Well hey there and welcome to the women rocking real estate podcast. I’m your host Jen Percival and I really appreciate you tuning in today.
Before we jump into today’s episode, just a quick reminder if you’re stuck at home and feeling lost about what to be doing with all this time you have on your hands, now is the time to get control of the back-end of your business. When you’re not working IN your business, you need to be working ON your business, so this is a great opportunity to map out your lead generation & operational strategies for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
When it comes to lead generation, your options are much more limited right now due to social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active with your lead generation efforts. But it will mean you need to take a more passive approach right now. After all you’re certainly not going to be door knocking, networking or holding open houses, but you absolutely should be focusing your lead generation efforts through an effective online marketing strategy and an advertising strategy. As I’ve said in the last few episodes, you do want to be very careful around your messaging right now and focus your efforts on providing relevant, valuable content that establishes you as a local authority figure in your market. You probably want to steer clear of direct self-promotion for the time being, but that doesn’t mean you should remove your presence altogether.
One of the most important ways for you to establish yourself as an authority figure is through online marketing and the foundation of that is making sure you have a solid website strategy. if you don’t currently have a website or you rent one from your brokerage or a third party, now is the time to re-visit that strategy and seriously consider building a custom real estate website that you own for life. If you struggle with consistency and predictability in your lead generation efforts, I can assure you that your website is one of the problems and you’re very likely not marketing yourself online properly. So if you need some direction on these fronts, I’ve got my free online marketing masterclass running every day at 1pm and I’m also offering a program to teach you step by step, how to build a gorgeous real estate website. I launched this course last week and so far almost 100 women have started building their new websites and a few of them finished it completely in one week. If you want to save thousands of dollars in the long run and start building more consistency and predictability in your real estate business, it starts with an effective website. So check out the program on my website at jenpercival.com/courses. You will not regret it.
Ok let’s jump into today’s episode. One of the ladies in my coaching program recently asked me a question that I thought, oh that would be a great podcast episode. She wanted to know what I thought the top ways were to generate more referrals, but here was the catch….she wanted to know how to generate more referrals without being pushy about it and outright asking for them. And I get that….I have personally never felt comfortable asking people for referrals. In my opinion, and it’s not a common one in the real estate coaching space, is that referrals should be earned and not asked for.
Here’s the thing when people refer a business or service or person, it does not come without risk and people are naturally hesitant to provide a referral, unless they are very confident it’s a great referral. Why? because if it’s not a good referral, it actually reflects poorly on them. You know It’s one thing if you recommend a book someone doesn’t like, but it’s an entirely different issue if you recommend a contractor who completely screws up a renovation or in our case if they recommend a realtor who completely screws up a purchase or sale. Those situations have a huge impact on people’s lives, so don’t underestimate what you’re asking of someone, when you ask for a referral. You better have proven to them that you’re worthy of that referral and that is not accomplished by adding a tagline to your email signature that says ‘I will treat your referrals with the utmost care.” Or your referrals are my biggest complement”. Those are just words and they mean nothing. You need to be demonstrating day in and day out through your ACTIONS that people would be not only safe referring you, but that it would actually make THEM look great. Because that’s the bottom line, people will only refer you, if it makes them look good.
The other issue with asking for referrals, is that not only can it makes things really awkward for the other person, but when you have to ask for a referral, it has a bit of an air of desperation around it and you run the risk of them feeling pressured. If they don’t want to refer people to you, not necessarily because they don’t think you’re a good realtor, but some people just aren’t the type that like to refer. But when you ask, they’ll feel guilty and uncomfortable and guess what, they’ll avoid you so that they don’t have to feel that way.
So how do we go about generating more referrals from our friends, family and past clients if you shouldn’t ask for referrals? You have to demonstrate day in and day out that not only are you worthy of their referrals, but that you’d make them look smart, savvy and well-connected if they referred more to you.
So today I’m going to walk you through the top 10 things you can do to wow people and showcase your awesomeness. If you incorporate these into your client relationships and interactions with family, friends and acquaintances in general, you’ll definitely start seeing more referrals coming your way.
So let’s get started. Number 1 - The most important thing that you need to convey to everyone that knows you and it may seem obvious, but in real estate it is anything but common, is that you are trustworthy. No one will every refer clients to you if they doubt your integrity. Your clients want to trust you implicitly. They want to feel completely taken care of and they desperately want you to be unbiased in your advice. One of the only relationships that are truly unbiased is that of a parent / child. Of course I’m generalizing here, and there are dysfunctional parent/child dynamics, but for the most part, if you were helping your adult child purchase a home, the commission that you earn would never factor into the advice and counsel you would give for one second would it? No, because you would care way more about what’s best for your child, than you would about the commission you’ll earn. Let’s be honest, the same can’t be said for friends or even siblings for that matter. But that is what your clients truly want, they want to trust you completely and when they do, they will sing your praises from the hilltops.
