Nothing you do in business may be more important than building a strong real estate referral base. If you can generate leads from word-of-mouth alone, you will close more deals and have more money to allocate to other areas of your business. While this sounds simple enough, too many investors are focused only on the current deal and often miss out on referral opportunities that are right in front of them. If you don’t strike while the iron is hot, you may be left wondering why you may be struggling to grow your business. Every deal and everyone you meet is an opportunity to sell yourself and your business. All you have to do is act on it.
Within most transactions, there are multiple people that you can target for a referral. Realtors, attorneys, mortgage brokers, buyers and sellers are all prime candidates to build relationships with. Depending on what side of the deal you are on, you may have multiple interactions with these individuals. This is the time to build a working rapport. Instead of waiting until the transaction is finished, take the proactive approach and set up a meeting as soon as possible. Something as simple as a quick twenty minute cup of coffee can set the foundation of a successful partnership. If you do not reach out to people you are working with, you are missing out on opportunities and easy ones at that.
Whether or not people will refer you depends on how you perform during your transaction together. People will work with other people they like, feel comfortable with and are confident can get the job done. Things can get hectic during a busy work day, but it is important that you treat everyone on every deal as individuals. This means spending just a few minutes and calling, texting or emailing any updates you may have. The more personable you are with everyone in the deal, the more likely they will remember it. It doesn’t take long to stay in touch, but the impact can make all the difference.
To make an impression on the people around you, it is important to focus on the little things. Just like any rehabber will tell you, it is the little things that buyers focus on that can add up to real dollars. Giving an update as soon as you get it, answering your phone, calling people back and doing things when you say you will may seem easy enough, but too many people in business fail to do them. If you do nothing else but stay in constant communication with everyone in a deal, you will inevitably find more referrals. If you couple this with making a few concessions or doing a few things that may not technically be your responsibility, you will leave an impression and build a network.
If your deal closes and everyone is happy, it should not be the end of your communication. Ideally, you will have reached out during the transaction. However, if not, you need to once the deal is completed. How and when you follow up after the transaction can make the difference between a meeting and wondering why someone won’t call you back. Sending an email three weeks after a closing may seem like a good idea, but at that point it is probably too late. You need to reach out within 24-48 hours of your closing. Anything after that will have little to no effect. Regardless of what else you have going on, you need to find time to utilize the contacts you that have just worked with. If it was a tough deal and you held everything together, you need to get out there and build on it as soon as possible. You can’t expect people to remember you from a deal that happened a few months ago. Following up with people you just met or just worked with is the best way to grow your referral base.
If you are a wholesaler or rehabber, you may be judged solely on past performances. People will look on your website to see what people are saying about you. If you have closed a successful deal you should ask for a quick testimonial. The more positive testimonials you get, the better your business looks, and ultimately the more people will want to work with you. Asking for a testimonial may seem daunting, but if you make it as easy as possible, it is something that should take little time and offer huge returns.
It is also important that you ask for referrals. However, there is a way to ask for a referral without being pushy or coming across as a salesman. Once you have worked together, you should have a system in place for following up every few weeks. A business that is referral based is much stronger than one that is reliant on mailings and lead generation. In most cases, building referrals is as easy as focusing on the people directly around you. The stronger your referral network, the better your business will be.