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2011-05-16 16:39:06

As an Agent, it is Important to Build and Nurture a Referral Network

As a REALTOR®, it’s important to build and systematically nurture a referral network.

Top real estate agents rely on referrals for up to 95% of their business. Referrals are a point of professional pride among REALTORS®, and a high referral rate is a testament to an agent’s ability to engender trust, loyalty and satisfaction among clients.

The first step in creating a referral network is to provide top notch service to each and every client. It’s not enough to give adequate service; only over-the-top service is referral-worthy. Go the extra mile; anticipate your clients’ needs; refer people to them; help smooth out the bumps in whatever ways possible. When you know that you have served your clients well, asking for referrals is a simple, logical next step.

If flat out asking seems too direct, you can send out real estate information in the form of blogs, tweets, Facebook updates, emails, letters, articles or reports. Offering expertise, advice, and goodwill positions you as a reliable, trusted expert and reaffirms your ongoing relationship with clients. Every time you make a contact, you are effectively requesting referrals.

Choose your timing: It makes sense to ask for referrals when people are the most likely to give them. Immediately after you close a transaction is a good time to take advantage of the emotional rush that accompanies the occasion. In fact, some of the best referrals come from the most challenging deals. If you can turn a disaster around or overcome difficulties with diligence and grace, you show yourself to be a resourceful problem solver and clients will often sing your praises.

Another opportunity may present itself when a client withdraws from a transaction. At an opportune moment, you might say, “I realize this transaction wasn't right for you. I support your decision and want to do what's in your best interest. But may I ask a favor: Is there someone you know who I can begin building a relationship with, so that when they're ready to do a real estate transaction, I can be their REALTOR®?" If you've timed your moment well and set the right tone, your client will be delighted to give you a referral.

Although the best time to focus on obtaining referrals is at the client's peak of enthusiasm, it's important to keep in touch regularly thereafter. A simple drip email campaign or a telephone, card or newsletter program may trigger referrals.

The main reason people resist giving referrals is that they’re afraid you may reflect badly on them. They don’t want to feel responsible for friends, family or colleagues having a disappointing experience. Stellar service, regular follow-up and unflagging commitment to giving your best is the basis for solid relationships and a strong referral network that will serve you throughout your career.




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