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SPECIAL REPORT: The Art of the Sale

In The Art of the Sale, author Phillip Delves Broughton conveys the primary role that sales plays in business and in life. As a graduate student at Harvard Business School, though, he discovered that sales courses did not exist in the curriculum. Broughton understood that this gap in schools’ curriculum means that many businesspeople may be unequipped to promote revenue growth in their companies, as sales is the driving force of any business (please visit the University Sales Center Alliance (USCA) website to see those universities who are committed to a professional selling curriculum).

For this reason, Broughton decided to create his own real-life sales course, culminating in The Art of the Sale. By journeying across the US and around the world, he sought to learn from the masters of sales, discovering who sells best and how to sell most effectively. He pursued master salespeople “in their element” to determine if sales skills are teachable or innate. Most of all, Broughton desired to understand the mind (more than the character) of a successful salesperson.

Four key sales strategies emerge from Broughton’s international journey. Embracing these strategies will help you master the art of the sale, and can help take your real estate sales abilities to the next level.

 

THINK POINT #1:
Learn to Read Your Customer and Adapt… Quickly

Broughton visited a shop owner in a Moroccan port city souk (open air marketplace) named Abel Majid Rais El Fenni. Majid has sold his wares to such famous customers as Yves Saint Laurent and Jacques Chirac. An expert at classifying individuals entering his shop and adjusting his sales strategy accordingly, Majid maintains his reputation as master salesperson. Through innovative product displays, finding ways to connect with his customers, and uncovering his customers’ true desires, Majid creates value for his clients and is able to charge more than other shop owners in the souk.

Specifically, Majid understands that sales opportunities develop quickly and that sales strategies must be readily tailored to meet the needs of the customer. This skill is difficult to teach because it involves perceptibility. Real estate agents also require a great deal of sensitivity and adaptability to be successful salespeople. As new sales opportunities arise, whether planned or unplanned, in a formal business setting or a casual social setting, agents must learn to read their customers and adapt their sales strategies to most effectively meet their greatest needs.

Broughton also visited with Norman Levine, an award-winning life insurance salesman and author, living in Palm Springs, California, who expounded on the idea of reading your customer. Levine explained, “To sell, you have to have an effective means for people to achieve what they want. To know what they want, however, you must get inside their heads, have empathy.” To really get to know potential customers, Levine advises salespeople to get involved in the community, church, PTA, school boards, clubs, and community organizations.

How are you getting involved in your community to better understand your current and prospective customers? What organizations in your community might provide fruitful business opportunities in a social setting? Remember, friends can become clients and clients can become friends.

 

THINK POINT #2:
Serve Your Client’s Best Interest, Not Your Own Ego

Broughton was impressed by the master salespeople he met who, after identifying the needs and motivations of their customers, responded not by selling, but by serving. Instead of crafting their identity as successful salespeople, they would let go of their egos and instead focus on their customer’s best interest.

Levine told Broughton that a successful salesperson sells himself as a credible, trustworthy person and is able to create value for his customer. Once credibility and trust are established, the successful salesperson abandons “self” to serve the other person. Ashok Vemuri, head of an Indian company’s operations in America, echoed this sentiment. When Vemuri hired and trained salespeople, he explicitly looked for selfless people who made customer service a priority.

Martin Shanker, an expert sales trainer in New York, reminded Broughton that successful salespeople actually care about their customers. Unfortunately, many salespeople value clients only based on the size of their bank accounts. Emphasis, though, should be placed on serving the client, not in calculating potential financial gain. Remember, successful real estate agents do not profile customers – they genuinely care about them.

For another perspective, Broughton traveled to the other side of the world to visit Chie Shibata, a top Japanese life insurance salesperson at Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company in Tokyo. Shibata built a strong customer base in her early days in sales simply by acting in her clients’ best interests. In the insurance industry, this meant focusing on her clients’ current peace of mind and future well-being. Shibata learned that sales is not only about earning what she needed for herself, but providing the goods and services that her clients needed.

Similarly, people need homes. Real estate agents have an important opportunity to serve their clients’ interests by helping them find the right home – the home that ensures current peace of mind and future well-being. The right home does not necessarily mean the home that translates into the greatest agent commission, which means setting aside ego for the benefit of the customer.

How are you working to understand and serve your client’s best interest? Are you focused on your client’s needs versus the potential for financial gain? What ways can you work to set aside your ego for your customers this week?

