Realtors: Why use Referral Marketing
17 August 2018
Imagine you’re enjoying a leisurely Saturday afternoon fishing by the lake. You cast your line into the water, strategically pulling and slacking the line to attract the fish, and… nothing happens. Not even a nibble.
You don’t want to give up that easily, so you persist. You cast your line in again and again, hoping to get at least a bite. No luck.
Then, another person carrying a fishing rod walks by. She notices your disappointment and says, “That’s obviously not a good spot to catch fish. I know a much better spot, one that’s guaranteed to have plenty of fish ready to catch. Let me show you.”
What would you do?
Would you say, “No thanks, I’m good here.” Or, would you enthusiastically reply, “Yes, show me that spot!”
Our guess is, the latter!
So, what does this story have to do with real estate marketing?
One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents make — particularly, rookie Realtors — is casting their lines, so to speak, into the wrong spots. They rely too heavily on online leads, for example, or sink too much time and money into hit-and-miss advertising and ineffective marketing tactics.
A much more effective approach is to focus on proven sources of high-quality real estate leads and referrals. Fish in those spots, and you’ll spend less time and money, and get much better results.
What are those lucrative fishing holes? Let’s take a look at the best two…
Fishing Spot #1: Geographic Farm
As you may already know, real estate geographic farming is all about targeting a specific area or neighbourhood. The aim is to become well-known, liked and trusted by the residents so they see you as their go-to agent. When one of them wants to sell their home, you’re at the top of the list. You may even be the only agent they call.
Real estate geographic farming works because most homeowners don’t want to search for a real estate agent or work with a stranger. Most prefer to work with someone they already know, or at least is known in the neighbourhood.
They want to hire someone they trust.
When done correctly, geographic farming is a real estate marketing tool which accomplishes that for you. You become the trusted agent to those residents. And, depending on the area’s average turnover rate, that results in a lot of real estate leads, referrals, and word-of-mouth business for you.
How do you do geographic farming correctly?
You need a good real estate marketing system. One that’s mostly automated, doesn’t require much work on your part, and keeps you top-of-mind with residents via a direct mail real estate newsletter. (Ideally, one that features your picture and personal message, along with valuable updates and how-to articles homeowners will come to eagerly anticipate.)
It’s almost impossible to do geographic farming in any other way and be successful.
By the way, if you’re a rookie Realtor, geographic farming is the ideal way to build a real estate lead generation asset that pays off for you for years.
Fishing Spot #2: Previous Clients
Another fishing hole that is surprisingly neglected by many agents is past clients. These homeowners can be a lucrative source of real estate agent referrals. In fact, the average homeowner gets an opportunity to recommend an agent two to three times a year. And, according to research by NAR, a whopping 90% of homeowners would be willing to recommend their agent to others!
If you have a happy previous client, you should be getting those real estate referrals.
But don’t make the mistake of assuming you just will. You’ll be disappointed. To ensure you get those client referrals, you need to be proactive and build that loyalty.
The best way to accomplish this is to stay in touch with clients once a month with a valuable direct mail newsletter for your best past clients, and an e-newsletter version for your other contacts.
You also need to add calls, cards (home purchase anniversaries, birthdays, etc.) an annual visit, and a yearly client appreciation event to the mix.
What you want is to be seen as that client’s trusted professional for real estate advice, updates and services, in the same way their doctor, dentist, or financial advisor is. That way, they’ll naturally recommend you when they get asked, “Do you know a good real estate agent?”
And don’t forget about repeat business. You want that client to call you, and only you, when they move again.