19 Ways to Build Relationships that Generate Real Estate Referrals

26 May 2021

By Darcia

Do real estate referrals just happen? Yes, they do. But they’ll happen many times more often if you’re proactive and build the kind of relationships that consistently result in referrals.

Take your previous clients, for example.

Each of those homeowners, on average, has the potential to recommend an agent two or three times a year. Do the math. That’s a lot of real estate agent referrals over the next five years. Sure, you might get a few of those by default. But why settle for that? Especially if by doing just a few simple things, you can get the lion’s share of those real estate leads.

So how do you build referral-generating relationships? Let’s count the ways.

  1. Maintain a database of your important contacts so that you can keep in touch with them effectively. (You’ll need a good real estate CRM for this.)
  2. Reach out to a new business contact once a week. That could be a moving company owner, florist, real estate lawyer — anyone in a position to recommend you to their customers.
  3. Call, email or meet your business contacts once a month. Buy them a coffee. Take an interest in their business.
  4. Partner with business contacts for community events (particularly in your geographic farm), client appreciation events, webinars and seminars, etc. That strengthens those relationships, as well as gets you in front of new potential clients.
  5. Consider targeting a geographic farm. Becoming known in a specific area as the go-to agent will result in an ever-growing stream of real estate referrals and real estate leads.
  6. Use a direct mail real estate newsletter to stay in touch with geo farming prospects and your past clients. Make sure the newsletter features a personal message from you, along with valuable marketing updates, tips, and how-to articles.
  7. Occasionally feature a local business, such as a contractor or home stager, in your newsletter. That will help to build that relationship.
  8. Send a greeting card or e-card to past clients on their birthdays and/or moving anniversary. Everyone remembers and appreciates getting a card.
  9. Relationships are built on consistency. Be sure to call or email your past clients once a quarter.
  10. Schedule an in-person Annual Checkup with clients each year. (Set up your real estate CRM so that it automatically prompts you.) During this checkup, answer questions, offer advice, and ask your client how their home is meeting their needs.
  11. Be a referral resource for past clients, geographic farming prospects, and business contacts. Invite them to contact you if they need a recommendation (such as a contractor recommendation.) You’ll get more referrals if you give
  12. Host a client appreciation event each year. You can organize a picnic, schedule a movie night, or even put together an event online, such as a colouring contest for kids. Events are a great way to build relationships. It can also be a source of new contacts and real estate agent leads.
  13. Not surprisingly, the more satisfied a client is, the more likely they are to give you real estate referrals. So immediately after a transaction follow-up with a client on the day of the move, 30 days after the move, and again at the 90-day point. That lets them know you’re committed to their satisfaction even after the transaction is complete.
  14. Follow your clients on social media. Show an interest in their posts. For example, if you come across a client’s post that you like, consider clicking the LIKE button or even sharing the post. Also, if you notice a client has liked or shared your post, send them a message thanking them.
  15. When calling or meeting with past clients, don’t ask, “Do you plan to move this year?” Clients will quickly tire of that pitch. Instead, look for ways to add value. For example, you could offer to give them an update on the local market.
  16. Always thank a client when they recommend you, even if that recommendation doesn’t lead to a new client or listing. Call, email or send a thank you card. Let them know how much you appreciate their support.
  17. Don’t limit your contacts to just prospects, clients and business acquaintances. If anyone else in your network, including family members, could potentially send you referrals, add them to your real estate CRM database.
  18. If you have any past clients you haven’t kept in touch with, call them. Apologize for not staying in contact and ask if you can send them your real estate newsletter each month. Also, keep in touch from now on!
  19. It may seem counterintuitive, but a happy client may never recommend you if they’re not reminded that you welcome referrals. So make sure you do that. Let clients know you’d appreciate it if they would recommend you to their friends and neighbours.

Turning contacts into referral-generating relationships takes a lot of work — but, the good news is, you don’t need to do that work yourself. If you have a proven real estate marketing system for generating real estate referrals, most of the marketing tasks are automated and done for you.

Remember: Real estate referrals are the highest quality lead. In most cases, you are several times more likely to convert a referral than any other type of real estate lead. So you definitely want to set up or adjust your marketing so that you’re attracting more and more referrals each year.


By getting the right real estate marketing system working for you.

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