How to Build an Income-Producing Referral Business

How to Build an Income-Producing Referral Business

Imagine having a business where most of your income comes from people you know. That is the dream of many new and seasoned real estate agents. An income-producing referral business is not only possible, it is achievable.

Real estate is an essential business built on relationships, and your database is your gold-mine. By following the suggestions below, you can begin learning the skills to effectively communicate, network and grow your business. The incredible results will be a business that is built on referrals. This means increased revenue and a solid business that is continually expanding. Get ready to start mining. Your road map to success begins here.

It all begins with who you know.

1. Have A CRM That Works For Your Personality

Some like it simple, while others prefer highly technical. A CRM is a Customer Relationship Platform. It is designed to help you seamlessly nurture and keep in contact with your current clients, past clients, future clients, and network of professionals. A CRM can help you manage all your connections in one place. It can also alert you when to contact someone or help you to keep track during each phase of your transactions. Even when you are new to the business, it is important to keep in touch with everyone you know, to continually add to your database each week.

2. Organize Your Contacts In Your CRM

It helps you to know when to contact each person. Because real estate is a people business, it’s important to continually build relationships. For this, categorize each contact. Most CRMs offer training and tools to have you effectively manage everyone in your database. Start slowly and make a plan each week to master your database by the alphabet or where they are in the buying or selling cycle.

3. Build Strong Networks

It’s not just who you know. It is about connecting with those people where you create value for each other. Connect with attorneys, lenders, home inspectors, contractors, insurance agents, your local bank, and Chamber of Commerce. This is just an example. There are many more to help build your local presence. Building a network is a two-way street. If you are giving your business to your network, ask them to please reciprocate and think of you when a client in your area of expertise is looking to buy, sell or invest. Also consider becoming part of a national networking or mastermind group. Many have meetings in your local area. Include some fun ones, such as Creative Mornings, which is in about 214 cities nationwide.

Nurture Those Relationships

We are bombarded by so much information each day. This is your opportunity to personalize your messages and stand out from the rest. One real estate agent who grew his referral business tremendously said that he schedules at least 2 hours three days each week to contact his database via text, phone or in person.  This includes other real estate agents as well that can refer him business!

Send A Card

He schedules time to send cards: birthdays, home anniversaries and wedding anniversaries. Putting a card in the mail is becoming a lost art. Getting an e-mail is NOT the same. By taking the time to send a card, it is not only personal, it is memorable. Here are some ideas we have written about.

Coffee, Tea, or Smoothie?

Wednesdays are for coffee chats or lunch with past clients. It can also be with anyone with whom he is looking to build a stronger professional relationship. Based on the preference of the individual client, he will meet them for their desired beverage or food preference.

Market Updates

Fridays are for following up on Market Updates he has sent. One of the most popular pieces of information agents send are Market Updates on recent homes for sale and homes that have recently closed. Many times, this information goes to spam or is unread. So this agent calls or texts to make sure they have seen it. The result…a greater increase in referral business.

Social Media

Social media is vital to everyone right now. Make time each day to look at least one social network of your preference. Check out their Facebook or Instagram posts to see what your network is up to. Before meeting with a potential client or referral, check out their profile on social media first. Another great place is Linked In for your professional network.

Feel you don’t have time to post or look at your social media account every day? Try scheduling it in your calendar for at least twice per week to be top of mind and connect with your network. You can also see when they have birthdays coming up. Posts can be scheduled in advance with providers such as your CRM or companies that offer social media scheduling including Sprout Social, Hubspot or Hootsuite.

E-Mail campaigns and newsletters

Use email or newsletters to share important information specific to the person who is receiving it. Many CRM’s or companies that offer newsletter services offer different models that cater to the specific audience you are looking to reach. Getting more personal means a higher open rate. For example, one real estate agent will send out a newsletter geared towards that person’s interests. It could be sports, food, health, or lifestyle. The bottom line is that it all ties into real estate.

Offer A Prize Or Charity Donation

To make sure she gets a high open rate for her newsletter, one agent said that she offers a prize for a contest or a quiz. It could be a discount coupon to Starbucks or a lottery ticket. She also offers donations to charities that are popular in her network such as animal rescue and animals that go to visit homes for the elderly for every referral.

When the people in your life feel that you care, it makes all the difference. The goal is to be top of mind when anyone is thinking of buying or selling real estate and to offer information that is valuable. This method takes time and commitment. It will not happen overnight. Yet the positive difference in your referral business can be profound.

Written for Form Simplicity by Janice Zaltman, a Realtor, LEED AP, Marketing Coach and Writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields.

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