The National Association of REALTORS®, Google, and our surveys show the fastest way to grow your business is through referrals. Not only are self-generated referrals more likely to close, but they are also much easier to deal with. Although most real estate professionals understand the importance of referrals, many do not do enough to generate them. The latest research shows that somewhere near 90% of consumers would do business with their real estate professional again, yet only somewhere near 25% do.
Referrals don’t just fall in your lap. You need to have a game plan to create them consistently. Fortunately, there are many referral opportunities ready to be activated. By executing a few simple steps consistently, you can capture these valuable assets before they go to the competition.
Here are four tips you can use to help improve your referral network.
#1 – Exceed Expectations
Are you a door opener or an expert real estate consultant with command of the local community benefits and services? We recently surveyed consumers and compared results to agent production. There was a clear correlation to agents who were viewed as door openers by the consumer vs. agents who truly had distinguished themselves as experts in the community and in all things homeownership.
#2 – Give Back
Was it Zig Ziglar that said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want!” So true, and if all you do is take, take, take, and ask, ask, ask, without giving back, your referral pool will be empty. What is your game plan to give back and add value to your referral sources? A promotional video on your social media? Introductions to others that you know. To create a thriving referral network, you must have a plan to give back,
#3 – Ask more consistently.
One of the distinctions between average sales professionals and master professionals is consistently asking for referrals. This seems obvious yet is often overlooked. If you have held up your side of a deal to get it to closing, you need to ask. Then go on to ask for the lifetime relationship of the client.
There is a way to ask for referrals without being pushy. The worst that someone can say is no. You never know who may be ready to work with you unless you ask and ask consistently.
#4 – Handwritten Notes
This sounds so old school, yet so very effective. Consumers today appreciate the small gestures you do for them. Everyone likes to be thanked for a job well done. Even though we live in a digital day and age, we shouldn’t overlook simple items. One of those items is a nice, thought out handwritten thank you card. You will get more mileage from a thank you card than a text or email. Texts or emails are often looked at and quickly discarded. A thank you card is personal and remembered longer. For the five minutes it takes to write and the cost of a stamp, you can separate yourself from your competition.
Instead of focusing on deals, focus on the relationship—the lifetime value of the link.
The money you invest in this area will give you a much higher long-term payoff. Not only will you end up getting more deals, but you will have a much higher chance of closing them. The best part about referrals is that the little things often have the most significant impact. There are a handful of things you can do every day to get noticed. Start by concentrating on people you are currently working with or have worked within the past. Use the four easy tips to build a much more reliable and consistent referral network.
Whether you have been in the business 70 days or 7 years, I often hear the same questions:
- What do I do now?
- My lead generation is inconsistent!
- How do I get better organized?
- What’s my purpose?
So, here are a few suggestions to consider as you start this week:
First, who do you want to be 90 days from now?
It all starts with deciding what you want to achieve in the next three months. Have you created very clear, specific, measurable, and trackable goals? Are they up and visual as a constant reminder?
My research shows there are three types of goals:
- Outcome goals – I want to be #1
- Performance goals – I’ll run the race in 8 minutes or less
- Process goals – I’ll connect with 10 people a day
Process goals win the day. Over 650 studies in goal achievement show that people who break their goals down to a daily process achieve the goal faster and more consistently.
Action #1: Break your goals down to daily actions
Second, understand where the business comes from.
The National Association of REALTORS® conducted a survey that shows nearly 70% of consumers FIND you from a friend, family, referral or past business relationship. And nearly 70% CHOOSE you based on your perceived reputation, trustworthiness and results. These facts have significant implications for your personal branding and direct response marketing activities.
It’s shocking how many clients I have acquired through the years — just because I made a call or sent a message.
According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5 to 20 percent, but the likelihood of selling to an existing client is 60 to 70 percent. It’s much cheaper and easier to retain a client than to go prospecting for a new one. Studies show 90% of consumers would do business again with their REALTOR® yet only 25% do. Why? Because you suck – no systems in place – at staying in touch and building long term relationships with past clients.
