New, or newer agents, tend to believe that referrals from their Sphere of Influence, or SOI, can only occur if they constantly ask their friends or family for referrals. This can be somewhat uncomfortable. Many feel that asking for referrals would cause their friends to avoid them, and eventually they would lose those friends. There are a few things that agents can do to help themselves if they find themselves in this situation:
1. If you feel a friendship has been affected, and it suits their personality, agents can repair broken friendships by hand-writing an apology letter. Be sincere and apologetic, but not too sappy. Be friendly.
2. Be a friend first and a real estate agent second. Engage in coffee dates, casual emails, dinner parties, and other opportunities for socialization. Do not mention your real estate career unless it is appropriate. The goal is to make everyone think that you are happy, enthusiastic, reliable, dependable, cool, and oh yeah - you happen to be a real estate agent too!
3. Keep meeting people! The more people you know means the more potential for even more contacts!
4. Commit to a certain number of personal, hand-written notes daily. Write the note in the moment – when a reason occurs. Remember to always keep a supply of blank note cards and envelopes with you at all times. Think about events like birthdays, anniversaries, a new baby, a house for sale in their neighborhood, a thank you for a referral, etc.
5. Always remember to express your thanks for a referral immediately after you receive them. Think about sending a small thank you item with your card such as a gift card, movie ticket, etc.
6. Get involved in community events or groups, because you never know who you will meet and where.
Remember that every referral you receive is worth $500. Recognize the individuals who send referrals to you and make sure you treat your referrals with the best possible service.
Best Agent Business knows a thing or two about referrals – it is how we get our clients and our staff. We also review the newest and best books on client retention and referral marketing. We will provide you with suggestions on how to maximize your marketing budget to get the highest rate of repeat and referral business as possible. One of these suggestions is a monthly client contest with a prize worth $100 to $300. Make it fast and easy for everyone to enter the contest, and make the prize something that everyone would enjoy such as a gift card, gas card, movie tickets, fancy dinner, etc. Vary the price each month to get a wider mix of people to respond.
Once you get a response, reply back and catch up with them on their life situation. When the winner is announced, send it via a mass email and pose another question. You won’t be asking for a referral, but by establishing yourself as part of their lives and making them feel that you care, they will remember you if any of their friends or family ask them if they know a good Realtor®.
Many agents drop all of their leads into their database and leave them there. They may work those leads in one way or the other by picking and choosing, going down the list, or they may ignore them completely. Coding leads can help you immensely in your business.
Consider categorizing into A, B and C Leads. Seller A could be someone who has gone on a listing appointment or one who you anticipate booking a listing appointment with within 30 days, Seller B within 3 months and Seller C within one year or beyond. If you have a Seller C who decides not to sell, you should move them to your SOI category so they can continue to get your marketing materials until they are ready to sell.
Once you have your leads coded, maximize on your time investment. Consider sending monthly emails to all of your contacts, including seller leads. These emails will only take a few hours of your time to send each month. Think about the following subjects for your emails to maximize the number of seller leads you receive:
1. Market Conditions – Include a summary of current market conditions without the real estate jargon. Offer a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to all interested sellers to determine what their house could sell for and provide a link to your website with a more comprehensive look at market condition trends over the years.
2. Provide helpful home ideas and a list of great service providers. Fixing up their houses will only increase the amount of money they will receive if they choose to sell. Include a coupon for a plumber, landscaper, etc. to really build some communication momentum.
3. Send an email that isn’t related to the market or their home. Include some personal information about yourself and invite them to an event you are sponsoring. This is a great way to mingle and meet new people!
Remember some of these tips:
1. All monthly emails should have a catchy subject line that makes people want to open and read the email. Include a short personal question or a note that encourages people to reply to you – the goal is to get people to reply and interact with you.
2. January is the perfect time of the year to contact your Seller leads about selling in the upcoming year. Ask them to fax back the form, call you, or email you in January to avoid the spring rush so they can get your full and undivided attention.
For more information on how Best Agent Business can help you improve your database practices and many other aspect of your Real Estate Business, visit us at www.bestagentbusiness.com, call (202) 297-2393, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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