3 Simple Steps to Building a Referral-Based Business

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With 20+ years working in the real estate sector, most of my best (and favorite) clients have been the result of someone else’s referral.

In any given year, 85% – 90% of my business is directly attributed to referrals. Imagine what your business would be like if every day your phone rang or your inbox received new messages from people who already trusted you because they heard great things about you?

It’s called building a referral-based business and it’s easier than you might think! Here are 3 tips that have helped me build a referral-based business that thrives.

Tip 1:  The Relationship

The relationships you build with your clients are vital to your business. Most agents and investors tend to focus more on the transaction rather than the relationship with the other parties involved with the deal. Transactions come and go, but relationships can last for an entire career and beyond.

Building trust, keeping the client’s best interest at heart and doing the right thing is the foundation for building a lasting relationship. It’s easy to feel compelled to get the latest tool or gadget that will solve all of your lead-generation problems. The issue with this approach is that most real estate professionals fail to develop lifelong relationships that can result in far greater business success over the long term. While many buyers go online to search for properties, the majority of them will be happy to continue working with the person who provided them a great service and opportunity in the past, not a stranger who electronically reached out to form an e-relationship.

Tip 2:  Build a Reputation People Can Count On.

When someone refers a friend, family member or colleague to you, they need to be assured you are going to provide the level of care that they were promised – so it’s important that you build your reputation around what you can deliver.

Building a reputation can be as easy as just doing what you say you’ll do. When you commit to a task and follow through, it builds trust. It is important to note that you must be consistent and don’t over-promise. If you commit to something, you must see it through or risk losing trust. Most people are quicker to share a bad experience than a good one, so you must understand your capabilities and act in accordance with them. If you’re not able to help, offer them a solution or refer them to someone who can.

Tip 3: Stop Prospecting and Start Cultivating

How should you spend your marketing time and effort? The answer is simple: build relationships, serve your customers and ask for referrals.

When you focus your attention on your relationships, generating leads is more fun too! You’ll look forward to picking up the phone to chat with them and you’ll enjoy taking them to lunch. Lead-generation won’t be a chore, but an opportunity to connect with some of your favorite people. What better way to replicate your best clients than by spending time with them? Here are some ways I have found success in generating referrals:

  • Make the call. Sometimes there is a specific reason for a follow-up call with a past client, but often you are just calling to check in and talk about the market or a home you saw on caravan. So many times I’ve made impromptu calls and heard them say, “I was just thinking about you, my friend is planning on selling”. It is a win-win and I am more than happy to take the information and follow-up. The important thing is that you are calling to remind them you are still there. If someone doesn’t hear from you, they’ll assume you’ve moved on. It’s the single most important reason for the call.
  • Write a hand-written note. Set a goal for how many notes you want to write each day and write your daily notes before you check your email. A good hand-written note only needs to be two or three quick sentences… simple phrases like “Thinking of you today” or “It was nice talking with you” will suffice! Everybody appreciates a handwritten note.
  • A short visit to your key referral sources. For example, in the autumn season, you can drop by with a pumpkin carving kit. Over the Fourth of July, you can bring a BBQ item or an American flag. The point is for you to get face-to-face time with your current and potential clients and when you’re working by referral, face-to-face communication is the best by far.

So there you go – 3 tips that can help you build a business that levels out the peaks and valleys of real estate sales. Before I sign off, I will say that it is important to set goals and stay at it. Implementing a referral-based business takes time, so track your activities and be consistent with your prospecting. These efforts will help you achieve your goals and before you realize it, daily lead-generation, client calls and handwritten notes will become part of your subconscious.

 

Credit to Kathleen Finnegan

Kathleen Finnegan brings more than twenty years of selling real estate, office management and investment ownership to her role as real estate agent at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Calabasas.

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