 

THINK POINT #3:
Be Resilient – Have “Loose Robes”

Majid, the Moroccan souk shop owner, has developed a very unemotional approach to selling. Majid’s father taught him to have “loose robes,” which means he does not let customers upset him and does not take customers’ opinions or expressions personally. He does confess that sometimes customers can be unreasonable and irrational; however, his “loose robes” allow Majid not to let a perceived snub or insult interfere with a sale.

Resilience, a necessary trait for every real estate agent, is the ability to maintain emotional stability in the midst of unpredictable and unpleasant events. Resilience is particularly useful for anyone who regularly hears no more than yes each day. Great salespeople can take the occasional rejection or failure and use them as building blocks for future success. Great salespeople refuse to shy away from rejection, and choose to see it as a “vaccine” that can improve their resistance to personal criticism. Great salespeople embrace both success and failure as part of the process.

Shibata would advise real estate agents to be genuine, knowing that clients value your intelligence, talent, and service, no matter the package. She divulges that when beginning a sales career (and particularly a career in real estate), most people resign because facing so much rejection and “financial uncertainty” is “brutal on the ego and the wallet.” Shibata would also encourage agents to maintain an objective view of their performance, enjoy difficult situations and maintain passion. Even difficult situations can ultimately lead to a promising future.

 

THINK POINT #4:
Establish Long-Term Relationships with Your Clients

All of Broughton’s insight culminates in a fourth and final point: a successful real estate agent’s goal should be to foster long-term relationships with his/her clients.

To describe the value of a long-term relationship, Broughton shared one of his most positive sales experiences – buying a suit for his wedding. After determining the general specifications Broughton required for the suit, the salesperson had him try on a variety of styles, asking what he liked and disliked about each suit he tried. After walking through this questioning for a couple hours, Broughton selected the suit – the one he would wear on his wedding day.

Broughton insisted the salesperson did not sell him the suit, but rather let the suit sell itself. What enabled the entire transaction, though, was the trust the salesperson build at the outset of the transaction, not any slick moves in the close. The trust Broughton established with the salesperson supported him as he selected the attire for his wedding. The relationship they built in that one transaction, though, translated into many future sales opportunities.

Majid echoes a similar philosophy, encouraging salespeople to establish long-term relationships with customers by building trust, rather than pushing or forcing sales. Majid suggests that in his store, he may back away from the easy sale and offer advice to the customer instead. He advises salespeople to be patient and thoughtful which fosters trust and credibility, and leads to future, greater sales.

Real estate agents have an opportunity to develop strong relationships with their clients. Home sales/purchases are important, personal transactions and often represent a significant transition or experience in the life of the client. Therefore, a positive interaction built upon trust and credibility can lead to a long-term relationship with the client. A strong relationship will translate into additional sales opportunities and potential for future referrals.

Broughton’s international journey taught him a lot about the global face of sales. Packaged with hard work and patience, these four strategies have the potential to transform an agent from meeting the sales status quo to experiencing significant sales success. Incorporate these strategies into your daily sales practices and you, too, can master The Art of the Sale.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Recommended Reading
Broughton, Phillip Delves (2012), The Art of the Sale,
New York: The Penguin Press.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Article used with permission, first published in the Keller Center Report Report

If you’re looking for a proven system that automatically builds such a close relationship people will think of you (and only you) for referrals, word of mouth and repeat business… then become a member of the best direct-response prospecting and referral producing system on earth:
www.ServiceForLife.com

It’ll be the easiest way to harvest more business from your Power List you’ve ever seen.

 

The Most Dramatic Example Of How To Sell Listings Fast

Hundreds of times now I have taken on a listing that did not sell.

I would change nothing but the marketing message, and the home would sell almost instantly.

It just happened again, but I have never had one quite this dramatic, nor have I ever had one case teach so many essential marketing lessons.

If someone made me select just one case study to teach the real estate industry how to get effective advertising done, this is the example I would use.  You’ll see it is not about having a more exciting message for the home itself, but a more honest one.

This is the story of a home that went unsold for 2 years, and then sold for full price, with 8 offers in 4-days.

The previous agent had worked his tail off to try to sell this house.  He spent thousands of dollars on things like:  a virtual tour made that included high-quality production values with voice-over narration and music,  a 4-color, professionally-printed brochure, and open houses for agents and the public.  All with no results.

