With so many Realtors® saturating the market, clients have a lot of options when it comes to choosing an agent to help them buy or sell a home. Agents have reported that 75% of their business comes from referrals and word of mouth, making it one of the most effective ways to retain and grow your real estate business. With such great potential to grow your business, agents should be focusing on how they can increase and strengthen their referrals.
When you think of receiving leads by referral, your mind tends to focus on past clients; however, you should not limit yourself. By creating relationships with local business owners you can help each other and be all the more useful to your clients. As a seasoned agent, you know you can’t do it all on your own, and having an arsenal of networks will give you the winning edge when it comes to referrals.
“Stop trying to be amazing, and start being useful.”
Everyone wants to stand out and be the agent that people come to when they need to sell or purchase a home. However, how about being the agent that is useful between transactions? Not only during the buying/selling process, but when clients have questions about their new community or need help fixing an issue with their new home. This is where creating a network becomes handy. You will not only have a list of referrals for your clients, but now these referrals have an agent they know and trust to refer their clients to.
Your website is the perfect location to dedicate a page or two to your network (don’t forget to ask permission before adding any business). Linking these websites and social media profiles to your page will raise your SEO ranking, improving your search engine results. When designing the page, don’t list the businesses as if in a directory. Instead, create a page where you talk about your personal experiences with these businesses and why you would recommend them to your clients. Make sure to add photos and/or videos, you can even try creating a community video.
Hire a videographer for a day or ask a friend to follow you around town filming you going to these businesses. Highlight the atmosphere of the business, your experience there, and ask the manager or owner to come out and say hello. Clients will get the complete feel and see why you recommend these places. When placing these videos on your website, try considering one of the two following categories to apply them to: industry or community page/section.
An Industry page/section should be committed to businesses that will help your clients buy, sell and maintain their home: mortgage companies, handymen, contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. Try only including businesses you’ve work with and trust. This will ensure you are only recommending the best to your clients, which could lead to positive reviews.
A Community page/section is devoted to other businesses that improve the lifestyles of clients in your working area: restaurants, salons, cafes, boutiques, etc. These are businesses that are not in your industry, but are great to have because clients are new to an area and want to know where to go.
If you don’t have a website, social media is another great place to build a great network of businesses. It has opened the doors to connect with those around you in an instant. However, just because you add a business, doesn’t mean you have actually “connected.” You can consider creating a Facebook Group with these other businesses to keep you all in connection and have an easy way of referring clients. You should also be on the lookout for social users asking for recommendations and reply to their posts by tagging these companies. This not only builds your reputation as the local expert, but once the business sees the tag and who recommended them, they will begin to notice you too, creating a relationship.
You are now on your way to creating meaningful relationships with local businesses. Don’t forget to pass by these places on a regular basis just to say hello, keeping you on top of their mental list if and when the opportunity arises to refer a real estate client your way.
You can also leave behind marketing materials such as pens, business cards, and flyers with your information that they can hand to clients. While you maintain your relationships, Homes.com’s Marketing Center creates a single property website, Facebook post, ePostcard, flyer, and postcard for each new listing you send to Homes.com. Simply click the link in the email to download your new marketing materials which you can then give to your local businesses.
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