So be very intentional around building trust and showing that you have integrity to everyone you interact with. You actually have to seek out opportunities to build trust. If you think it just develops naturally, it absolutely doesn’t. You need to play an active role in creating it, so look for ways to build trust every chance you get. Whatever you do, don’t be a salesperson. Don’t do anything that makes you seem like a salesperson. Why because no one trusts people in sales. Your job is not to sell. Your Job is help and serve people, it’s not to sell.
Number 2. When I’ve surveyed people on what types of things they appreciated most about those in the service industry, I heard time and time again that they love when people are accessible & responsive. But the opposite was also true. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait a long time for a response from someone. I had to stop referring people to my previous mortgage broker because I kept getting calls from people frustrated that we was taking forever to get back to them and they were pissed off at me for referring them to him. That’s not good and is a perfect example of how it can be risky to give referrals.
Being readily accessible and super quick to respond to questions and inquiries is something I have prided myself on from day one. It’s human nature to want to feel important. When you’ve got a question or a concern or a problem you’re hoping to solve, it’s super frustrating to have to wait a long time for an answer, but it’s also super surprising and lovely when you hear back quickly. If I could show you the number of emails and texts I’ve received from people saying “wow thanks for the speedy response” you’d be shocked. It’s not rocket science people. One of the simplest and easiest ways to impress people, is just to respond quickly. So If you want to start generating more referrals, make it a priority to surprise & delight people by being readily accessible and responsive.
Now, I do need to mention that there’s definitely a personal downside to this approach. It means that you’re effectively attached to your phone 24/7. If you’re more established in your career and aren’t trying to build a business, you may choose to put more boundaries in place around your accessibility and your response time. That’s totally your choice, but if you are still building your business, I’m gonna give you some tough love. This is a tough business, and if you want to succeed, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices in your early years and in my opinion, this is one that will have a huge impact on your client satisfaction and result in more referrals than any other strategy.
Ok the third way to ensure people love you and praise you from the hilltops to everyone they know, is by always providing value, not just in real estate, but value to everyone you know, everywhere you go. You’ve heard me talk before about this a lot on the podcast before.
You need to shift your focus from getting to GIVING. It’s not about you or the services you provide, it’s about the other person and what’s important to THEM. It’s about serving and giving.
So what do you give? What makes a great salesperson great at sales, is that they are not focused on getting referrals and making sales. Instead, they are wholeheartedly interested in other people and what’s important to them.
They focus only on creating VALUE for people, regardless of whether or not they get a referral. And what happens when they do that? They create a vast and spreading sphere of goodwill wherever they go. They enrich, enhance and add value to people’s lives. And as a side-effect, they get a lot of referrals.
So focus on the quality of your relationships and on providing value to other people and you will create an exchange that is both more satisfying AND more profitable. When I got into this business, from day one I knew I was going to do it differently. I never tried to actively solicit business. Instead I just focused on giving value every way I could. I tried to give value to anyone who needed anything - usually nothing to do with real estate…..but over time, I just became known as the go-to resource for help. When those people started thinking about buying or selling real estate or referring someone who was, I was top of mind. The key though, is that I wasn’t giving with expectations of receiving something in the future. I wasn’t giving to get. I gave for the sake of giving, that’s it. The natural outcome, was that I received a lot in return.
Alright moving along, the third most important way to generate more referrals should probably go without saying, but if you want people to refer you more, you really need to know your shit. At minimum, you certainly need to know more than they do about anything related to real estate. A lovely side effect of really knowing your shit is that the more competent you are, the more confident you’ll be and that confidence is a HUGE part of how successful you’ll be in this business. So make it a priority to learn everything you can about 4 topics in particular - the real estate market your work in, home construction, real estate law and the local community your work in. But knowing your shit on its own isn’t enough. You’ve got to show people that you know it. You’ve got to be very intentional about looking for opportunities to demonstrate that wealth of knowledge whenever you can.
