Stay on the Radar of Your Clients
You don’t want to be forgotten over time. As they say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. As a Realtor, an existing or former client may be worth several new clients, because of the power of social interaction and referrals. The pitfall is that agents and brokers get so busy doing other kinds of marketing that they neglect this kind…which is arguably the most effective of all. Here are some ideas of how to keep that connection with clients alive. That will give you a big competitive advantage in the real estate business.
Partner with Local Businesses
Your clients are doing business with all sorts of people within the neighborhood or community. So naturally, one easy way to stay on their radar screen is to do things in partnership with those businesses. Maybe a new restaurant is opening, and you can talk to the owners and offer to help publicize it through your website, newsletter, on social media platforms. Are businesses your clients use joining together for a charitable fundraiser or to promote tourism? That would be a good opportunity for you to participate, too. You clients are also members of the business community. Join small business associations that your clients belong to. Send people you know to your clients, as business referrals. You can also let your clients do such things as writing guest blogs for your website or running affordable advertisements on your website or in your newsletter.
Offer Free Knowledge Forums
A very attractive way to keep clients thinking of you is to offer them knowledge they need and want. The more valuable and relevant the knowledge is, the more it will work like a magnet to keep clients in touch. That means you don’t have to put in as much effort drawing them in. Instead you can focus on making your shared info more interesting to them, and encouraging them to take advantage of it. You might host podcasts with experts on issues important to homeowners, for instance. That could be landscapers, inspectors, contractors, loan officers, insurance brokers, or anyone your clients might want to learn from. Or have those kinds of experts contribute to a blog or newsletter, or interview them on camera to post on YouTube. You can do the same kind of information sharing on LinkedIn, where there are lots of people…including your clients…who follow experts who share tips about various topics. There are many ways to hold or host these different kinds of knowledge forums, and many topics you can cover.
Volunteer in Your Community
That kind of knowledge-based marketing works because you’re giving back, for free. You can also do that very effectively by volunteering with the same organizations where your clients or past clients volunteer. Even if you only have an hour or so per week to devote, it’s a great investment. Nothing solidifies a client relationship like doing something meaningful together in your spare time. As co-volunteers, you and your clients will automatically develop very strong relationships that definitely keep you on their radar screen. Not only will you enjoy the rewards of volunteerism, but you’ll be surrounded by others teaming up with you to volunteer. Each one of them is a potential client.
Tips for Asking Past Clients for Referrals
Real estate done right is a referral business. The most successful real estate brokers and agents don’t keep drumming up new business the hard way. It just keeps coming to them in a steady stream, thanks to constant referrals. But how do you get those valuable referrals? Your clients probably have lots of other things on their mind. Feeding you new business is likely not at the top of their list of things to do. So it’s your job to prompt them from time to time. Knowing how to ask past clients for new referrals is a great skill. Here are a few tips to help you succeed.
Remind Them of Your Value
One way to prepare a client to give you a referral is to get in touch and ask them if they were satisfied with your services. You could tell them you’re just touching base. Or you could say you’re surveying past clients to see how to improve your customer service. Whatever reason you give, ask them how it went when you assisted them as their Realtor. Chances are, if you’re thinking of asking them for a referral, they were completely satisfied. When you ask, it is a reminder to them that you did a great job helping them to buy or sell a home. That is a good way to set up the important question. “Do you know anyone who needs a real estate agent or might be in the market for buying or selling a home?” They’ll probably think of at least one person, and then you can ask them to introduce them to you as a referral.
Ask for Testimonials
Another way to approach this kind of request is to call past clients and ask them to write a brief testimonial. That’s like a letter of recommendation. It can be a paragraph about how pleased they were with your service and why they’d recommend you to others. Or it could just be a short sentence or two. When their friends or colleagues see that, they’ll realize that your services come highly recommended. But asking a client to create a testimonial also makes them think of reasons why they would want to recommend you in the first place. So when they give the testimonial, that’s an ideal opportunity for you to ask them to refer you to a family member, friend, or coworker.
Make a Straightforward Request
It never hurts to ask for referrals straight-up. If you are doing a good, active job of marketing then you should already be in regular contact with all of your past clients. Then it’s just a matter of making the request. Let them know that you want their help, and that you’d very much appreciate if they could connect you with someone who may need a Realtor. Most past clients will be more than happy to oblige and give you some names. But you have to ask. The best way to do that, if possible, is face to face. Invite them to meet for coffee or do lunch. Then as you catch up on things, mention that you would like referrals.
Be Sure and Thank Them
One of the worst mistakes real estate professionals can make it to get a referral and not thank the person who provided it. If they went to the trouble to refer you and send business your way, take the time to thank them. You can do it with an email or text, but it’s better to call them or send them a thank-you note through the mail. That will be more meaningful to them. Not only is that the polite thing to do, but it sets the stage for you to get more referrals from them in the future. That’s the way to keep the momentum moving forward, and keep you busy making sales and listing homes or assisting buyers.