Achieving success in real estate is tough without a strong referral game. Many real estate agents recognize the value of referral business, but fail to position themselves for intentional and repeatable referral success.
As a real estate agent, your goal is to be referral ready. That means former clients, family and friends have a direct pathway to referring you. Think of your exceptional real estate services as a delicious chocolate layer cake sitting on a table. Taking the steps to make your agency referral ready is like laying out the cake server, plates and forks. Setting the table signals it’s time to dig in and gives us the tools to do it.
The following are three questions to ask to test your referral readiness. Run through the questions on your own to start. Then consider posing the same questions to family and friends, and former clients who you have maintained a relationship with. Find the folks who will be honest with you. Another option is to send an anonymous survey to former clients seeking feedback on these questions. Observe the responses you get. Are they having trouble giving a clear answer? Home in on what needs to be clarified.
Next try answering the questions for yourself. Think about how you can strengthen your message and share that with potential referral sources.
Who is my ideal client?
Not all referrals are a fit for you. Having a firm understanding of the clients you want to work with and sharing that information with former clients will help ensure that individuals referred to you are more likely to be a match.
Think about the clients you want to serve. Are you the top-notch real estate agent for families looking for a home in growing suburban neighborhoods? Do you have a pulse on buying opportunities in the downtown condo market for young professionals? Are you a pro at helping retirees sell their home and downsize? Once you have an understanding of who your ideal client is you can fold that into your marketing. Position yourself as the go-to real estate agent for your ideal client group and be sure to share that message with referral sources.
You can also go an extra step and research individuals or organizations in a former client’s network. Identify the people who you would consider an ideal client and ask your referral source for an introduction. Asking for a specific introduction is more effective than putting out a broad call for referrals.
How would I describe my services?
This is a powerful discovery question, especially when posed to former clients and friends. Don’t get frustrated if even the people closest to you have trouble answering this question accurately; get curious. Think about how you can tighten your messaging so that clients and friends can describe what you offer in a short and consistent way. It’s unlikely your referral sources have figured out that formula if you haven’t figured it out yourself.
Work on crafting a one-sentence description of your unique service offering. This is why slogans are so powerful. They give people an easy and consistent way to describe what it is the business does. Here are few examples:
- MasterCard: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
- State Farm: “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There”
- Dollar Shave Club: “Shave Time. Shave Money.”
What makes me unique?
Real estate is a competitive business. Successful real estates agents are able to tell a story about who they are and why you should work with them. Think about the specific know-how you bring to the table. Gather input from clients by asking why they value working with you.
Make it a point to share client success stories, especially times when you went above and beyond to get a deal done. Highlight those stories in person and online, through an email newsletter, blog and social media.
Remember: Great referrals are earned. Elevating moments of exceptional service and weaving them into your story demonstrates to referral sources—and the people who they’re referring—that you work hard for your business.
Leveraging referrals is a fast and low-cost way to accelerate your real estate business. The first step? Make sure that it’s easy for others to refer you or your agency. Pose these three questions to trusted clients and then answer them yourself to assess your readiness and get on the right referral track.