Most interesting was the agent’s final advice at the end of his two-year attempt to sell.  He told the sellers they simply had a “problem” house. 

He was not being mean-spirited — anyone would have come to the same conclusion based on the harsh feedback that came in about the house.  I am used to dealing with a house that has one “problem”, but this one had three:

  1. the lot was all slope with no usable yard  
  2. the master bedroom was upstairs and
  3. many complaints poured in that the house was way too small and unimpressive given that the others were in the 5,000 to 8,000 sq. ft. range with prices up to $5M (this one was $725k and had a little over 3,000 sq. ft.)

What would you do with this situation?

When I carefully studied the previous agent’s marketing I realized all of the complaints about the house were not credible at all. Why?

Because the marketing was attracting the wrong profile of buyers over, and over, and over again.  The house wasn’t the problem, it was the marketing that was the “problem”.

Do you make the mistake of focusing on where to
relay a message instead of the message itself?

In order to sell this “problem” house I wrote an updated listing description and put it in one place (not the MLS).

I didn’t do any of the things the previous agent had done.  I changed nothing but the marketing message.  I got eight offers in four days, and the home sold for full price!


I have done this for years — updating the marketing message to attract the right buyer for a home.

But the real story in this case lies in the observation that most people concentrate their marketing efforts on the method of delivering a message rather than the message itself.

In recent years agents have spent lots of money and time on the latest marketing fad — social media.

Before that, other marketing trends have been blogging, podcasts, blast emails, and the notion that if you’re in real estate you must have a website.   Agents tend to jump from one trend to the next without ever considering the actual message that is being used. 

And besides “new” media, the real estate industry has another distraction that dooms most advertising of listings.

  
Advertising messages should always be positive
and upbeat — are you sure? 

There is this ingrained pressure to always be positive and upbeat.  The belief is if you mention anything in your advertising that might be taken as a drawback you will scare people away.  

However, every home has something about it that will turn off some buyers.  The house may have a small yard.  It may be dated.  It may be on a busy street.  It may not have a view when others do, etc. 

It is rare for agents to list a “perfect” house, and even when we do, guess what problem crops up?  The price will be very high compared to others (as it should be).  However, this just causes agents to be nervous because they know buyers — and buyer agents — will object to a price that is higher than neighborhood average. 
 
In short, and this takes place at the subconscious level in my opinion, but all of this creates fear

And this fear of the home not being “perfect” results in agents who use timid marketing pieces to sell houses.

Most agents simply list the number of bedrooms, baths and living areas.  All over the country agents use stock phrases like “gourmet kitchen”, “granite counters” and “highly-rated schools”.

They’re trying to attract all buyers in the market instead of the right one — the one that will buy this listing!  Do you do that too?

The previous agent on the listing in my example here not only used this approach, he glossed over all of the drawbacks as if no one would notice these features when they walked through the house!

 
Fear weakens advertising.  Fear of missing potential buyers makes your listing promotions wimpy and causes you to not sell home faster and for more money.

My ad was bold and decisive.  I made no apology for the home’s attributes.  And talk about brazen, I promoted the “drawbacks” as benefits.  Not by way of slick salesmanship.  I did NOT turn a negative into a positive — I used the ad to attract a small, targeted audience of buyers who WANTED this home just the way it was.

For example, who would prefer to have all bedrooms upstairs?  Parents with young children like this design because you can hear your child call out for you in the middle of the night if that child is sick or scared.  I also used the word “small” in the headline in order to flag the attention of those people who liked the idea of owning a small home in a big-home neighborhood. 

The key is these are bold decisions that have to be made before ANY marketing is done, and you cannot allow any fear to creep in.  This provides so much clarity because it means you will only get inquiries from buyers who want exactly what that home offers, and when you do this sales seem to just fall into place.

In advertising, this initial step is called positioning…it is the way you decide on which target audience you want to attract. 

Think about just two examples you are exposed to as a consumer.

Costco does not apologize for the warehouse appearance of its stores because it supports their “bargain price” position.  And Neiman-Marcus does not fear sticking a $700 price tag on a purse because this fits their upscale position.
  Positioning that works is the opposite of trying to appeal to everyone.

So, how are you trying to “position” the homes you sell in your marketplace?  If it’s to everyone, you have no position, and you have no audience of buyers!

