The most effective strategy in sales is to send, call, and see. We should be sending something to our list at least monthly. Call them on a set schedule based on your level of category of how likely they are to give referrals. See them periodically in person to enhance the relationship. A Champion technique is to coordinate these activities. Too many agents send their monthly mail out in bulk. The problem with that is, by the end of the month, when you are making your final calls the clients have no idea what you sent them. They don't remember.
Only mail out this week what you can call next week. We want to coordinate a one-two punch to our clients. This ensures a better bang for the marketing dollar and better return on investment for the call. It will also create an opening for the phone call in case you are challenged by what to say.
We also need to educate our clients on what a prospect looks like. We in the business know the signs of a potential prospect. The problem is our clients, past clients, and spheres don't know unless we teach them. Most agents receive a number of referrals annually where we were too late. The prospect would have considered us, but we knew about them too late. We need to teach our referral sources to notice the signs that their friends are in the "thinking about moving" stage. This is where we want to enter in. It helps us generate more sure deals. The best part is we will generate more seller transactions, which is what we really want. We need to teach our clients and get them to look for the universal signs of this stage: the prospect is pregnant, recent adoption, transfer being considered, promotion, impending empty nest, health trouble with aged parents, challenges in a marriage relationship. All these are signs; even a garage sale can be a lead up to a move.
Current clients are the most forgotten source of referrals. We often wait to establish the referral relationship until after we are down the road a few weeks with them. Still, many agents wait until they become past clients to ask for referrals.
You can get referrals the night you list the home. I have done it a handful of times. In a marketplace that is challenging and tough, when the client will probably realize less profit then they hope, get the referrals now. Later they may not be happy with the outcome, though no fault of your own. The market might dictate the negative feelings.
It's never too early to begin building referral relationships. You can start during the first meeting or phone call with any prospect, using a script such as this:
"Fred, I build my business primarily based on referrals from clients. The benefit to you is my focus will always be to give you the best service possible. The reason is I want to earn the honor to talk with you in the future about who you know that would benefit from my service. The only way I deserve to have that conversation is based on the job I do for you. I know that if you are delighted with my service, you will want to help me and your friends out."
Ask them for referrals during the course of the transaction. Their every conversation in life is about the home they are buying or selling. They are talking about real estate as much as we are.
Don't neglect to call them a number of times right after the closing. The most fertile time for referrals is from the time they decide to buy or sell, until around forty-five to sixty days after the close. Call them at least four times in the first thirty days after they close. Remember, in their view, every call you made up until closing was because you wanted to get paid. Every call after you close is because you care.