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As real estate professionals, our mission is to help people reach their homeownership goals. Our entire existence is consumed with thinking about how to help more people get their keys. We lie awake in bed thinking of ideas for doing this at a bigger scale. After a decade in the industry, I have found that real estate is much easier to do when there is trust between you and your client. That is where referrals come in.
You can have great people skills and great sales tactics to convert the cold lead, and without a doubt, there is a place for that within a sound business plan. But what I have found is that when a client comes from a referral, I don’t have to sell them anything or convert them to my system or my team. They come almost with a blindfold on, ready to trust us. They close at a much higher rate and are much easier to work with should there be any sort of complication.
With that in mind, here are a few ways that I have managed to tip the cold lead-to-referral ratio from 90% cold leads and 10% referrals early in my career to about 20% cold leads and 80% referrals. Make sure to check with your local real estate division or your broker for specific rules and regulations.
1. Exclusive Facebook Group
Exclusive past client Facebook groups have been one of our most successful referral-generating strategies. The vast majority of your clients have Facebook accounts, and while some may not post often, most Americans have accounts and check them regularly.
We send every client a personalized short video inviting them to our exclusive past client community on Facebook, and we have a weekly budget for giveaways that range from movie tickets to local sporting events, grills, TVs and more.
You can also use this space to share special information such as market updates, interest rate fluctuations, upcoming listings, etc. Share it with your past clients before anybody else sees it, and make it very clear that they are the first to receive this information. Then share the info to your general community a day or two later.
2. Educational Content
When I became a broker, I wanted to change the way we educated our clients. For many people, the real estate process is totally new and foreign to them, and agents and brokers need a way to help them understand it so that transactions can go smoothly and everyone can be on the same page.
I created e-courses specifically for buyers and sellers that went through the process step by step, and I encouraged them to go through the courses and rewarded them for doing so. This worked so well that I decided to expand on the concept and test a few courses for our past clients.
The educational content you provide might touch on topics such as tax implications of their home purchase, financial literacy, credit maintenance, real estate investing, etc. This is sure to be a smash hit. Encourage clients to take the courses, and reward them for doing so. This creates greater trust with your clients, which results in a spike in referrals, plus an increase in repeat buyers looking for their second or third home.
3. Personalized Videos
On every single birthday or home purchase anniversary, make a short, 30-second congratulations video, and send it to clients via text. Consider including a free movie ticket to help them celebrate. For me, this was challenging at first because there were days when I had 10 of these on my to-do list, but it was well worth it.
A cookie-cutter card or email is not enough. Take the time to make a video and congratulate people by name —they’ll appreciate the effort.
These ideas done consistently and systematically drastically helped us tip the referral scale and allow us to have a deeper connection with our clients. These are simple ideas that anybody can implement if they are willing to invest the time and money to build that bridge. It takes a lot of organization and preparation, but once the system is in place, it flows pretty seamlessly. Try out a few of these, and watch your referrals spike.
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