The most powerful way to
position your listings


Emphasizes that which cannot be easily duplicated by the competition (other homes for sale in the area) and your listings will stand out and get the attention of the right buyer.

The house featured in this case study was NOT a “problem” house at all.  It was loaded with benefits (small size, master upstairs, etc.) that no other seller could match.  It is as if they were hidden in plain sight.  All I did was emphasize them rather than try to gloss over them.


I am attaching the full ad that triggered eight offers:


Click here to download this PDF


NOTE: I have embedded small “yellow” icons all over the ad at key points.  If you click on the icons, you get a pop-up box that explains the various steps in the process.  These icons do NOT show up on phones or an iPad, but they do appear if you are looking at the pdf file on a computer screen. 

Many sales coaches would tell you that in order to be effective at selling homes, you must be aggressive and hard-charging.

To this day, a lot of sales training involves techniques for “overcoming objections”, “not taking ‘no’ for an answer” and to “follow-up with prospects over and over until they buy”.  Really!  Don’t know about you, but I recoil from salespeople who behave in this fashion. These antics are unnecessary if you get the marketing message right from the start

What to do if you are tired of spending money on advertising that is not working

There are two main takeaways in this article.

First, stop doing things just because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Instead of jumping on the latest trend, be objective and analyze the current message you are sending out about your listing.

If you think I am one of those people that is always advising realtors to increase their advertising budget, you would be way wrong. The house featured in this case study did not sell even though the previous agent spent thousands of dollars on a multi-pronged marketing campaign.  I spent less than $50 to print my listing promotion that I then stuck in the info box attached to my yard sign.

Message trumps conduit.  Don’t worry if you’re using social media or not, if you’re on every website or not — it’s the message that matters more than the media used to convey the message.

Second, your message must connect with consumers at a deeper and honest level.  You are guaranteed to have a failed listing promotion if you attempt to do this with only facts about the home.

Instead of using the “traditional” listing flyer with only bedroom, bath count, square footage — use a “story ad.”  Story ads are listing promotions that tell an interesting and accurate story about the home, and are the way to reach consumers at the emotional level in order to sell homes quickly (and for the most money possible).

Above all, you must not let the fear of losing “some” buyers influence you or you are certain to write a wimpy listing description and lose the ones that will buy your listings.

What are you doing to get your
listings to stand out and sell quickly?

Learn how to use my more effective (and fast) approach to
selling homes in your area, by clicking here for a short video presentation.

1 Weird Method To Sell Listings Fast

Free Video Presentation Reveals

How To Sell Your Listings In Half The Time In 2014

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Endless Clients System #7 – Top 20% Power Players

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bottom after you’re done reading this article…

Today I want to share a little “marketing secret” with you.

It’s something very, very few agents understand. And knowing it can deliver you more clients in a month than you now get in 6-months… or even a year… while spending less time, less energy and less money in your business.

Here’s the “secret” in a nutshell:

Do you remember the “Real Estate Success Pyramid™”? I’ve shared it with you before, but if you need a quick refresher, here’s the pyramid…

 

 

If you took a look at that pyramid, you’d notice a very small area at the top with a red star.

Do you know WHY I put that red star at the top of the pyramid?

Because once you start using the systems I am teaching you here, you’re going to realize that the area with the red star represents…

The MOST VALUABLE ASSET of
Your Real Estate Business

That little area represents a small, yet brutally-profitable group of people who are “hyper-responsive” at sending you referrals, word of mouth and repeat business.

I call these people – your “Top 20% Power Players.”

Without a doubt, THESE people are the most valuable asset in your practice – even greater than your general Power List.

How valuable?

Agents tell me that harvesting these 20% produces up to 80% of their business (yes, it’s the old 80-20 rule). But most agents forget about these people. Most agents either never identify them, or never acknowledge their importance to the agents’ success.

And as a result… they harvest only a small fraction of the business they could get from these folks.

But that won’t be the case with you – at least not any longer.

Today I’m going to share with you FOUR systems for acknowledging your “Top 20% Power Players™” in your practice. You’re going to get pro-active about your relationship with these folks.

And in doing so, you’ll automatically harvest more and more referrals and new clients year after year – the easy way.

Top 20% System #1: Your Inner-Circle System™

Did you know that people like to be treated as “special”?

