According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), referrals are how most buyers find their real estate agents. In 2017, 42 percent of all buyers found their agent through a referral. The second-place source, experience with that particular agent, came in second at just 11 percent.
Among sellers, 39 percent chose an agent that someone referred to them. The only source that even came close, at 25 percent, was prior experience with the same realtor. So how do you get in on the referral game?
“How to Get Real Estate Referrals?” - 8 Actionable Answers
1. Create value for clients
First of all, you have to impress your clients if you want them to refer you. For your buyers, make sure you have:
• knowledge of the market,
• informative but low-pressure showings, and
• the ability to navigate online listings.
For sellers, focus on being able to:
• price the home competitively and negotiate effectively,
• find a buyer quickly, and
• stage the home so that it appeals to buyers.
If you can, help yourself to stand out even more by developing a specialty. Become the go-to expert for high-end homes, condos, homeowners' association properties... whatever you know best. Communicate this specialty to your clients so that they remember you as an expert.
2. Build personal connections
Every client appreciates personalized service, so ask all of your clients what their priorities are and use what you learn to anticipate their needs. If they tell you that they have teenagers, show them a finished basement that would make a great rec room. If they mention out-of-town relatives, show them what could be a beautiful guest room. Anticipating their needs is a surefire way to get yourself remembered.
Also, don't underestimate the value of simple professionalism:
• Greet every client warmly and use their names.
• Respond to all messages, calls, and texts promptly, within a few hours if not sooner.
• When you're with them, give them your full attention – no taking phone calls.
Finally, explain all steps of the purchase and sale thoroughly and in language your client can understand. Most people appreciate it when you spare them the trouble of having to ask.
3. Ask for testimonials
If a client posts a review about you online, it can reach an unlimited number of people, many more than are in your clients' immediate circles. More than 90 percent of consumers read online reviews and around 80 percent trust them as much as face-to-face recommendations.
When to Ask
You can be the best real estate agent in the world, but people might still forget to recommend you if you don't slip the idea into their heads.
Timing is everything. Wait to broach the topic until you've done something tangible for the client. Try to avoid big moments like right after the clothing, since your client might be overwhelmed and is likely to forget.
Many agents follow up a few weeks after the sale and ask for recommendations then. In-person with a small gift can be a great way to accomplish this with your buyers, especially if you can find a subtle way to mention your recommendation page on teh gift tag.
How to Ask
People with more direct communication styles tend to appreciate a direct ask, but those who are more reserved might feel put on the spot. Ask if you feel that it would be well-received, but mention your testimonials page offhand to your more reticent clients. To be safe, develop several scripts that you can use depending on a client's personality.
Meanwhile, to make sure that you cover all your bases, include a link to your review page in your standard email signature.
4. Develop a brand
People can only refer you if they can remember you. Make sure your business name is easy to remember but unique in your market. Choose a logo and image for your brand and include it on all of your marketing materials including your website.
Small promotional items like pens, refrigerator magnets, or calendars can make your brand even stronger. These little items become part of your clients' daily lives, keeping you in their peripheral vision and helping you come to mind if someone asks them for a recommendation.
5. Expand your list of referral sources.
Gather referrals from clients and professional collaborators, such as bankers and real estate attorneys, but also think about who else might know people who are looking for properties. Useful leads include:
• wedding planners
• divorce attorneys
• adoption agency reps
Professionals in these fields serve people in transition, since life changes are generally a motivating factor for buying or selling a home.
When you contact a source, focus on creating a mutually beneficial business relationship. Set aside time for a conversation, check in to see how their business is doing, and then make a request. Make the request as specific as you can: do you want sellers or buyers? Real estate investors or families with tight budgets?
6. Thank your sources and respond to reviews
Every time your source gets you business, offer a tangible thank-you. Depending on the relationship, this could be a handwritten note, a lunch out, or a referral in-kind of someone that might be a good customer for the person who sent you a referral.These gestures help to maintain goodwill between you and your source.
Responding to your online reviews is similarly important, especially if a client was unhappy. More than half of customers expect a response, but more than 60 percent don't get it. If you can arrange to make it right, you could turn a negative review into a positive.
7. Be active on social media
More than 90 percent of realtors use social media, so you need to be competent in that area just to stay in the game. If you want to reach as broad an audience as possible, run accounts on multiple platforms.
• Have an active LinkedIn profile so you can stay visible to local lenders and investors with an active LinkedIn profile.
• Tweet local listings, using hashtags that relate to your geographical market.
• Post regularly on Facebook. It's still the most popular platform out there.
In terms of content, aim for 80 percent informative content, focused on the reader, and 20 percent about your business. Post on a regular basis so that you rank on search engines and stay on clients' radar, and be sure to track your metrics so that you can post more of what works.
8. Get on EasyKnock's Referral program
Now that you've learned how to get realtor referrals, think about how to get a referral fee in real estate. There are the usual suspects, like attorneys and other professionals who have sent business your way, but there are more unique options as well.
Many agents see sellers who don't really want to sell – for those clients, there's EasyKnock's Sell and Stay program. This unique model lets a homeowner sell their home to EasyKnock, which then leases it back to them. They can stay in place as a tenant until they're ready to buy the house back or put it on the market and move.
Any time you refer a client that signs up for the program, you get a referral fee. Also, if the client does eventually elect to move, they have the option to choose their agent. They could choose you, which means you get a referral fee as well as a client.
Ready, Set, Go!
The sooner you start upping your referral game, the faster you'll see results. Reach out and make a connection or two today, and don't forget to contact EasyKnock and see how you can get referrals from real estate clients. Remember, you can't have too many people recommending you!