2000 square feet with a big backyard. I pulled comps for that area and we talked about how much they wanted to spend and the prices in the area, along with the current rates. Working within their budget we started our search. We looked at 12 homes in that area and surrounding areas. We found a four-bedroom home for them on Sunset Street with a great elementary school about 2 blocks away. I remember Sarah saying that this is so big and Michael is just running around in the backyard. I’m so happy we found them a great home and so glad they referred me to you.
Make the story as personal with little details on the buyer or seller and the homes they purchased or sold. These details show that you care about the clients and not just the sale. Then add into the story how great you are at your job and how you are constantly communicating with your clients. All these details show your passion for your clients and how excellent you are at your job.
Create A Great Online Reputation
Even with a personal referral, most people will still look you up on Google or Zillow. The buyer or seller may trust their friend, relative or neighbor, but they want social proof or validation that you are a great realtor and care about your clients. They want to see 5-star reviews about you and your firm. They want to know you will take care of them, make the process easy and understandable, and get them the best price. Reviews on Google and Zillow provide insights that will help your referred buyer or selling choose you.
Create a process or find a solution that helps you get more reviews from happy clients, get these reviews posted on your social media channels and have them shown on Google, Zillow and your own website. This can be a manual process, but human nature and review statistics show that this will ultimately fail. Asking for a review, posting, distributing these to the right website and updating your own website is tedious and time consuming.
Getting a review response also has a short shelf life. You need to ask for a review immediately after closing so the client’s excitement and happy feelings are shown in the review. Asking for a review one week or one month later reduces this excitement, and statistics show you will get fewer review responses.
You need to have an automated reviews collection, posting and distribution solution that does this work automatically for you, like Experience.com (Formerly SocialSurvey). Our solution automatically triggers surveys right after close and emails or texts your clients to write a review. It also asks the client to write a secondary review to Google or Zillow. After the review comes in, it automatically posts the review to your social media channels and your website. This process is totally automated and involves little work from you to create that great online reputation.
Thank and Nurture Your Sources
The final tip is to always, always, thank your referral source. This can be as simple as an email, personal note or as complex as sending a gift card or flowers. You want to get more referrals from this source, right? Then show them you really care that they are referring you.
The 2019 National Association of Realtors survey noted that a typical seller has recommended their agent twice since selling their home.
33% of sellers have recommended their agent three or more times since selling their home!1
Wow, if you are not nurturing your previous clients to get referrals, you are leaving lots of money on the table. Nurturing correctly, you may not ever need to pay to find leads or look for new business.
Look at every home you close as the start of finding your next client. You have created a personal relationship with your clients, don’t throw that away. Nurture that relationship, ask them for a review, provide them with information about home services and thank them for the referral. And if their referral closes, thank them again with a gift. They will remember you whenever they have a friend, relative or neighbor looking to sell or buy. You cannot thank a client enough.
Create your own customer relationship management (CRM) system on a spreadsheet or document or find a solution that can automatically remember for you. Enter the client’s details, including birthdays, anniversaries, closing date, referrals given, notes, emails and gifts sent so it is readily available to create that great referral story and automatically alert you about a client’s special occasions. The more automatic this CRM system is the better you can nurture your clients and get more referrals.
To close every referral, it is the details that matter, remember the details of your referral source and transaction, make sure you are asking for a review and posting it to the right websites automatically, and nurture and thank you past clients for their referrals.
Be passionate and excellent in everything you do as an agent and your reputation and business will grow exponentially.
1 “2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Report” National Association of Realtors, 2019.