They love to be treated like VIP’s.  They love to stand-out as a cut-above the rest.  They love to see their name in print.  Napoleon Bonaparte once said…

“My Life Changed the Day I Realized that
A Man Will DIE for a Blue Ribbon…”

It’s amazing what people will do for recognition – just ask Mary Kay. And that’s just one reason why you should create a very special “Inner Circle Club” to your real estate practice.

Your inner circle club is your unique way of recognizing people who support your business… and reinforcing their behavior by making them feel SPECIAL.

After all, they are the most important people in your business – the crème de la crème of your Power List.  And you don’t need to spend much money in the process.

So HOW do you create your own “Inner Circle Club”?

It’s actually quite easy.  The first step in the process is to simply LIST OUT all the “special privileges and status” for those who send you referrals and support your business.

Remember, your goal is to make them feel special.

I’ve created a short letter below you can send to anyone who sends you referrals.  You’ll notice it outlines a few examples and benefits of your “Inner Circle Club”… and you’ll want to customize it (that means add services unique to you) for YOUR practice…

(Click on the image to enlarge)…

sample letter

Remember, if you want to continue the process of getting more and more referrals from your “Top 20% Power Players”, you must specially acknowledge them.

Top 20% System #2: Inner-Circle Special Event System™

Want to make a positive impression with your “Top 20% Inner Circle” as a group?

Think about holding one of these events once or twice a year…

  1. A special wine or beer tasting party.  Just locate one of your favorite distributors or retail stores, and they’ll set it all up for you.
  2. A special seminar or workshop.  You name the topic, but make sure it’s something people would really value: Investments, tax saving strategies, and special topics.
  3. Hold a fashion show with a local high-end boutique.
  4. Create a family picnic once a year for your inner circle members.
  5. Have an annual Comedy Club outing.  Simply go to a local comedy club in your area, and book a night when great performers will be appearing.  Often you can book a weeknight and get discount rates.
  6. Hold a Christmas Party.
  7. Hold a Sports Clinic if you find many of your clients like a certain sport: Power walking, running, cycling, etc.
  8. Hold an Art Show with a local gallery.  This is very classy way to meet with many network members at once. Consider holding a Wine Tasting with your art show.
  9. Every year, buy 5 or 6 sets of tickets to your local Opera or Theatre group.  Then, for each performance, give away a set of tickets to someone special.  If you buy 5 sets of tickets with 8 shows apiece, you’ll have enough tickets to send 40 people to a show.
  10. Coordinate a New Automobile Preview with a local high-end or exotic auto dealership (BMW, Lexis, Mercedes, Infinity, Porsche, Ferrari, etc).  They’ll be ecstatic you’re promoting their cars, and will gladly participate with your inner circle network.

Couldn’t you do any of these with your Top 20% Power Players, spending very little money in the process?

I’ve reproduced an invitation to a Comedy Club Party that was paid for entirely by service suppliers (mortgage lenders, appraisers, title companies), and netted over $20,000 in direct business less than 30 days after the event – and keeps pulling business… because real estate is about RELATIONSHIPS!

Here’s the invitation (click on the image to enlarge)…

sample invite cover

Here’s the INSIDE of the invitation (click on the image to enlarge)…

sample invite inside

Top 20% System #3: The “Unexpected Gift System™

Here’s a system that plays off the “Perennial Post Premium” you learned about in my article on after-sale systems.

But in this case, you’re sending a special, small gift certificate just to your Power Players when they’re not expecting it.

Here’s what you do…

Just go out to a local retail store – coffee house, florist, etc. – and ask them for a very special price to send a sample of their product to special members of your Power List.

Remember, there’s new business in this strategy for the retailer, so they should be more than willing to give you a special deal.  Again, this is a very inexpensive, yet “touching” way to make a positive impression.

You will get incredible feedback when you take this small, yet personal gesture with your Top 20% Power Players.

Here’s an example of simply giving out a gift certificate for 2 Free Coffees at a specialty coffee shop, etc.
(Click on the image to enlarge)…

sample gift certificate

Note: the other side of the card would have the coffee house locations, phone number, etc.

Top 20% System #4: Your “Personal Call System”

This system sounds alarmingly simple, yet, not long ago, I read about a $71-millon dollar producer who uses this method as a dominant marketing system in her practice.

