The quickest way to grow any business is through referrals. Not only are self-generated referrals more likely to close by they are also easier to deal with. Although most real estate investors understand the importance of referrals many do not do enough to generate them. Referrals will not just fall on your lap. You need to go out and get them. Fortunately there are many referral opportunities that are right in front of us. By doing just a little more we can capture these valuable assets that directly impact our business. Here are six tips you can use to help improve your referral network.
1. Ask For Referrals. There is a fair amount of selling involved as a real estate investor. Even though you are not a salesperson you are constantly selling yourself or your services. One of things that separate people in sales is that they ask for referrals. This seems obvious enough but it is often overlooked. If you have held up your side of a deal to get it to closing you need to strike while the iron is hot. You can do this by simply asking if your real estate agent, attorney, mortgage broker, buyer or seller knows anyone that may be interested in selling. There is a way to ask for referrals without being pushy. The worst that someone can say is no. You never know who may want to work with you unless you ask.
2. Thank You Cards. People often 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 hand written 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.
3. Referral Program. One of the ways to increase referrals is to create a network. Even though you may offer plenty as an investor it helps to have a team behind you. By creating a referral program everyone that you are associated would have access to your network and vice versa. Given the choice people prefer working with people they are familiar with. Even if they do not know that person directly if they are recommended by someone they know there is a level of comfort. Ask everyone you work with if they want to be part of this program. Most people will say yes. In essence you are helping their business but also improving your profile as well.
4. Answer Your Phone. There are plenty of little things you should be doing during a deal that will help with referrals. One of the most basic things is answering your phone. Regardless of whom the person calling may be you should never avoid a phone call. On average most phone calls last less than two minutes. Everyone has two minutes to talk to someone directly involved in the deal. The problem typically isn’t with availability but the desire to actually talk to someone else. Not every conversation will be easy but those are the ones that are most remembered. You may do more to grow referrals with difficult phone calls than easy ones. Answer your phone every time you are available.
5. Give Referrals. In your attempt to get referrals you should also remember to give them. You should constantly keep your ears open to see who may be in need of something. If you have someone that you may be able to help out don’t be afraid to drop a name or two. After you do tell them that you gave them their name and someone may be calling them. Ideally they will be a fit and be able to work together. Even if they don’t they will appreciate the gesture and that you thought of them.
6. Food And Drinks. Once you establish a relationship the best way to take it to another level is through food and drinks. You don’t need to wine and dine every potential referral but a well-timed meal may push you over the edge. Instead of a fancy dinner a quick cup of coffee may be just as effective. Perhaps your contact would be someone you would consider taking to a happy hour or grabbing a drink with. Even something as small as a gift certificate to a coffee shop will be appreciated. It is the thought that is most important.
Instead of focusing on deals you should focus more on referrals. The money you spend in this area will give you a much greater long term payoff. Not only will you end up getting more deals but you will have a much greater chance of closing them. The best part about referrals is that the little things often have the biggest 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 with in the past. Try incorporating these six steps and see how quickly your referral base grows.