how to grow your real estate business on referral marketing

Referrals: how to build your real estate business on referrals


how to grow your real estate business on referral marketingReferrals: how to build your real estate business on referrals

Agents who “get” database management (I’ve dedicated a whole section to it on my website) can expect to receive easy listing referrals (the best kind!) through database nurturing within six months.

The operative word is “nurture”.

Mining your database is easy when you’ve got it sorted into some semblance of manageable order.

Last week I talked about mining your pipeline prospects to find your next listing.

This week I’m going to talk about where former clients fit in your database.

Expect referrals

If you’ve been selling real estate for a couple of years, about 20% of your business should be coming from referrals (minimum). Provided, of course, you look after your clients during the sales process.

Each year your referral business should increase. After a few years the growth curve should be exponential. If it’s not then let’s chat because you’re making life hard for yourself.

Sadly, I know agents who’re into 10+ years of real estate sales who still don’t have that level of referral business. And it’s not because they don’t look after their clients during the sale process. It’s because they’re a love-em-and-leave-em kinda agent!

Once they’ve handed over the key and the thank you gift, that’s it.

The agent is outta there!

Onto finding their next vendors.

What a waste of energy!

Client Service ROI

These are the love-em-and-leave-em agents only think to call former clients when they’re desperate for listings. But by then, it’s too late!

Not only can “desperation” be picked up by other people (you’ll know what I mean, I’m sure) but the former clients have passed the referrals they had onto other agents.

Agents who don’t keep in touch will hear something like

Oh! I didn’t know you were still selling real estate because we hadn’t heard anything from you so my friend found their own agent”

(or words to that effect) when they call former clients. {how gutting would that be to hear?}

All it takes is a little time and energy to keep in touch a few times throughout the year.

Quarterly Newsletters + Magnetic notepads

One easy way to stay in touch is to send out quarterly newsletters (in the mail: because we don’t get much mail these days and it’s now got a fantastic novelty factor).

Enclosing a magnetic notepad with your quarterly newsletter is a good way of helping to keep you top-o-mind.

Printers who specialise in real estate stationery can print these for you. If you haven’t got your own friendly printer then Google “real estate stationery” and you’ll find printers from all over the country.

It’s cheaper to buy in bulk. And, because you buy them as “blanks” (you just add your business card later) it won’t date (haha – unless your office changes its branding or unless you change offices).

If you sell 30 properties a year, you’ll require 120 notepads the first year (30 x 4). For about $20 or so per client it’s well worth your investment for a regular supply of listings.

The “Conversations” Metrics

One of the metrics I measure with my coaching clients is “Conversations”.

Each week we measure how many:

  • Cold conversations they’ve had with people they don’t know (yet!) – by phone and in person (door knocking)
  • Pipeline prospects (those people in their 30, 60, 90 & 180+ day pipelines)
  • Former clients

The Database Mining (keeping in touch) Cycle for Former Clients

When you mine your database and regularly keep in touch with former clients you’ll start to see your referral business grow.

How soon should you start keeping in touch? Maybe within the first week!

Whattttt???? I hear you say!

Yes – the first week – it’s the easiest call to make and sets the tone for future keeping-in-touch calls.

Former Clients – A Case Study in Referrals

One of my coaching clients was starting to get antsy because he was running out of listings.

I told him to call every single one of his former clients: sellers and buyers.

He told me I was crazy. That I was wasting his time. Why would they want to sell a property they’d only just bought (or sold)?

I told him it’s got nothing to do with the property they’ve just bought/sold but it’s got everything to do with their relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours, associates who’ve got properties to sell…

I asked him to humour me and just do it. After all, it was only 60 or so phone calls. An achievable task before our next coaching call.

When we next met he told me he stopped calling after 10 calls because from those 10 calls he had 5 referrals. Three of those referrals resulted in immediate listings. Each listing was worth around $7,500 (nett) to my client.

Now he has a system that enables him to keep in touch with former clients on a rotating basis that’s easy to manage.

