Referral Business: Three Questions That Will Change Your Life
Let’s talk relationships and referrals. This article is written for those who would rather work by referral. I’ll share some tips I’ve learned over the years, but first I have a few questions for you.
- First question … How much money is one referral worth to you? No right or wrong answer here. Think of this number based on your local market. Is it $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or more?
- Second question … How much money have you left on the table because you have not stayed in touch after the sale? There is nothing more frustrating than a past client or friend who lists or buys with someone else. Has this happened to you? It has happened to me too.
- Third question … How would you like to increase your referral business by one to three transactions per month? Based on an average transaction worth $5,000, that could mean an extra $60,000, $120,000 or $180,000 per year. How would this impact your life?
Since 2012 my husband Steve and I have enjoyed a 98% referral business working with past clients and our Sphere of Influence. In 2016 we closed 56 transactions and 55 of those were by referral. From January 1, 2017 to February 25, 2017 we received 42 referrals. Our year is shaping up to be the best yet. So, how did we get here?
We Reached Top of Mind With People.
In the down turn of the market from 2008 to 2011 we focused on making a list of people we knew, including our past clients. At that time our business was 35% referral. We created a list of our “Top 100” and started to communicate with them on a regular basis.
Communication is the key to staying Top of Mind with people.
There are several ways to communicate that will help to keep you in the forefront of others’ minds. We focus on four specific activities:
- Phone (talk and text)
- Social Media (with an emphasis on Facebook)
- Face to Face (client events)
- Greeting Cards (we send at least six cards every day)
There are opportunities all around us to engage in other people’s lives.
The law of attraction states that what you send out in life comes back.
Let’s use a birthday as an example. When someone has a birthday, pick multiple ways to communicate. Call them to wish them a Happy Birthday, text them, invite them to lunch, make a special birthday video and post to their timeline on Facebook, and send them a card.
When you see a life event posted on Facebook, respond with appropriate emojis and words to acknowledge your friend. Send a private message (PM) or a text, and if appropriate, send a greeting card.
Recently, I posted that my grandson had broken his leg. I was blown away when 365 people responded with emojis and 269 comments were made. To this day I receive inquiries asking how Joel is feeling. I have also received cards in the mail. This life event allowed me to realize the power of engagement with others.
I encourage you to look for ways to engage daily with the key people in your life. This will allow you to remain top of mind with them.
We Connected To Our Sphere of Influence.
Networking is another great way to connect and build your Sphere. Opportunities include meet-ups, men’s groups, women’s groups, local Chambers, Rotaries, Service Groups and Business Networking International (BNI).
Once you connect how do you nurture the relationship? Get their information and text or email them right away. Send a “nice to meet” you card. Connect with them on Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
We joined a BNI Chapter in 2006. I encourage you to visit a chapter in your area. Look it up at BNI.com and see if there is a local chapter that needs a great Realtor. The motto of BNI is Givers Gain. The more you give the more you get. We pass a lot of referrals to our members. In 2016, we closed 26 transactions from referrals received through BNI.
We Realized The Power of One.
There is tremendous value in each of your referral sources. I’m going to share one story that has been seven years in the making.
In 2010, Brookes joined our BNI chapter. She and her husband hired us to sell their house and purchase a new home. We developed a friendship and a trust with Brookes. In the past six years she referred us to others who bought and sold homes with us. I recently calculated the value Brookes has brought to our business:
- Each referral Brookes passes is worth $5,555.
- For the past six years Brookes’ referrals have meant $8,333 a year in income.
- $8,333 x six years = nearly $50,000
Brookes passed us a referral in February of this year and the projected income from that one referral is $8,500. This will be the seventh year in a row that Brookes has provided us with income.
What if you had 30 referral partners like Brookes in your life? Would your life be less stressed if you had $240,000 of income each year by referral?
We Knew Consistency Matters.
Identify ways to communicate with your Sphere of Influence and your past clients, and connect on a regular basis.
Treat your top 100 like royalty. Host client events a couple times a year. Partner with vendors to keep the cost down. Pick up the phone and call just to say hello (don’t ask for referrals, deserve referrals). Engage on social media.
Over the past 10 years I’ve sent an average of 6.8 cards per day. My Facebook friends have grown to 4,532. I have connected with 1,167 people on LinkedIn. This has created consistent visibility.
You gain credibility by providing exceptional customer service. Once that is established you will experience profitability year in and year out.
Maya Angelou said it best, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you make them FEEL.”
In 2012 we opened our own company and have enjoyed a bountiful referral business. You can have that too. Be consistent. Stay Top of Mind. Connect to your Sphere and reach out in kindness every day. Look for ways to bring value to others. Be friendly. Smile. There is power in one. One relationship, one smile, one card, one kind word, one day at a time.