Up next is another obvious one, but it’s not for the obvious reason and that is to always be professional. Now of course you should be professional for the sake of being professional, but people are much more likely to refer you, if you are professional and that is because how you behave, directly reflects on them. You are a brand and just like people display their brand choices for things like clothing and jewelry and cars, when someone hires you as their realtor, your brand is reflecting on them. People who own luxury real estate would very rarely hire a discount brokerage to sell their property because that discount brand doesn’t align with how they view themselves or want to be viewed by others. So make sure that your brand will reflect well on your clients and those that refer to you. The easiest way to do that, is to develop a reputation for being professional. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to find out someone was questioning whether or not to refer someone to you, because they were worried about whether you were professional enough? That is not something you ever want to happen, so keep that in mind and Social media is a good place to start. It still floors me how many women in real estate post unprofessional photos on their instagram feeds. It really undermines our industry and contributes to the public opinion of not respecting realtors as professionals. It also undermines other women who are taking this career seriously and who are trying to establish themselves as professionals to be taken seriously.
Ok I’ll get off my soapbox….
Up next, number 5. If you want people to have a love-on for you and send lots of referrals your way, you need to follow up and follow through, not just in real estate, but in every day interactions with people. Demonstrate that you are the type of person who does what you say you’re going to do. When dealing with clients, communicate, communicate communicate. If you think you’ve communicated enough, communicate more. Communicate before, during and after. When it comes to real estate, there is no such thing as over communicating. If your clients ever thinks “oh my god I’m hearing from my real estate agent too much”, you are doing an awesome job.
Alright moving along to number 6. This one is so simple and yet I’m going to bet that a lot of you cringe when I tell you what it is and that is to always be on time. Now before you get all cocky and think I’m always on time for my clients….I’m not talking about your clients. I’m talking about being on time for your friends and family. If you have a reputation for being late a lot, I can promise you, you’re gonna struggle to build a referral business. When you’re the type of person who is always on time, it is hugely irritating when someone is always late and that’s because it is hugely disrespectful. When you’re frequently late, you’re disrespecting other people’s time and it shows you don’t value them or their time. I can promise you, people who are timely, will never refer people who are tardy, so if this is something that you’ve struggled with on the personal side, decide today that you need to change.
The next thing that will make people respect you and want to refer you, is around sharing your opinions, perspectives & insights. When people hire you to be their realtor, it is not to be a tour guide for buyers and it is not to just put a for sale sign on the lawn for sellers. You need to have insightful perspectives and opinions and be willing to share share them. There is nothing more off-putting than wishy-washiness from someone who is supposed to be acting as an advisor. Now there is an art to being opinionated and you do have to walk a fine line. I am infamously known for being overly opinionated and not afraid to share. So I have to work at tempering my opinions and in particular the delivery of my opinions, but you may need to work on confidently sharing yours. Like other examples I’ve talked about today, you need to intentional about demonstrating this in everyday situations with people you know and meet. The more you can leave conversations where the other person has gained new insights or perspectives on something, the better.
So number 8 is admittedly not one of my strengths and that is being thoughtful. People never hired or referred me because I was super thoughtful. I forget birthdays all the time. I’m terrible with gifts, I don’t remember little details. I could go on and on. But people really love thoughfulness. It makes them feel special, so If you are naturally a really thoughtful person, then use this amazing gift, it will make people love you. Now one little caveat, if you’re someone who needs validation when you’ve done something thoughtful, which for the record I totally do, then be mindful about doing thoughtful little things for people who aren’t your clients and you don’t know really well. In those situations it can Sometimes be misconstrued as manipulative and they may not respond with as much appreciation as you’re hoping for. That can be hurtful when your heart was actually in the right place.
Ok last but not least…is to be a great coach for friends, family and clients, particularly when it comes to making decisions. When you can regularly demonstrate that you’re good at helping people make decisions by challenging them to see things from a bunch of different angles, they’ll be eager to refer you.
The only way for you to do this well, is to get to know people and their situations well and then to challenge them when needed and support them when needed. When dealing with clients in particular, you need to remain unbiased and unattached to the outcome. The second you start thinking about the potential commissions for you, is the second you are no longer able to help them the way they need to be helped.
This is how you build a reputation for being an outstanding real estate agent and one that people will scream from the hilltops referring you.
Ok so to recap if you want to have loving clients who rave about you to everyone they know, the top 9 ways to secure this are:
Now I’m not suggesting these are the only important traits out there, you may possess different ones that your friends, family & clients may place even higher value on. So my recommendation is to reach out to your top referrers and ask them what it is they like about you and value about the approach you take to real estate. And then start doing more of that!
Alright ladies that’s it for today. If you’re still enjoying this podcast, I’d really appreciate if you leave me a quick review and don’t forget to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss any future episodes.
Next week’s episode is dedicated to all you newbies out there. So if you’re relatively new to the business, I’m going to give you my real estate roadmap for rookies, so make sure you tune in.
Remember the more you learn the more you’ll earn.
Until next time.