6 Tips to Build Your Real Estate Referral Network
Referrals are a key part of any real estate business. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the business for a long time, odds are that you can stand to strengthen your referral game. With that in mind, below are a few tips to help you build a real estate referral network that will keep you in business for years to come.
Ways to help your real estate referral network grow
1. Give a pop-by gift to past clients.
Giving clients a pop-by gift is an easy way to make sure you stay at the top of their minds. In real estate, a pop-by is a small token that often has a slogan attached to it along with your contact information. Its purpose is to let the client know that you are thinking of them. However, in this case, it can also be a creative way to ask for a referral.
Usually, pop-by gives tend to be small, generic, and seasonally appropriate. For example, in February, you might give clients a box of candy hearts with a slogan that says, “Referrals are the heart of my business.” Meanwhile, in June, you could give your clients an ice cream scoop that has the slogan, “Have your family and friends call me to get the scoop on the real estate market.”
That said, before you start giving out any gifts, it’s important to review NAR’s code of ethics as well as any requirements from your State Board of REALTORS®. Put simply, every state has different regulations regarding exchanging gifts with clients. You’ll want to make sure that you follow your state’s guidelines.
2. Host a client appreciation event.
Another idea for sourcing referrals is to host a client appreciation event. These events are just like you would anticipate. You put on an event for your clients, essentially thanking them for their continued business.
Normally, we would suggest all sorts of fun outings as a way to show your appreciation. You could, for example, offer your clients an afternoon of bowling and lunch. Alternatively, you could buy a block of tickets for a sporting event that features your local team.
However, in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, you may have to do some things differently. In this instance, it makes sense to host a virtual event for your clients instead of one that requires them to gather in person. These days, you could buy tickets to a virtual cooking class or cocktail-making seminar.
3. Write and send thank notes to grow your real estate referral network.
In a world where everyone gets far too many emails, there’s nothing more special than receiving a handwritten thank-you note in the mail. With that in mind, it may make sense to add writing thank you notes to past clients to your marketing strategy.
Where this strategy is concerned, timing is key. Traditionally, it makes sense to send thank you notes shortly after the client in question uses your services. However, it also makes sense to send a thank you after the client has given you a referral and the referral has decided to work with you.
4. Keep track of client milestones.
One of the keys to growing your real estate referral network is going above and beyond for your clients. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do anything out of the ordinary, it does mean that you have to put some extra effort into remembering the little details.
Keeping track of client milestones is one way to show that you care. For example, you could send your clients a letter on the anniversary of their settlement. Here, it’s simply a matter of setting yourself a reminder to do so. Once you know that an anniversary is coming up, you can send a letter or a small note congratulating them on another year of homeownership.
5. Follow former clients on social media.
If you really want to keep track of the big events in your clients lives, do your best to follow them on social media. That way, you’ll see them come across your timeline whenever they make a post. Do your best to comment on any relevant news and to engage with them when appropriate.
While following your clients on social media isn’t the same as asking for a referral, it does make sure that you interact with them on a semi-regular basis. On your end, you can also work to ensure that you stay at the forefront of their minds by posting regularly.
6. Learn to ask for them.
Lastly, the surest way to grow your real estate referral network is by asking for them. While you don’t have to hound people about it, practice asking when it comes up naturally and conversation. The more you practice, the easier it will get.