When to start keeping in touch with former clients

One week after settlement has taken place, call to make sure everything is okay (it should be, because you’ve done an awesome job!).

One month later make your second check-in call. Again this is to make sure everything is okay. Two months (+/-) send them your quarterly newsletter + magnetic notepad.

Three months later another quick check-in call. To see how they are, what’s news in their lives, etc.

Every three months they receive a quarterly newsletter + notepad from you.

Slot your new clients immediately into your quarterly system.

Yes – this means that for some they might receive your “touchpoint” straight away. That’s okay. They won’t mind. No one’s going to fall off the planet because they received a “quarterly” newsletter at the one month point instead of the three-month point!

Every six months you give them a quick “how’s it going?” call.

This means you’re chatting to them (at least) twice every six months and sending them a newsletter 4x each 12 months.

On the anniversary of settlement, make a quick “can you believe it’s been 12 months?” call.

Every Christmas they receive a Christmas card from you. Or, if you want to be different, a New Year’s card instead.

Ask for referrals

Always ask for referrals.

There are ways you can do this without being offensive. One way is as you’re winding up the conversation

… by the way, I’m not sure whether I’ve told you or not. I give [whatever it is you give] as my way of saying thank you to everyone who refers me. I’d love to be able to say thank you to you and your friends and family in that way. So please spread the word – if you know of anyone who’s making even vague noises about selling up, I’d love to hear about them…”

Sellers and buyers

Some agents I know seem to have blinkers on when it comes to buyers. For some crazy, strange and stupid-dumb reason they don’t regard buyers as clients!

Excuse me??

Those buyers now own a property they one day might want to sell!

You need to treat buyers with just as much courtesy and respect as vendors.

Do it or delegate it

There are some calls you need to make yourself and there are others you can delegate.

My recommendation is that you personally make the one-week follow up call yourself + one annual call. All the other touch points can be delegated to your PA or client service manager or sales associate on your behalf.

If you delegate these calls it’s important whoever does it lets your client know that they’re calling on your behalf. Their introduction could be something like “Hi, this is [name] from Team [Your Team Name]”.  For example:

Hi, this is Bob Smith from Team Julie South Real Estate…………………”

If you want someone to manage your database for you in this way I have an excellent woman (her name is Carol) whom I highly recommend. My clients are super-impressed with her (as am I!). She has a little extra capacity for a few extra clients and she will only work with one agent per area… {so obviously your area may not be available… }

One of the first things she’ll (probably) do is clean up your database and sort out your pipeline sales funnels. In our experience (Carol’s and mine), very few agents have databases that can be mined straight away without any clean-up work involved.

Then she’ll create a keep-in-touch calling cycle for you.

She’s experienced in different computer databases and is very IT / tech literate and savvy.

I can’t rave about her enough. She’s not your average telemarketer. Far from it! She’s up with the play on the real estate industry in New Zealand. She follows the news and knows what’s going on with real estate in all the regions of New Zealand.

Why am I telling you this? Because it means she’s more than “just” a telemarketer. She’s a professional woman who can hold an intelligent conversation with your clients. Database management and telemarketing is her business. Her reputation and what her clients think of her is important to her. She wants all her clients to give her a 10 out of 10. Every time!

If you’d like to know more information about looking after your database and/or delegating this function in your business, send me an email or give me a call and we can chat further.


Magnetic Notepads

PMPMaxum – printers – this link opens in a new page to one of PMP’s marketing pages – select the right arrow for different type of magnetic notepads currently available.

You buy the type of magnetic notepad you want and then adhere your business cards to the top.

Current pricing:

100 notepads = $89+gst

200 = $174+gst

500 = $425+gst

Current styles

3 different types of shopping list notepads

1 “things to do”

1 blank

Quarterly Newsletters

Make your newsletters interesting and relevant to your readers.

Newsletters are not sales letters!

If you’d like to include quarterly newsletters as part of your referral marketing strategies please email me to arrange a time for a chat or to find out more.

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