In any sales industry, referrals are the backbone of success. They’re not only endorsements of your service, they are leads that could turn into potential sales. One of the best ways to earn their trust is to start out on the right foot by being introduced – referred – by a mutually trusted party. People are more likely to do business with an agent whom they’ve heard positive experiences about from a trusted source. These trusted sources, aka referring clients, are essentially PR agents effectively working as your word-of-mouth marketing team.
What are some of the key elements of referral-worthy service?
- Always provide your clients with timely information and updates, even if the news is bad. Communication is key, regardless of the impact of the information. Let your clients know what you are doing to sell or find a property. Trust is earned by being communicative and timely with information regarding your clients’ needs.
- Learn to listen. Listening is a skill that includes paying attention to and understanding what your clients are saying. Listening is NOT hearing just to respond.
- Return phone calls in a timely manner and answer emails promptly. This may seem a rudimentary reminder; however, it’s becoming a common and concerning topic of increasing frequency. The power of technology and immediate communication tools changes the ease of communicating. Returning phones calls is a mainstay in communication etiquette and service. Utilize your voicemail by letting your callers know that you will respond within a certain time frame. This automatically tells your callers that you are considerate of their time and value their calls. Be reliable and consistent with communication.
- Be responsive to expressed and unexpressed needs. Most people don’t buy homes on a regular basis, and even if they do, they may not be privy to the important steps in the process. Take this opportunity to guide and inform your clients through the proceedings.
- Showcase your specialty. Every agent has a specialty to convey – what is yours? Understanding what sets you apart from other agents creates a niche and a specialty for your clients to speak to.
- Be visible. Always have business cards handy, maintain a website that is search-engine optimized, and be active on social media. Make sure your contact information is prominent on your website, email signatures, and newsletters. Make it easy for people to not only find you, but get in touch with you.
- Thank everyone who makes a referral. Regardless of if the referral produces a client or a lead, it shows just how much referring clients are an integral part of your business.
If you are hoping for referrals but not directly asking for them, you are doing yourself a disservice.
It pays greatly to be clear about the benefits of referrals to your business. Offer incentives to encourage loyal and satisfied clients to discuss your services and business practices. Referral reward programs offer incentives to these clients that showcase your business is worth referring. Having a reward program for clients not only provides incentive, it shows appreciation and nurtures already valuable relationships.