Essential Tips to Get More Real Estate Referrals
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
To build a successful real estate business, you need one thing: Referrals.
Referrals play a huge role in the real estate industry. Prospects want to minimize their risk when buying or selling property, so they’re more likely to ask around and go with a proven agent who’s helped others in their social circle.
When you receive a referral, you know that you’ve done everything right. You’ve managed to impress your client with quality service and results so much so that they’ve told others to seek you out. That’s a great feeling.
But getting real estate referrals doesn’t come easily, even if you’ve successfully helped clients in the past. It’s even harder if you’re a new real estate agent without much experience.
Fortunately, no matter how experienced an agent you are (or aren’t), there are several guaranteed ways to improve your referral rate. Let’s discuss.
First thing’s first: Be the very best agent you can be.
Prospects want to work with the best agent out there. And they will only recommend agents who they trust to do a good job for others. If you want to get more referrals, you’ll need to blow your clients’ socks off with great and attentive service. You may not be the most experienced agent on the block (yet), but you can be the best at delivering excellent customer service, answering your calls in a timely manner, providing thoughtful advice, and educating your client on how to achieve their goals.
Your past clients should never be left in the past. They now belong to your ever-expanding network, and it’s up to you to keep your network alive and thriving. Don’t let your network die because you don’t maintain a relationship with people you’ve helped in the past.
Create a plan to stay in regular contact with your clients. Every year, you should reach out to your clients at least once a quarter. The contact doesn’t need to be extensive. You can send out a holiday card or send over a quick “how’s it going?” email. The goal of regular communication is to stay connected with your clients. This way, you’ll be at the top of their mind when they need to refer others to you.
Be a resource for everyone in your network. This includes prospects, past clients, fellow agents, and others you may work beside in the real estate industry. Your network should see you as an asset and someone who will freely give their time, advice, and know-how to help others.
Are you creating content yet? If not, here’s your sign to do so.
Whether you’re writing blog posts, social media posts, or eBooks, or filming YouTube videos or TikToks, one thing is for certain: You need to create content if you want to get referrals. Some referrals may come from the unlikeliest of places: The Internet. Search engines like Google or social media platforms like Facebook can refer a lot of potential business your way. The catch? You must have content first.
Having a website is step one, but the next step is to have content that potential clients are searching for currently. Think of how many more eyeballs will be on your website if you had relevant content that matches the queries being searched for, such as tips for staging a home in your city or a guide for potential real estate investors.
Beyond your website, you can also create posts on various social media sites. Choose to post on only one or two platforms to avoid overwhelming yourself. On these platforms, you can create the same type of post or simply link back to your blog.
Most agents don’t take the extra step of creating content. But, if you do, you can increase your visibility on search engines and social and also increase your chances of getting referrals.
Email is another form of content to help your referral game. Email may seem boring, but creating an email marketing strategy is one of the smartest things you can do for the future of your business.
There are two main types of emails to consider sending: Personal and marketing.
Personal emails are one-to-one and should be done with the main goal of connecting with your contact individually.
Marketing emails are one-to-many and consist of people who’ve signed up to receive promotional emails from you. You can build your email list right from your blog by asking blog readers to sign up to receive email notifications whenever you publish a new blog post.
Once you have email subscribers, you should send out emails on a regular basis (at least once per month) to stay top of mind with your network. Be sure to send on a consistent schedule, too. Consistency is so important because your network will eventually come to anticipate your email newsletter.
When sending out emails, share valuable information. People don’t want to waste their time reading content that isn’t relevant or valuable to them. Share content that will align with their goals, whether that’s to buy or sell.
You can also send out emails to ask your subscribers to refer others to you. The best time to ask for a referral is after you’ve provided a lot of valuable content that proves you know real estate well.
To ensure that you’re sending out the most valuable emails, consider separating your email by different interests, such as potential buyers and potential sellers. Your email marketing tool (like MailChimp) will make it easy for you to separate your email list into smaller groups based on those interests so that you only send them content relevant to their interests (for example, you might not want to send buyers your tips for staging a house for sale, but you'd definitely want to send those tips to sellers). To start the process of identifying the goals of your email subscribers, send out a survey and ask your subscribers what types of content they’d like to see from you. Then, based on their individual answer, send them to a specific group based on their interests, or several groups. Don’t worry. This can be configured in your email marketing tool, too.
Email marketing is a long game, but it will help you get referrals if you remain consistent and send information that proves your value as an agent.
You can be a generalist agent, but it’s often better to specialize. When you specialize in a certain type of real estate property, you can quickly become an expert in that niche. Real estate clients prefer to work with experts. So, if you can make your name become synonymous with a particular type of property, do it. This will make people in your network more likely to recommend you when someone they know is looking to buy a particular property in your niche.
Make it easy for your network to refer others to you. In other words, be available online and be available in more than one place online. At a minimum, you should have a website and an established social media presence. This way, someone can easily google you. Remember that a referral source may not have your business card on hand (even if you’ve given them an entire box to hand out), so being easily accessible online is hugely important for increasing your referrals.
Don’t just check in with your clients once a year or, worse, once after the transaction is over. Be a regular contact for them. Send out holiday greetings. But also add variety to your check-ins. Ask those in your network out for coffee. Send personal notes, and also ask if you can help them promote their business in any way.
When someone in your network sends over a referral, go out of your way to show your gratitude. Send a gift, invite to dinner, or at least, write a note of appreciation. These small gestures can strengthen the relationship between you and your network and increase referrals in the future.
Give your clients a reason to remember you long after the transaction is over.
Buying or selling a house may be something you do constantly, but it's a special experience for your client, and one they may only do a handful of times (or even once). If you can make this occasion as special as possible for them, you'll earn your place at the top of their mind when it's time to tell others about you.
Always keep in mind that this is a new, exciting, and maybe even overwhelming experience for your client, and do everything you can to make the process easy and enjoyable.
Whether you’re new or experienced in real estate, you can always use more referrals. Use the above proven tips to increase your real estate referrals and grow your business.