Action #2: Stay in touch at least 4X per year, build relationships and the sales & referrals will follow.
Third, track everything in a database to stay organized
Make it a habit to get contact information from every person you meet. Your goal is to move folks you meet from your outer circle to your inner circle. Create a system – like this.
If you are buying a new car, get the salesperson’s card. Ask your bartender or server for their information when you go out. Every person who gives you their contact information should be placed into your database and contacted – a note; text; card; social media engagement – least 8 times in the first 8 weeks of meeting. This can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet. It should include the following
- Full name
- Email address
- Mobile phone number
- Preferred social media handles
- Your Notes
In your notes section, you will want to write in things like what the potential client is interested in, first and last time you corresponded with them and how you met them. Relationships matter and relationships create referrals in a personal service business like real estate sales.
Action #3: Take one step to get better organized
Fourth, be like Fred.
Fred Shea was a postal carrier from my home state of Colorado. Apart from the fact that he personally welcomed every new resident, he appeared unremarkable. Yet, a book has been written about him and thousands have been taught his “system” to drive purpose in their life and their business.
Fred had a purpose.
Fred demonstrated you don’t need a promotion; you don’t need anything but creativity to reinvent yourself and add value to yourself and others.
Fred the Postman was quite remarkable in attitude with a warmth and sincerity that was apparent immediately. And his dedication to serving his customers made him extraordinary.
Daily Fred put into practice the principles that became the foundation for the best-selling book, The Fred Factor, namely that:
- Everyone makes a difference,
- Success is built on relationships,
- You must create value for others, and;
- Reinvent yourself on a regular basis.
Fred the Postman taught me that by bringing passion into our work and life we can all turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Action #4: Be like Fred!
As we wrap up, I have no control over what you do with this information – nor do I want that control. Yet the gift of what I shared today, has helped me in so many ways, and I trust this gift will help you too. So, until we meet again may your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.
Bonus Action #5: Accountability… who is your accountability partner?
These are undoubtedly UNCERTAIN times, yet our on-going Quarantine Relief Series has both provided direction and relief for J.P.A.R. agents, staff, and business partners as well as our guest audience.
It’s so easy to wake up at these times and not know what to do… one thing to do is join us every morning at 8 AM CST!
Stephen Covey said it over and over throughout his career,
“If there’s one thing that’s certain in business, it’s uncertainty.”
That quote was accurate then, and it’s so real now.
- Is it business as usual? No, JP, Geoff, and I call it… “business forward! Be safe, be smart.”
- Develop an all-new plan? For sure, as your new brand is being developed now.
So, this is what we will address today: “how to grow your business from the inside out.” I recently interviewed Coach Tom Ferry for episode #112 of Success Superstars, and he shared five actions inspired agents are executing during this time of uncertainty.
Inspired Action No. 1: Increase your P.E.D.S.
Carl Jung told us all – and our guest speaker on the Q.R.S. session #16 Greg Bowles – reinforced how you feel on the inside is what you radiate to those on the outside! So, it would help if you took care of yourself first. And that means taking your P.E.D.S. daily:
P-rayer – nourishes your soul in beautiful ways. There are 13 powerful ways to pray.
E-xercise – strengthens your heart, mind, and improves your circulation.
D-iet – eat healthy to stay at the top of your game.
S-leep – keeps us healthy and functioning well. It lets your body repair, restore, and reenergize.
Inspired Agent Action No. 2: Intentional communication
Now is not the time to retreat into a foxhole and go “radio silent.” It’s time to step up and communicate smartly and consistently. Communicate with clients; prospects; your database; investors and your community at large.
But you must be smart about it. It’s not about reaching out like everything is normal and asking if they are considering a move. Instead, consider this:
- Consider adding the “investment property of the week.” Many investors are in the market and can use your guidance and expertise at this time.
