Some find acquiring referrals to be a daunting task and may feel as though they are very difficult. Some wonder why they struggle despite having a strong sphere of influence; supportive clients and business associates; and friends and family.
Below are you may find the reasoning behind your struggle. In many cases, realtors find themselves guilty of at least 2 of the following problems:
- You are not asking for referrals.
- You do not follow up on referrals.
- They are unaware that you want referrals.
People will not automatically give you referrals.
Generally, people will not automatically give you referrals for the same reasons that you are not referring business to them. They may be busy, they may not know how to go about it, or they may not know that you need them. Understandably, some may hesitate when asking for referrals because they do not want to impose. However, failing to indicate or signal your need for referrals sends the message that you do not require the help from others.
There are four key points to keep in mind when getting referrals:
- Networking: business and social
- Communication: effectively reaching out to your sphere of influence
- Marketing: how are you spreading your brand?
- Responsiveness: thanking the person referring and following up on the referral
Networking describes all of the activities your partake in in order to contact your clients and potential clients. This includes both social and business matters that aim to attract prospective clients as well as gain new referrals. The key to gaining referrals is to build a meaningful connection through fostering trust and effective communication. This can be done by acknowledging your relationship through emails, a business card or a thank-you note.
Communication is essential to reaching success; however, keep in mind that not all communication is effective. Many people are quick to send emails or newsletters that are very impersonal and therefore do not reinforce relationships between the client and the business. Try to include more meaningful channels of communication, such as picking up the phone and asking whether there is any way that your business can help theirs and vice versa.
Secondly, following up is crucial to reinforcing each relationship that you create. This can easily be done through holiday cards, event invitations, or simply social gatherings if they are within your sphere of influence. Remind them that you would appreciate their help in building your business through referrals.
Many people, perhaps even clients that you have previously worked with, will have their own follow-up systems. You need to create your own methodology, whether than entails an immediate thank-you card, a telephone call after 3 months, or a monthly newsletter. Choose a system that you can sustain, but keep in mind that your message needs to be clear: you want referrals.
How are you spreading your brand? Marketing encompasses all of your efforts in building your brand awareness, including your website, brochures, and printed materials. Be mindful of your marketing strategies and ensure that you are effectively communicating with your clients and potential clients. Does your business card have unnecessary information? Is your photo and description of your business accurate? Are you being consistent with all of your marketing materials?
In order to foster a meaningful relationship with the individual doing the referring as well as the referral, it is important to show your appreciation for them. This is done by responding or acknowledging their service in a timely and professional manner. Failing to do so will result in a loss of referrals as well as relationships with other businesses.
If you do not receive recognition for a referral, try not to feel unappreciated as this may cause you to negatively perceive your business.
Although there is no foolproof method for gaining referrals, below are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- First turn to your sphere of influence for referrals
- Respond to your referrals in a timely manner; the sooner the better
- Show your appreciation to those who refer your business
- Actively network in order to expand your sphere of influence
- Effectively communicate and be clear with what you need
- Use more personable methods of communication
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