Building a culture of Referrals – Part 1: How to Talk about Referrals
Written by Ali Calladine, March 09th, 2017
Opportunities that come to you as a result of referrals are the most powerful and the most enjoyable. Referrals present clients who trust you, who came to work with you very organically, and who are now fuelling a community around your business. In this week’s blog, let’s start talking about how to build a culture of referrals.
In my mind, the biggest mistake one can make when it comes to referrals is thinking they deserve them. You must earn referrals. And more accurately, you must earn each referral; remembering that every one is an honour and a uniquely personal vote of confidence.
So how do we find an approach that sets us up to earn referrals? We must find a complex mix of building trust, using exceptional communication, and opening the door. Let’s open up this conversation by digging into how to talk about referrals with your sphere and current clients.
- Start Early
The best sources for referrals are people who are actively thinking about buying or selling a house. Mostly, this means your current clients. When people’s minds are on Real Estate, they’ll be talking about it more, and with more energy. If you have already introduced them to the idea of referring you, it will be incredibly natural.
Of course, the more naturally you can start the conversation, the more naturally your clients can. The philosophy of referrals should be embedded in the entire experience, not as a sales pitch or awkward after thought. The best way to bring up referrals is honestly; sharing with your clients that you’re going to do everything you can to make their experience exceptional because you want to earn their trust in sending other people to you (and of course for the reasons that drive you to do an excellent job for your clients beyond that as well). By sharing with your clients the understanding that your marketing strategy is to be excellent at what you do, they will feel at ease, and they will harmoniously recommend you if they agree that you are excellent.
- Take the Burden of Communication Away
It’s important to make referring and being referred easy for your clients and prospects. Rather than having your clients give you information to their contact, who must then take the initiative to call (and often won’t), recommend to your clients that they ask permission for you to call the person who they’re referring. By simply asking permission for you to reach out, the prospect doesn’t have to take initiative, and already feels that you are making things easier for them.
- Get Out of Your Head
A final key approach in talking about referrals is to keep it about your client, and later your prospect. When we’re stressed about business development, our fear of asking for referrals, and the chaos of our Real Estate practice; it’s easy to be wrapped up in our needs. Take a second to make sure that when you’re talking to your clients about referrals, you’re making it about them. They will send us referral because they believe that our service is exceptional and they want their friends, family and colleagues to have the same excellent experience. It makes them look and feel good if their referrals have an amazing experience as a result of their efforts.
By adopting this mentality, talking about referrals becomes seamless and starts to build a community of people around your business. Of course, if your approach to referrals is going to be honest and to focus your clients’ experience, you do have to be exceptional. That’s what we’ll talk about next week.