- Clients under contract: Tell them, “I’m here for you. I have your back. What would you like to do?” If they want to pause, let them do so. Doing the right thing is always the right thing
- All your recent leads: Call, text, or send a personal video to EVERY LEAD! Reach out with care and say, “I was thinking about you. I wanted to reach out and say, Are you OK? I want to let you know I’m here for you.”
- Database: Then, send a similar message to members of your database. But not a mass email. I want you communicating personally with ten or more people in your database every day.
Inspired Agent Action No. 3: A New “How’s the Market?” Dialogue
You hear it regularly, but now people are going to be even more genuinely curious, “How’s the market or What’s My Home Worth Now?” At J.P.A.R., you can increase the number of these conversations by executing our unique B.U.Y.S.I.D.E. home value ad campaign. Here are some dialogues to consider:
- “Here are the latest stats from M.L.S. and Altos Research. Not all, yet some of my buyers, sellers, and investors are telling me they want to hold for now, and I’m supporting that decision while I continue to communicate and keep them aware of what’s next. And some of my clients need to sell, buy or invest right now, and they’re doing that with the protocols for safety and smart marketing, virtual showings, and virtual open houses.”
- “More importantly, how are you and your family doing? Can I help in any way?”
- The best path for the future of your business is bringing humanity to our industry during these trying times.
Inspired Agent Action No. 4: Sharpen Your Axe
Now is the time for you to work “on” your business and your personal skills, consider these actions:
- Complete your C.E. credits
- Dig into your CRM – at J.P.A.R., we provide basic kvCore, so you have no excuses.
- Practice your presentations – jump on a zoom each day with a fellow agent
- At J.P.A.R. we provide the David Knox Library with over 300 role-plays from handling objections to listing presentations that work
- Refine your marketing plan with execution dates and expected outcomes
- AT JPAR we provide as a standard curriculum the Real Estate Playbook with 2 modules on “Marketing Mastery” and a bonus module on “Lead Generation.”
- Develop your social media channels… we recently added a YouTube Channel
- Master the use of Zoom for listing presentations and buyer or investor consultations
- That stack of books you’ve been meaning to read? What are you waiting for?
- Tech skills you’ve needed to learn? At J.P.A.R., we are offering 100 on-demand courses!
Your income is in direct proportion to the VALUE you bring to the market.
Remember, work expands to the time allocated. Set a deadline and a specific time to address each item in your plan. If your business is being disrupted, make sure you come out of this crisis better prepared to deliver value when things return to normal.
Inspired Agent Action No. 5: Your Next 30-Day Marketing Plan
Marketing in today’s environment requires a whole new approach and must include empathy for those you reach. Here are three actions you should be taking now:
- Ten handwritten personal notes daily and schedule virtual “pop bys” weekly.
- Two or more QUALITY new connections DAILY on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram
- Email your entire database every single week. Send them current information, coronavirus-related housing statistics from Keeping Current Matters, N.A.R. and T.R. offer content, help, videos, and more.
- Mail to your geographic farms twice a month. Take the info K.C.M. is sharing and make it into postcards to educate and inform homeowners about the realities of today’s market.
- Increase your social media activity! Be the voice of reason. Do video! Do it on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.
- What you do NOW will make or break your brand for 2020 and beyond.
So much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same. Consider these additional fundamentals:
7 Steps To A (Virtual) Appointment Setting Breakthrough
What Does Your System Produce?
The Recipe… The Ingredients For Your Real Estate Practice
Today’s everyday reality is pretty different than it looked just a few weeks ago. We’re learning how to do a lot of things in new ways, from how we work remotely to how we engage with our friends and neighbors. Almost everything right now is shifting to a virtual format. One of the big changes we’re adapting to is the revisions to the common real estate transaction, which all vary by state and locality. Technology, however, is making it possible for many of us to continue on the quest for homeownership, an essential need for all.
Here’s a look at some of the elements of the process that are changing (at least in the near-term), due to stay-at-home orders and social distancing, and what you may need to know about each one if you’re thinking of buying or selling a home sooner rather than later.
