Referral-based business is the backbone of many real estate careers. When a happy client refers you, the leads you receive are high quality, and save you precious prospecting time. That’s why I’m happy to share this blog post with you today from Matt Bonelli. The post first appeared on Inman, and offers up 5 actionable tips for creating a referral-based business as a real estate agent.
Successful real estate agents often quote referrals as their main source of business. However, a lot of agents spend most of their money on online lead generation and other things that have nothing to do with attracting referrals from the people they know.
Here are the facts. According to the National Association of Agents, 88 percent of buyers and 85 percent of sellers would refer their agent to another person. If that’s true of your clients, imagine the willingness of your family and friends to refer you to others.
What if I told you that you could build a strong, referral-based business for less money and “wow” your sphere of influence all at the same time? Here are five steps on how to do it.
1. Start a ‘thank you’ account
Create an account to save money that you can use to thank the people who refer you business.
Put a percentage of your commission from every deal into this account; say up to 10 percent. Some of you pay up to 40 percent for broker-to-broker referrals; 10 percent is nothing.
IXACT Contact Tip: Use your real estate CRM to keep track of who exactly is sending referrals your way. When you keep good notes on referrals, you’ll be better equipped to thank your SOI on time.
2. Get to know your people better
It’s a lot easier to thank people when you know what their likes and interests are. You do not want to be the person that sends a Starbucks gift card to someone who hates coffee.
IXACT Contact Tip: The contact profile section of your real estate CRM is the best place to store important details about your contacts. When someone tells you about a like or dislike, make note of it in your CRM. By noting who loves cats, who dislikes red wine, and who has young children, you’ll be far better prepared to send thoughtful thank you gifts.
3. Thank early, and thank often
Don’t choose who to thank based on the quality of the referral. The first referral you receive from someone will likely not be their best.
You are going to be tested because their relationships matter too, and they want to be 100 percent sure that they can trust you.
Send a small gift or thank you to anyone and everyone who refers you a piece of business or creates a connection for you. Small gestures go a long way, even if it’s a simple handwritten note.
IXACT Contact Tip: Use the reminders in your real estate CRM to prompt you when it’s time to drop a note in the mail, or make a phone call. While thank you’s are better late than never, it’s always a good idea to show your gratitude for referrals in a timely manner.
4. Create big memories
When you really want to thank someone, make it special! The bigger the memory, the more likely that person will want to refer you again. Here are a few ideas:
- Arrange a dinner reservation at a popular restaurant for the person you want to thank. Give the restaurant your credit card in advance to cover the bill, and tell your people to have a good time.
- Arrange a lesson with the local golf pro for the child of the person you would like to thank.
- Provide an evening getaway at a fancy hotel in the city.
The possibilities are endless!
IXACT Contact Tip: This is another instance where the notes in your contact profile will go a long way! Saving information about a contact’s favorite restaurant of hobby will make choosing a gift much easier. Remember to make a note in your CRM about what gifts you’ve given to your contacts to avoid sending repeat gifts to the same person.
5. Go beyond the referral thank you
Don’t just thank the people who send you business. Use your “thank you” account to thank your clients, business partners and friends — and create experiences for the people you care about. Here are just a few examples:
- Throw a client appreciation party.
- Rent out a local movie theater for a new feature film, and invite your sphere.
- Host a party at your home for the big game.
- Host a quarterly dinner party with rotating guests.
You would be surprised how little things like this cost and the amazing value they bring to the people you invite.
IXACT Contact Tip: Planning an event is much easier with the help of a good CRM. Send out customized email invitations, take a look at who opened your message, and use reminders to help you prepare for your event.
The best part about this strategy is that will you start to receive more business. Plus it’s fun, and you will see more smiles and have productive engagements with your sphere.
IXACT Contact real estate CRM helps real estate agents form stronger relationships and build a referral-based business. Start your 5 week free trial today and maximize the referrals you gain from your real estate contacts!