I frequently talk about spending 70% of your time cultivating the top 20% of your network. That’s because people who generally refer once to you will refer again and again if you build the relationship.

That’s where your Personal Call System with your Top 20% Inner Circle Club can really pay off. Here are a few tips for creating your personal call system…

  1. Take the number of Top 20% Power Players you have and divide it by 25.  That will give you (roughly) the number of members you need to call each week to speak with each one TWICE a year.  For example, if you have 200 inner circle members, you need to call 8 each week to speak with them all every 6 months.  If you want to speak with each one at least quarterly, take your membership and divide it by 12 – to get the number you need to call weekly (in this example, that would be 16 people called each week).
  2. Create a special schedule and set aside time one day a week to make your calls.  It will only take you about 20 minutes a week if you have a lot of Top 20% people – that’s hardly a sacrifice to get more referrals, right?
  3. You need always have a reason for calling.  So make one.  It could be an invite to lunch.  It could be to ask what they thought of your last real estate newsletter.  Or, best yet, you should know about the profession and hobbies of your inner circle members.  Why not find a topic about their favorite sport, and call to send an article reprint.  Or get them a gift certificate to a local hobby or sports shop.  Either way, you need to communicate with them.  Some agents don’t call, but send something, as I mentioned above.
  4. Continue to build upon your relationship momentum.  Over time, it will be like calling your friend.  You’ll never want for something to say, or a reason for calling.

If it works for a $71 million producer, it’ll work for you too. How ’bout it?

Action Plan:

You work hard.  Prospecting, previewing, listing, showing and selling can really take their toll.

That’s why you need to get the very most out of every relationship you create in your practice.  And no relationship has the ability to translate into raw commissions than that of your 20% Power Players.

What I’ve covered here is not difficult.  If you simply implement 2 of the systems from the 4 you learned here, AND use them consistently – you’ll be lightyears ahead of other agents who mostly 1) don’t even “prioritize” their Power List – so they don’t even know they have “Power Players”, and 2) do nothing to uniquely reward their Power Players… and thus multiply the volume of business they could be getting.

So that’s your goal: 2 of the systems here.  Just do them…and do them consistently.

What did you think of this article?



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Endless Clients System #6 – Referral Reward

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bottom after you’re done reading this article…

Did you ever study the story about Pavlov’s dogs?

Pavlov could get a dog to salivate just by ringing a bell.  How’d he do it?

He trained the dog’s mind to salivate by giving it a food treat each time he rang a bell.  And within just a few repetitions…he could eliminate the treat, and the dog was still “programmed” to salivate when it heard the bell.

How does this apply to your real estate practice?

See…Pavlov learned that…

Behavior that Gets REWARDED…
Gets REPEATED!

I’d like to think we’ve evolved beyond that of our furry canine friends, but the truth is…we behave in much the same way.

And with a little knowledge and a few skills in this area, you can “program” your Power List to readily think of you any time they meet or hear anyone thinking about buying or selling.

Instead of “salivating” you can program them to quickly “bark-out” your name when the situation dictates (oh, that’s really corny, isn’t it?).

After all, according to the NAR…that’s how 73% of all clients are received by agents – by referral, directly knowing the agent, word of mouth or repeat business.

Now…before we talk about strategies for getting people to actively think of “you” with referrals…there’s something very important that I need to review with you…

A lot of agents think…if they hold out the right “reward”, people will stand on street corners proudly yelling-out the agents’ name. But this is naïve in two ways…

First, it’s against the law to directly compensate someone for sending you a referral. And second, even if it were legal…

No One’s Going to Refer to You…
If You Aren’t Referral-Worthy!

I mentioned this in an earlier article, but it’s so important, we need to revisit the subject.

See…when someone refers a client to you, they’re not only putting YOU on the line for a good outcome…they’re putting THEMSELVES on the line too.

Your referring-friend must first believe that you offer the most competent, professional and uniquely-superior services before they’ll ever send a close friend over your way.

Why? Because referrals reflect back on THEM. And they don’t want to look bad by referring an agent who blows the deal.

Make sense? So let’s talk about…

4 Specific Times to Acknowledge Referrals in Your Practice…

First, you should acknowledge the referral immediately when you receive the referral – even if the referral did not become a client. You want to send out a special thoughtful note acknowledging the action as quickly as possible after getting the referral. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, and you don’t want to violate any rules and regulations in the process.

