Asking For, Getting, and Making Use of Referrals from Clients

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Note: Yes, there can be referrals from other real estate agents and those who expect a fee – that’s grist for another article. This also isn’t about referrals from another website to yours. (Maybe we need a new word.) Referrals from satisfied clients can be the life-blood of a real estate business; you can actually get to the place where you’re working strictly with customers referred to you by your past clients,  but it won’t happen unless you work at it.

Who to ask and how to ask them

Obviously you want to ask clients you’ve helped buy and/or sell their property. Don’t stop there. If you’ve hauled around a client who turned out to be only a looky-lou, ask them for a testimonial at least. Even these people deserve a spot in your database – following up with them quarterly may result in a deal directly from them or a referral or two. The way you ask is to simply ask. Not right at the beginning of your relationship, of course, but anytime things seem to be going well and there’s a pause can work.You want to be sure it isn’t when you’re waiting for a buy or sell decision, but  a comfortable moment when you can simply ask “is there someone else you know I should be working with?” Then be quiet and wait. They will tell you if they’re ready to give you the name and contact information of someone they know. Don’t push! Asking often or pushing is a sure way to turn someone off. After all, when giving a referral they are in effect giving away their friend’s or families’ contact information.

How to use them

When you get a referral, contact that person right away. Keep it simple, maybe like this:

Hi, Mrs. Jones?

Yes….

I’ve been helping Joan Smith find her next home and she suggested you might be looking for some help with your real estate. How can I help?

Then be quiet and listen carefully to the response. When you get the name and contact information, you want to have a system for capturing those people. Some agents will add them to their website database. Others will want to use a contact management system. There are several good ones that are free. I’m using Capsule CRM (https://capsulecrm.com/) but look around. Just google ‘free crm’ and see what you get. By the way, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. You’ll want some sort of system that will allow you to know what was said each time you talked, what they are looking for, their timing, etc., and when you should contact them again. You may also want to set it up so they are sent your newsletter on a regular basis or notice of new listings, etc. If you have a Yelp page or a Linkedin profile you can ask people to review or endorse you there. And if you don’t, you probably should have yourself and your business listed on each – they are both free. Most people are happy to help, and that includes giving you referrals when you ask for them. By all means feel free to ask questions about referrals in comments and we’ll get you an answer.
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