Striking Gold!

Whether you are in the middle of the busy season in real estate or at any other time of the year, you have an ongoing need for fresh listings. You can do it the hard way, by dropping flyers in people’s letterboxes and waiting for them to call. Or, says Frances Pratt, you can build a referral business for growth.

Referred leads are gold because you have a higher chance of closing sales with them, and this means you have to do fewer sales calls in order to reach your targets. Simple.

Why Referrals Work
Referrals have a much higher conversion rate because of trust. The person trusts the referrer and therefore they are more likely to trust you and what you have to say to them. Much of the initial effort that you would normally put into establishing credibility has been done, leaving you more time to guide them through your sales process and make them a happy customer. There are some really simple things that you can put in place right now to build more referrals into your business, and here’s the trick: you have to be proactive about it. You have to ask your clients and people that you know for referrals into your business. Why? Because someone is three times more likely to refer business to you if you simply just ask them to.

Getting Referrals to Work
Make it easy for your client to refer the right client to you. There are a number of reasons why people may be hesitant to refer other clients. Think them through and come up with a referral pack that neatly answers these common questions. Answering these fears will increase the likelihood that someone will give you a referral.
Identify and understand your target market and know how to accurately describe them to a lay person. This is
a powerful tool to use when asking for referrals because it means that the person referring business to you will have greater confidence that they are giving you the right type of client and not wasting your time. This is important to reduce the perceived risk of embarrassment of them getting it wrong.

Be clear about what each person in the equation should expect when they refer you business. Have a referral roadmap that simply shows what happens to referrals once you get them, both for the referrer and the potential client. This roadmap should answer two key questions for each of the participants: what’s in it for me, and how does this help me Actively talk about referrals in meetings with clients. Have some customer success stories about people who have been referred to you. Your stories should emphasise your differentiation points, the reasons that people have chosen to work with you and give the listener insights into how you operate and work with your clients.

How to Build a Referral Business
The easiest way to increase referrals into your business is to have happy clients; happy clients, funnily enough, are much more likely to refer business to you.

Make sure that you introduce your ‘referral ask’ into all client meetings, so that it becomes part of the way that you talk about your business. Here’s an example of a way to introduce this. Once you have had success in selling someone’s house, have a review meeting with them. This review meeting should be an opportunity to learn what went well and areas for improvement. Once you have asked these questions try the following segue.

‘Thank you. One last thing: my main business focus for 2013 is to increase my listings of beautiful homes, just like yours. I have had great success with referrals in this suburb and am focusing on that, as I know my clients trust me. So, if you know someone and you think I could help sell their house (add ideal client information), I would be more than happy to speak with them. Here’s some information on how this works for you and the person you refer. And I would be happy to answer any questions that you have.’
That one simple statement is going to help your clients think about the right type of people who they can refer to you, and because they know what you want and how it works they’re much more likely to do it.
Remember to make it easy for them by giving them some business cards or post cards with your details.
Once you get a referral from a client there are a few things you need to do:

  • Confirm the contact details and the best way to get in touch with them
  • Confirm that you can use the referrer’s name when you’re talking to the potential client
  • Make sure that you actually call this person and follow up the lead
  • Keep in touch with the referrer about how you’re getting on, because if you’re successful with them and you keep in touch then they’re much more likely to refer more business to you next time.

Last thing – remember your manners. When you get a referral remember to say thank you. That can be in words, but some people choose to give money, gifts or even a nice thank you card. Find your own style, something that suits your business and your clients.

So now it’s over to you to get out there and talk to your clients!

Selling has been the focus of Frances Pratt’s life for nearly 20 years, and she knows what a difference understanding ‘how to sell’ can make. She has created www.kisstosell.com.au to ‘demystify’ sales and show people who hate selling how to make it part of what RP data they do every day, so it really doesn’t seem like selling at all.

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