No matter if you are a single agent or part of a team, creating a strong referral program can have a big impact on your business.
Here are some key things to consider when trying to build a stream of referrals you can count on.
Stay Top of Mind.
One of the strategies for referrals is to stay in front of your network often. Social media, event sponsorships and attendance at industry functions are a great foundation to any referral strategy.
Real Estate business strategist Marc Gordon notes “Staying in touch and connecting with past clients with an annual or semiannual note or gift will go a long way in staying top-of-mind. You may also consider throwing an annual client appreciation event.”
Give More Than You Get.
Self promotion can have diminishing returns. People may start to avoid you if they feel they are going to be solicited for business at every encounter. The key is to always consider ways you can add value to people in your network.
Common ways are:
- Being a resource
- Being a connector
- Being a referral source for them
Create A Specialist Network.
Realtor Magazine found that some agents say they earn between $20,000 and $50,000 a year in outbound agent-to-agent referral fees according to “The Agent-to-Agent Referral Economy,” a survey conducted jointly by ReferralExchange and the Council of Residential Specialists.
Creating a network of professionals who refer to one another is the backbone of most referral networks. You will have to start the cycle by sending referrals first before you can expect any in return.
Consider the following people to include in your network:
- Agents who specialize in Rentals, Commercial, or Complex Lending scenarios.
- Agents from cities who relocate to your city and vice versa. (e.g., Houston, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge)
- Other vendors like Builders, Appraisers, and Lenders. And don’t forget Title Attorneys!
Making sure your referrals know how much you appreciate them is a big driver in making sure that they keep coming.
Jenny Wolek, a sales associate with Keller Williams, sends a thank-you card to the referring agent along with a gift, such as a $5 Starbucks gift card. Additionally, she gives end-of-year gifts to referring agents who referred a client that closed with her. The gift is usually tied in some way to her community, such as specialty chocolates from a local boutique with a note that reads, “You’re so sweet. Thanks for your referral!” “You have to reward the behavior, even if the client doesn’t make it to closing,” Wolek says, “because another agent still took the time to recommend you—and that’s a big deal.”
Ultimately, you have to let your network know that you want their referrals. You can’t be too shy to ask.
Gordon suggests, “As you know, in my business referrals are everything. If you know someone who you think could use my help, please pass my name along.”