1. Virtual Consultations – Instead of heading into an office, you can meet with real estate and lending professionals through video chat. Whether it’s your first initial needs analysis as a buyer or your listing appointment as a seller, you can still get the process started remotely and create a plan together. Your trusted advisor is still on your side.
2. Home Searches & Virtual Showings – According to theNational Association of Realtors (NAR), the Internet is one of the three most popular information sources buyers use when searching for homes. Your real estate agent can send you listing information and help you request a virtual showing when you’re ready to start looking. This means you can virtually walk through the homes on your wish list while keeping your family safe. As a seller, you can still have virtual open houses and virtual tours too, so as not to miss those buyers looking to find a home right now.
3. Document Signing – Although this is another area that varies by state, today more portions of the transaction are being done digitally. In many areas, your agent or loan officer can set up an account where you can upload all of the required documents and sign electronically right from your computer.
4. Sending Money – Whether you need to pay for an appraisal or submit closing costs, there are options available. Depending on the transaction and local regulations, you may be able to pay by credit card, and most banks will also allow you to wire funds from your account. Sometimes you can send a check by mail, and in some states, a mobile escrow agent will pick up a check from your home.
5. Closing Process – Again, depending on your area, a mobile notary may be able to bring the required documents to your home before the closing. If your state requires an attorney to be present, check with your legal counsel to see what options are available. Also, depending on the title company, some are allowing drive-thru closings, which is similar to doing a transaction at a bank window.
Although these virtual processes are starting to become more widely accepted, it does not mean that this is the way things are going to get done from now on. Under the current circumstances, however, technology is making it possible to continue much of the real estate transaction today.
If you need to move today, technology can help make it happen; there are options available. To learn about the specific regulations in your area, contact a local real estate professional to discuss your situation, so you don’t have to put your real estate plans on hold.
Not sure about you, for me, it is overwhelming to see how the world has come together in this crisis. As McChensey, Covey, and Huling wrote so well in the “4 Disciplines of Execution,” when you have “singularity of focus,” the trivial gets minimized.
Yet, for me, it’s also a paradox, the dichotomy of our lives right now as we push forward in adapting to new work routines, new ways of connecting, and new ways of contributing to our communities. At the same time, we watch first responders, doctors, nurses, and even the local grocery store staff pour their hearts each day into serving others. It’s been inspiring to see the greatness in humanity.
This week at JPAR, we started a free series called the 8 AM club. The intention was to help our associates, staff, and business partners adapt to new routines, new ways of working and delivering empowering messages to help adapt during this time of transition.
On Monday, Seth Denson shared the power of a solid foundation. “Did You Build It Right?”
Tuesday, Tanya Waymire shared “How You Choose To Show Up Is Everything.”
Wednesday, Jose Ruiz shared the science of “Being Intentional.”
Thursday Germaine Gaspard shared a powerful message about: “Know This: What You Are Becoming Is What You Are Doing.”
Friday, we capped off the week with Sylvia Marusk, who shared: “Stress – the Silent Killer.” Getting Out Of The Stress Response & Getting Into Restore & Rest.
The series is just one step we are taking to ensure our JPAR associates, staff, and partners don’t just survive – they thrive.
Next week’s theme? How to deal with things when they go out of control.
If you don’t like it, change it.
If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it!
It seems we are all spending a lot more time sharing, talking, and communicating on video platforms and social media. This virus event will change us in ways we’ve never imagined. Yet here’s what I know – we are all in it together.
As I was thinking, just a few weeks ago, most of us would say, “we don’t have the time!”
Time is currency.
And now we have all the time in the world. What will you do with it?
Here are a few action items to consider:
Throw out the OLD rules
One of my favorite movies – Apollo 13 – has a scene where ground control is calling up a new procedure for the astronauts. “Aquarius this is Houston, we’d like you to rip the cover off your flight plan!”
