Are you sitting on an untapped source of business?
One that you could have been mining all along?
What is this gold mine?
We’re talking about referrals.
While many of you will say you’re getting referrals already, are you using this source as fully as you could?
A referral refresher
At its most basic, a direct referral is where a happy customer has a friend looking to buy or sell a home and they refer that friend to you.
When someone offers a referral, they have already vetted that service provider (be it a real estate agent, a plumber or a piano teacher), which immediately elevates that service provider to the level of a “trusted professional” based on their friend’s recommendation.
And that translates into better conversions. According to Social Annex, referral marketing generates 3-5 times higher conversion rates than any other channel.
Clearly, referrals can become a sizeable part of your business, but it pays to know how to handle the process. Here are a few tips to remember:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral – just don’t make it high pressure. Be specific as to what kind of referral is best for you. Giving a potential referral source a few of your cards is an easy way to help them pass along your name when the time is right.
- Repetition is key – Even if you’ve asked for referrals before, remind your contacts on a fairly regular basis that you value their referrals. This is an ideal opportunity to use your CRM to schedule reminders.
- Offer stellar service – When you’ve done an excellent job for your clients they won’t hesitate to recommend you. This is a great time to remind them you always welcome referrals.
- Say thank you – A handwritten note to your referral source is a sure-fire way to delight that person, and reconfirm their choice to refer you.
Turn a referral into referral marketing
Think about taking the referral process further and leverage their power for your marketing efforts. Referral marketing, also called word-of-mouth marketing, allows you to build upon the excellent service you’ve already provided and parlay it into new opportunities.
The “social proof” theory tells us that when others endorse a product or service, it greatly increases the likelihood we’ll follow suit. With the rise of social media, social proof travels much faster, which can be leveraged in your marketing efforts.
Since referrals show trust in your services, think more broadly about how you can generate that trust:
- Reviews posted online – Think not only of testimonials you may have on your website but also reviews posted to platforms dedicated to customer reviews such as Yelp!, Google Reviews, Angie’s List, Zillow, Redfin and Trulia. Have an especially good review? Share it on your social media channels as well to let those good vibes travel even further.
- Editorial content – The opportunity to brand yourself as an expert via a newspaper or magazine article or as a guest blogger can add tons of credibility in the eyes of prospective clients. Post links to articles and blog posts on your website as another means to build your credibility.
- Value-adding content – Demonstrate your value by offering a market report, list of trusted partners (lenders, inspectors, contractors, etc.), or other informational giveaways that your referral sources can provide to their friends as the entree to your services. These can be created as pdf documents that can be downloaded from your website or emailed (again, think of your trusty CRM). Added bonus: Producing a digital product negates the cost of printing.
Are you ready to make the most of your referrals? How will you employ these tactics?
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