Second, make sure you keep contact during the transaction. Communicate frequently to inform the referring party how their referral is progressing, and how well you’re taking care of them. This shows you care about the referral and the person who referred. Consider giving a special acknowledgement at loan approval or some specific time like that (put this with your “task” systems throughout the listing process and it’ll be easy-as-pie to accomplish).

Third, acknowledge the client and recognize their referral in your Service For Life!® monthly real estate newsletter.  Why?  Because people love to see their name in print – and by acknowledging the referral in public, you automatically program others in your Power List to refer to you.

Fourth, recognize the referral at closing. A simple letter reporting the successful transaction will do.

With that background, here are 2 simple systems for
making a big impact when rewarding referrals…

Referral Reward System #1: The Perennial Reward Gift™

Do you remember in a previous article I talked about using a “perennial” after-sale gift in your practice?

It’s a gift that keeps coming throughout the year and continues to REMIND your client of you – without you doing any additional work or expense (that’s what I mean by “leverage”).

The gift I mentioned in that article was the annual magazine subscription, such as “Architectural Digest” or something the appeals to them.  The secret is to identify THEIR personal interests or passions and give a gift that shows you acknowledge their interests.

That’s how you make a personal impression.

Here are a few additional ideas to help in your practice (don’t violate any state laws or regulations relating to “value” in the process)…

  1. Donate to their Favorite Charity.  You make a huge impression by identifying the causes they love, and making a donation in THEIR name.
  2. 5 Free Car Washes.  Go to your local quality car wash and see if you can purchase a book of car washes.  Each time they visit the car wash, they’ll think of you.
  3. 2-4 Free Oil Changes.  Same as above, but go to a quick lube place and get them 2 to 4 quick lube oil changes to cover them for 6 months or a year.  Each time they go, they think of you.
  4. 8 Free Movie Tickets.  See if you can get an annual pass to a movie theater, or a booklet of passes so they can see a few movies.  Each time they visit, they think of you.
  5. Free Coffee.  Give a coupon for 10 free coffees – each time they visit their favorite coffee house, they’ll think of you.

Referral Reward System #2: The Give to Get™ System

Any time you get a referral from someone to your business, place their name, their business or occupation, and their phone number on a special piece of paper or in a file.

Accumulate all the names of people who have given you referrals in the past on your sheet (or file). Then you want to do 2 things:

  1. Keep the list of referring people handy, and make sure you take the time to REFER BACK TO THEM at any chance you get.  Keep your mind awake for opportunities to give back.  Nothing makes a greater impression than when you refer BACK to a person who referred to you.
  2. Create a special “Personal Referral Sourcebook” and share the names and businesses with your Power List.  This way, they’re not only getting referrals from you because of the relationship, they’re getting referrals from others who know you.  In essence, you’re multiplying the “reciprocation” to them, by sharing the names of everyone who referred to you.  As always, be sure not to “endorse” the services of others.

Action Plan:

OK, as a quick recap… there are 5 easy steps to rewarding referrals and motivating people to keep sending more referrals.

Step #1: Make yourself referral-worthy in the first place.

Step #2: Acknowledge the referral and keep your referring party up to date on the progress and success of the transaction.

Step #3: Make your referral rewards very personal.  You want to make a deep impression on the person who referred to you.

Step #4: Make your gift “perennial.”  This way, you “leverage” your one-time gift into many reminders, and your referring party will think about you each time they use their gift.

Step #5: Finally, you want to give referrals to others, and share services of your referring parties with members of your Power List.  This way they’ll see you as a valuable part of their own business.

Think about employing all 5 steps into your business – and watch your production grow and grow.

Coming Up Next…

Over a short period of time using this system, you’re going to identify a small percentage of people who become…

Hyper-Responsive!

These are people who send referrals, multiple referrals or do business with you many times over.

Without a doubt THESE people are the most valuable asset in your practice – even greater than your general Power List.

Most agents forget about these people entirely – they either never identify who they are, or never acknowledge their importance to the agent’s practice.

And because of this…they harvest only a small fraction of the business they could get from these folks. But that won’t be the case with you.

In my next article, I’m going to share with you a few amazing systems for acknowledging the “Top 20% Power Players™” in your practice.

And in doing so, you’ll continue to automatically harvest more and more referrals and new clients from these folks.

So watch your email in-box for my next article, coming soon…

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