Ask a successful realtor the secret to building a thriving business, and they’ll most certainly mention referrals. Happy customers are our greatest advocates, and their friends and families hold great potential to become our future clients. Referrals don’t just happen, however. Much as our clients love us, they don’t always connect the dots to introduce us to others they know. Like it or not, we have to ask. Here are seven great opportunities to request referrals:
1. At the listing appointment
As you introduce yourself to new clients, share that your business is built on referrals – it’s a great selling point. It demonstrates that your past clients enjoyed the experience of working with you so much that they’re willing to recommend you to family and friends. Tell your new client that you intend to provide a level of service that is worthy of their referral down the line.
2. Throughout your written communications
Real estate guru Brian Buffini is an expert in the art of asking for referrals. He suggests that a referral request accompany every written communication, be it an email signature, personal note, or marketing mailer. Consistently remind your clients that that your business is one built on referrals – your satisfied customers will be happy to help.
3. Any time you receive praise
As you guide your clients through the intricacies of a deal, they’ll likely express their appreciation at several points along the way. Let them know how much you enjoy helping people like them, and that you’d appreciate the opportunity to be of service to others they know.
4. At the high point in the action
When you’ve just gone into contract, your client is elated. Make the most of that enthusiasm by asking for a referral. There’s a great deal of positive energy at this point in a transaction — Capture it!
5. At closing
When the keys change hands, you’re the hero. You’ve navigated the twists and turns of the deal and reached a successful outcome. While you’ll continue to reach out to your client in the future, you do part ways at this point, at least in your day-to-day contact. The closing of a transaction provides the most natural opportunity to express your thanks and to offer your services to others in their network.
6. After the sale
Best practice suggests that you maintain regular contact with all of your past clients. Whether you reach out monthly or quarterly, always include a casual reference to referrals. Stay in front of them, and make sure they know that you love new business.
7. Closing the loop
With every referral you receive, it’s essential to circle back with the client who connected you to new business. An expression of thanks, including a hand written letter and token of appreciation, demonstrates your gratitude, sincerity and client-centered attitude. More importantly, your affirmation inspires your clients to refer again.
Asking for referrals can be intimidating, but your request doesn’t need to be awkward or forced. Clients will understand and appreciate a casual mention such as “I always appreciate referrals” or “I really enjoy helping clients like you. Please let me know if your friends or family would benefit from my services”. When they do encounter someone looking for a realtor, you’ll be the first that comes to mind. As with anything, the more you make a habit of it, the easier it becomes.