Your 2020 business plan just changed, and I’d like you to rip the virtual cover off your plan and write a new procedure.
At JPAR, we have written a 21-question digital business review, now is the time to dig into that review and rewrite the plan.
First, make sure your database is ready to support you and your growth. My surveys show 50% still work off sticky notes and spreadsheets… now is the time to get organized.
Second, find a market that fits your selling style. Then, find an area ready for your focus. Hyperlocal expertise will never be more important. Be a specialist, not a generalist.
Third, leverage video. A bad video is better than no video. Consistency and value are key.
Fourth, social media. Be helpful. It does not need to all be about business.
Fifth now is not the time for marketing as usual.
- Leverage the free resources at KCM and NARConsider starting a FB group for your neighbors, moms’ group, guys groups.
- Host a weekly happy hour or weekly virtual meetups
- Send texts, calls, or ten handwritten notes a day – thinking of you, how about you doing, is there anything I can do to support you?
- Pause the door-knocking & flyer drop-offs
- Use FB groups as a way to be helpful not to sell yourself
- Turn off or update any automation
Build a solid ROUTINE
One size does not fit all! You’re probably tired of hearing the same old line… do these four things in the morning. The truth is my routine may or may not work for you.
There have been a lot of successful people over the centuries of human history. And if you look at just a few of them, they certainly don’t do the same things. But what they do have in common are daily routines, something that they do day in and day out, without fail.
The key is finding the routine that works for you.
In his book, “The Miracle Morning,” Hal Elrod outlines the science, system, and secrets of a powerful routine, even if you are not a morning person! One of the most powerful concepts I learned from Hal is to “set your intentions before bed!”
You know that feeling of connection when shared goals and interests bind us together? During this time, there has never been a greater need for connection, for services, for innovative solutions.
Wants and needs are all around you. We know the problem; can you provide the solution for your sphere of influence?
One example – a JPAR agent is featuring a virtual interview each day on Facebook with a local business owner that has a drive-through, delivery of drop off services.
Rely on EXPERTS to strengthen your voice
Separating charged emotions from facts and data is an essential skill these days. One of the best ways to amplify expertise and convey calm is to leverage other voices of authority.
One of the best is my good friend Steve Harney, Founder of Keeping Current Matters and, of course, our National Association Of REALTORS®.
And of course, we can all review reliable information from national sources such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
PASSION OVER PERSUASION
Do you find yourself getting mired in detail of this crisis? It is not uncommon – as I recommend above – to surround ourselves with technical experts and forget the power of human nature.
Crises are not solved with reason and data alone. We must never forget we are first and foremost humans with emotions. We have families and lives outside of deeply important work. When we lead with empathy, we demonstrate dedication and compassion for those we serve.
There you have it. Time is currency. And now that we all have some extra time, what will you do with it?
Throw out the old rules; build a new solid routine; rely on the experts to strengthen your voice and remember the most: your strategy matters and your passion rules!
The problem with the traditional to-do list is that it’s about tasks and not about outcomes.
An outcome could be something like: “increase revenue by 25%” or “build a relationship with specific people.”
There is no single task that will cause the outcome. There is arguably a set of tasks that could build up to it.
Concrete, measurable outcomes are better than vague ones, but some highly desirable outcomes can only be qualitatively stated (like relationships) and cannot be quantified (like the number of appointments).
So for myself, I am working to get better at linking my daily tasks to the outcome via process goals. More importantly, I am also trying to nail down this art of defining the process that leads to the desired outcome.
For you that might be 3 or more NEW appointments each week. So I’d rather see something like this:
Create 3 or more new appointments each week… then list the task, there process to support that outcome.
Creating 2 or more closings per month between now and the end of the year and then list the associated process that will lead to appointments that will lead to signed agreements.
Deepen my relationship with 4 people… then list people and the process that will achieve that outcome
What are your key outcomes and associated processes for this week?
PS: You might want to check out a recent blog on the difference between outcome goals, process goals and performance goals.