With less than 175 days left in 2014, it would be a great time to look back at the first half of the year and review how your opportunities were sourced, and from there, implement a process for insuring your referrals will keep coming. By the way, if you have not as of yet, make sure you download our free Mid-Year Review form.
This week, we have the pleasure of having a guest blogger provide insight on how to properly process referrals. Paul Reitz is a seasoned veteran of the commercial real estate arena with domestic and international experience. We are also proud to have Paul as one of our coaches at the Massimo Group.
Referrals as a Process
It’s no secret that a significant number of our real estate deals come from referrals of clients and friends. Yet many real estate agents lack a process for not only managing the referral business but more importantly for driving it.
Let’s start by examining the reasons that would motivate your client or friend to give a referral. This list may include:
1) They want to help you
2) They want to help someone else
3) They like being in the know or the attention that it brings them to be a resource
4) They are pleased with past service and feel safe recommending
5) They receive financial or other forms of benefit
So what happens when a client or friend gives a referral and never hears about it?
Their motivation to keep doing so declines or gets redirected to someone else!
The logic here is pretty self-apparent, yet like many things, turning the concept into action is the key step differentiating top producers from the “also ran in the race” category
We recommend a four step process that addresses the opportunity and becomes your “Referral System. (NOTE- It is a given that your will provide exceptional service to the new prospect)
THE FOUR STEP REFERRAL PROCESS
- Within 24 hours or less, acknowledge the referral with a phone call, preferably or an email. No Exceptions.
- Thank the client or friend for the referral and let them know how much you appreciate them doing so and what it means to you and your business.
- Inform the client or friend what you have done to act upon the referral; briefly what you will do throughout the process, assuring them of the same service level that the client or friends has come to expect; and how you will communicate to them about the status of the referral so that they know their referral is being handled.
- Take the opportunity to ask the client if they need any help with their real estate needs (always prospect) and as important, ask them how you can help them grow their business if appropriate.
Customize your referral process along these lines to suite your business. We recommend making a referral form for your deal file that outlines these steps and integrating the use of this form into your standard business practice
Think of it as the checklist that your airline captain uses every time he or she flies a plane.
Most of us have good intentions about referrals, but have also been through the crunch periods where things can fall through the cracks. By turning the handling of referrals into a process and utilizing a checklist, you will minimize the opportunities lost and maximize growing this important component of your business.
One last thought….the effort to develop business from people that don’t know you is challenging at best. When your past success creates a new opportunity through a referral, you have a “warm call” queued up and ready to go! Taking the time to acknowledge, show appreciation and demonstrate your professionalism to the clients and friends sending you’re the referral will keep these leads coming and reinforce the reasons that motivate them to think of you when they hear of someone needing real estate services.