Client Referrals are the Best Quality Leads

Agents have many different avenues of getting referrals. By far the most effective are real estate client referrals. The bottom line is happy clients equal future business. According to the NAR 2018 Buyer and Seller’s Guide, “Referrals continue to be the way most buyers find their real estate agent.” 41% of all real estate clients come from referrals! Referrals also skew higher with younger demographics under 37.
But is there a way to maximize the number of referrals an agent generates? Yes! By making smart choices during the client’s real estate experience and beyond, real estate agents can generate new clients through referrals. We are exploring some of the tried and true methods to generate more real estate client referrals.

1. Listen & Deliver

The #1 way to generate word-of-mouth referrals is to listen to clients and give them what they need. Excellent customer service is a by-product of this. Listening to client needs and then meeting them with excellent customer service is the best way to rack up referrals. It’s that simple. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is so often overlooked. Many Realtors spend so much time chasing leads and worrying about the next paycheck. They sometimes forget to live in the present.

2. Market Savvy Closing Gifts

The best closing gifts are custom and create conversations long after the sale. This is especially true for Millenials, who respond better to customized gifts. Choosing a gift like a customized throw pillow, art piece, or yard game is sure to be displayed prominently and spark a lot of conversations. Being intentional about closing gifts is a huge hit for clients and is also a great marketing opportunity to get word-of-mouth referrals. Even if an agent didn’t like a particular client (and we all have been there), giving one of these gifts can spark a lot of word-of-mouth hype.

real estate client referrals

3. Experiential Marketing

It is no secret that marketing has turned away from traditional ads. Experiential marketing has risen over the last 15 years to take its place. Experiential marketing focuses on creating live or digital events for consumers that lead to purchasing decisions. This form of marketing not only creates a relationship between consumers and a brand, but it also generates word-of-mouth hype and conversation.

Creating annual experiences and micro-experiences for past clients is a smart way to get more referrals. Honoring past clients with an annual dinner/lunch/cocktail celebration can generate talk and strengthen the bonds between agents and past clients.

Micro-experiences are forms of experiential marketing on a smaller level. Some ideas include sending customized video messages for past client’s birthdays. Another great idea is creating a raffle or social media contest for a small prize like a gift basket. Incentivizing past clients to give an online referral is a great way to garner word-of-mouth leads.

4. Growing Relationships

Just because a deal closed doesn’t mean the relationship with the previous client ends. They may refer one person, but why not make that 3 or 4 over the next couple of years? Maintaining a relationship is key. Spamming past clients with monthly newsletters or running into them at the grocery store doesn’t count.

Experiential marketing is a piece of the puzzle, but shouldn’t be the only answer.

Social Media

Social media not only gave people a way to creep on their old next-door-neighbors, but it also gave real estate agents a way to connect with their circles of influence. Love it or hate it, social media should be leveraged to get more referrals.

I know many agents who have sworn off friending/following clients but they are missing out. Social media gives insight into the lives of clients, and even alerts real estate agents of potential real estate needs. If a past client has a baby, its a perfect opportunity to send a card. When a client’s spouse passes away, it is a moment to reach out and offer condolences. If a past client is looking for local recommendations, it is a perfect chance to show off neighborhood knowledge.  These actions don’t have immediate pay-off but they have long term gains.

Schedule Check-ins

After a deal closes, agents should sit down with their real estate CRM. It is best to do this when everything is still fresh in their brain. Agents should complete a client’s profile with important information.  This includes the client’s birthdate, new address, hobbies, occupation, features they find important in a home, etc.

Then, a list of personalized emails/texts for that client should be created right then. Then the communications should be scheduled to automatically send. Once a quarter or bi-annually is ideal. Ideas include:

  • How did unpacking go?
  • Happy Birthday
  • Happy Home-aversary
  • Hey, I know you really love […] I saw this local event and thought of you
  • Happy Holidays

By doing this work at the outset of a closing, agents can help guide a relationship on autopilot.

5. Make it Easy to Give Referrals

Making it easy for past clients to give referrals is essential. If a client wants to give a word-of-mouth referral but isn’t equipped with contact information, the lead may not be able to follow-up. When leaving the closing table, clients should have plenty of business cards or branded material that makes it easy to get in touch. Likewise, all websites, social media channels, and email addresses should be easy to remember and interconnected on the web.

Real Estate Client Referrals

The data shows real estate client referrals are the #1 source of clients. There are ways to get more referral leads from previous clients. Listening and giving great customer service during a real estate transaction is the best way to get referrals. Giving personalized closing gifts creates more conversations to generate referrals. Experiential marketing, social media, and CRM check-ins all help client relationships grow after a deal has closed. And making it easy for past clients to give referrals on the fly is essential. Combining these strategies is a sure-fire way to increase the amount of real estate client referrals that come an agent’s way.


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