It doesn’t matter what you are selling – widgets or real estate – the sales game is all about our relationships, and you are only as good as your last referral. Most agents get hung up on making calls to their clients, because they think it is dirty to ask for a referral. What if the goal wasn’t to ask for a referral, but to deepen the existing relationship? Your end game should be a relationship with your top fifty clients who wouldn’t do business with anyone but you, and would not let anyone they care about, do business with anyone but you. Your top fifty clients are customers who have bought or sold more than one home with you, and/or have referred you to others. I also like to consider their reach – who do they know that they could refer to me? If you are new to real estate, your top fifty might be people who would refer you, if they knew they should.
To have a successful referral-based relationship with fifty clients, you must stay in regular contact with them, and that requires a customer relationship management system (CRM). There are plenty of options available for affordable CRM platforms – and even some that are free of charge. Don’t get stuck in analysis-paralysis because you want to pick the best CRM. They are all good, and the best one for you is the one you will use. If you don’t have one now, pick one and commit to using it.
What does regular basis look like? Monthly contact in some form, whether that is something in the mail, a phone call, a video text, lunch or a visit to their home or office. They must see or hear from you at least once a quarter. A good CRM will help you track vital details, such as a birthday or anniversary – and keep notes on their summer dream vacation abroad, or when their child is heading off to college. You need to pay attention to those details if you want to maximize your relationships.
People have a deep need to feel connected, appreciated and understood – and people naturally tell us how we can do that. Look for opportunities to connect with your top fifty, such as a book on how to plan a summer vacation in another country, or how to gracefully become an empty-nester. A good CRM will help you manage those details, and keep you on track with who you need to contact and when.
The average person knows 200 people well and they will know five people who will make a move in the next twelve months. I believe that if you have a strong connection with your top fifty, you don’t have to beg for business. However, you are only as good as your last referral and in order to grow a referral-based business, you must commit to the time it takes to develop the relationships, care about the details, and have a good CRM.