Referrals are the main way real estate businesses market themselves. Roughly 60% of all customers a real estate firm gets are referred to them. This is an effective way to determine who is looking to become a customer, and what they are looking for. A real estate agent has to keep finding and cultivating referrals to keep sales up. While other marketing techniques such as business flyers can still increase sales, referrals have a great success rate. There are wrong ways to pursue referrals though. Referral programs can be very personal for you customers, and if you take advantage of it, it could cost you your business. Here are 5 best practices for your real estate referral program.
Know Your Referrals
It is important to pursue your referrals from people you know. Start with your former customers and relations. Look to your personal social media connections as social media branding is becoming increasingly popular. On no account should you ask strangers for referrals. The idea is supposed to be that the referrer sends you to someone they know is looking for a place to live. They do this because they know you’re a good real estate agent. It is ineffective and unfair to try to make people who have never heard of you do the same. Ensure that the people who are referring for you know you and that you can help their referees.
Be Honest About Referrals
As you move through the referrals, make sure you are honest with everyone. Make it clear from the start that you hope customers will serve as referrers. When meeting people who were referred, make it clear who referred them and why. This sort of system is immensely personal. You are inserting yourself into other people’s private relationships to do business. That means you need to tread carefully. If the referee senses that you are not being honest, they will resent your intrusion. The only way to move forward is to be honest at all times about your methods and intentions.
Check In Regularly
Keep referrers fresh by checking in with them regularly. If you don’t regularly remind these connections to keep looking for referrals, they are likely to forget. Over time, they will even lose interest in you and cease to be viable referrers. Keep a regular schedule to contact these referrers. Even if you don’t ask about more referrals, keep reaching out to talk to them. This will also reinforce the referrers loyalty to you by indicating that you care about them.
A great way to build a lot of referrals is to plan regular events. These events will allow you to network referrals on a personal level. One of the best events to stage is a housewarming party for your latest client. This creates a happy environment to encourage referrals. A personal event can improve and protect your brand reputation. It also introduces your client to meet other customers of yours and make friends. This creates a tight community with you at the center. This sort of social interaction is essential to building references.
It is very important to acknowledge and thank referrers when they provide referrals to you. At the very least, make sure to send referrers a written thank you card to show you care. You can also encourage them by providing rewards for referrals. These should not be expensive or elaborate. A gift card is often the best option. Remember as you consider this, that the referrers are doing you a significant service. This might be awkward for them. Acknowledging that you appreciate this is both a good gesture and decent way to thank them.
A handful of best practices will ensure your real estate business has plenty of referrals. Make sure your referrers are only people you know. Be honest as you pursue the program. Keep in regular contact with your referrers. Plan events to seek referrals through networking. Reward referrers with small prizes and thank you cards. With these best practices, you can keep you marketing clean and honest.