STEP # 1: Choose the Best Time to program for referralsWhen’s the best time to subtly program people for referrals? For a current client, DURING a transaction is the best time to ask for referrals. In your discussions with current clients there will be plenty of time to subtly program them to think of you when they learn of anyone needing real estate services. It’s also a time when “real estate” is high on their mind. When you encounter an objection when working with prospects or clients, tell how you handled the situation in the past (and specifically how there was a successful outcome). When talking with friends and family they are inevitably going to ask you, “How’s business?” People you know are interested about what’s new in your life, what you are working on right now, etc. This is a perfect chance to tell them how you get your business. Try opening like this… “Actually business is great. I have 3 clients in escrow and 4 more I’m working with. Since the majority of my clients come by referral, I regularly have people call me asking me to help their neighbor or brother, or someone they know at work.” Then tell a story about a current client, how they came to you and what you are doing for them.
STEP # 2: Set the stage quickly and use specificsHere’s what to include:
- Who you are talking about (give specific names)
- Where they came from (include their location)
- How you came to represent the client (i.e., a friend referred this person)
- What they were intending to do (i.e., the type of home or lot they were intending to buy or sell)
STEP # 3: Keep your focus on THEMPeople are intrigued by stories when they can relate – if they’ve been in a similar situation, or could be in one. People are self-interested and want to solve their own problems and fulfill their desires first and foremost. So think about your audience, and what’s most important to them right now. Then share what you can do for them in a unique and beneficial way. Whenever you experience a difficult situation in real estate, or even while showing homes, give an example of someone else who faced the same situation or problem as your clients, and how you helped them. This not only gives your clients confidence in your abilities, but you can also improvise and program for referrals by explaining how they reciprocated this great service by telling others about you. Whenever you hear someone talking about real estate and a relevant past story is triggered in your mind… simply state how you used your resources to solve a problem for a past client. This subtly “programs” the listeners to think of you when they (or someone they know) face a similar situation in the future. These types of stories get passed around and shared, and suddenly you have hundreds of people telling their friends and family about you with no additional effort on your part. Here are a few types of stories to showcase your service to get you thinking:
- Tell a story about how you helped a first-time homebuyer navigate the home-buying and financing process
- Tell a story about how you guided people through tough economic times by helping them pick an under-valued home, or by helping a seller get top dollar during a past down market
- Tell a story about how you helped an investor find a great income producing property under his deadline
STEP # 4: Conclude with a Positive Result (and a subtle call to action)Describe with clear details how the clients were satisfied. Communicate how the person benefited by speed of service, money saved, or money made. Then describe how the clients reciprocated this gratitude (in the form of referrals of people they knew). This strategy programs people to know what to do…how to take action on your behalf…to tell others what you do for clients and how people regularly send you referrals. Want an example? Try this…
- Pre-Listing Packages and Presentations
- Buyer Packages
- Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards
- On your website
- On the back of your business cards
- Inserts into info-tubes
Closing is the perfect time to give a gift that sets the tone for the post-transaction relationship.
Here’s a great example of a closing gift that continues to provide service to a buyer after closing. Agent Dave Dumas puts together a simple binder filled with business cards of services that the new home owner will most likely need. Buyers always need to call pool technicians, plumbers, even doctors or dentists in the local area.
Dave goes one step further and gives them all their transactions documents electronically.
Putting together a directory of service providers not only gives ongoing value to clients but can be a way for you to get sponsors for your marketing. Service For Life!® subscribers have a ready-to-use template to highlight service providers and a Sponsorship Kit that helps them work with sponsors to send out their mailings.
Here’s Dave’s description in his own words…“Client Closing Gift: With my buyers after closing I present a 3 ring binder with business card pages containing the business cards of service professionals in the local area. I also have a couple empty pages so they can add additional business cards and keep it handy. I call it “Dave’s Referral Directory.” I also include a copy of all their transaction documents including their closing statement burned onto a CD. It is received very well by all even clients who have lived in the area for years.”