Referrals are the lifeblood of a real estate agent’s business. For all of the marketing you do — print, web, social media, and so on — the most effective way to get good solid referrals is
by word-of-mouth. But the big “ask” can be hard — even for the most experienced agents. That is, unless you know when to ask.
- During the pitch. How can you ask a new client for a referral when you have yet to prove yourself? Use the first pitch to illustrate how a client referral is a critical measure of success which you’ve established for yourself. Emphasize the importance of your past clients’ referrals and how they have helped grow your business. If your new prospect came via a referral, ask about this past client and, if it’s now obvious, how they know one another. Include past client testimonies in your marketing materials on all channels and be sure to point these out to your prospect. Bottom line, ask the client if they’re satisfied with your work at the end of the sale process, would they be willing to refer you to friends and family.
- When things are going well. There are a number of critical milestones throughout the home buying process. Finding the right house, offer accepted, appraisal, and loan approvals, are all excellent opportunities to remind your client of your need for their referral.
- Negotiations. One of the most critical services you provide your clients is negotiating the final conditions of the sale. Highlight your skills in finalizing an agreement over repairs versus a change in price, along the other minutiae which comes prior to closing. After finding your client the house of their dreams, closing the deal with both parties happy with the outcome is not the time to be overly humble. Take advantage of the moment to subtlety remind your client that it is your ability to negotiate which sets you apart from other real estate agents and why others have so eagerly referred you in the past.
- At closing. There is no better time to ask about a referral than when all the paperwork has been signed and house keys handed over. Of course you don’t need the referral immediately. Set a time with your satisfied client to stop by and see how they’re settling in. If time, or the high level of excitement doesn’t permit a conversation, let your client know you’ll be in touch shortly.
- Post close. Make time to visit with your client as they’re getting settled in their new home. Bring a small token of your appreciation. Ask if they’re satisfied with the job you did and would they be willing to provide a testimony along with a few references you could follow up on? If you’re unable to meet with your client, ask if they’d be interested in receiving a monthly email that includes helpful hints for the new homeowner. The post close email drip campaign is not new. However, it can be very effective in getting the referrals you’re after. An informative campaign that includes the occasional special offer from a local retailer or service provider (another great source of referrals) keeps you top-of-mind with your client. Be sure your emails directly ask for referrals on a regular basis. Post close campaigns can run up to three years. Clients should have the ability to opt out.
Bonus ask: Use the anniversary of your client’s closing to reconnect. Find out how they’re doing. Have they made many changes in their new house? Is anyone close to them thinking of buying?