Looking For Fresh Referral Scripts?
Sometimes saying the right thing isn't the hard part... saying something that you haven't said before is. We all know that asking for referrals the first time is fairly straight-forward (especially if it follows a fantastic client experience). At this point, your clients are more-than-enthused to help you out with the name of a friend or family member. At least, that's what they say. But as days turn into weeks and then to months, getting that coveted referral from your client becomes a game of chasing cats... in the rain. So to help you in your efforts, we're going to spin things around a bit and provide staged referral scripts for you and/or your team. Hopefully, this format will help you lock down that well-deserved client referral (at least at some point along the timeline) and eventually help bolster your real estate agent leads. For these examples, we'll assume that you're a seller's agent.
Day "-180" Referrals: Wait, What?
Before we get started, we have an important strategy that we'd like for you to consider putting into play from this point forward is the notion that you can actually ask for the referral before you engage your client. It may seem odd to some agents out there, but for others, you may already be doing this now. Here's how this works... the homeowner is heading into the new and budding relationship with you already assuming that you're in this for the commission. At this stage, while they're assuming that you're only in this for the payday, you're going to leverage your future "earned reputation" and place it on the line for them in advance. It's simple, really... In this way, you're taking the focus off of your future cut of their investment and placing attention, instead, on the value that you'll be aiming to earn... all future business from them and their friends.
Day 1 Referrals: The Easy Times
Let's start off with the easy one... sorta. Assuming that you've delivered excellent service to your client (and also that they know it), you're going to want to place referral into your conversation non-sparingly. What does this mean? Well, another way of saying it is... gratuitously. Let's pull the veil off this thing... you're going to want to drop a clear and direct request for referral anywhere you can. In addition to simply dropping the request, you're going to actually want to do the work for them. It might be enough to have a pen and paper in your hand and ask them if they had an excellent home seller experience with you, but unfortunately, it'll likely take more. It's just the nature of the world that some people are more creative than others.
Some clients will have a list of names they can immediately think of that might need your service. But even in this ideal circumstance (setting aside those that just can't imagine who in their bubble might also benefit from your skillsets), there are still two factors that will be working against you. First, they've got other things on their mind... home improvements, moving, cleaning, improvements and either glee or buyer's remorse to deal with. Second, they've already moved on... sorry. Despite the relationship you've established over the weeks r months, you've dropped in their list of priorities. =\ So you're going to want to get creative without being too pushy (or even creepy about it). Here are some ideas that may help take the weight off your new "past" clients and ease their referral into your hands.
- "I had the chance to meet some of your neighbors on [name of old street] and they seemed really excited about the market. Can you think of anyone in the neighborhood there that might be thinking of selling?" What you've done here is actually take the pressure off the referral. Folks sometimes don't want to drop a neighbor's name without checking with that neighbor first. Sharing with them that you've already met many of them establishes a mutual acquaintance with them and may result in an easier referral.
- "You've been a fantastic client, thank you for making this such a wonderful experience. I know that listing your new home is the furthest thing on your minds, but I'd love to work with you and your family again... I help clients throughout the region with their housing questions and I might be able to help others in your family as well. Is there anyone you know that has discussed their home investment or that might benefit from an updated housing market report?" What you've done here is to remind them of the great experience, shift thinking beyond their immediate sphere of influence and lay out a few scenarios where they could be the hero for lining the two of you up.
Day 15 Referrals: Referral's In The Mail
If you're like most agents, you've got a collection of "be-backs" (you know... "I'll be right back with that referral!"). =\ It's a strange fact that the hardest referrals to lock down are those in the middle. Early days... definitely easier... years later (surprisingly not too difficult, but we'll get into that later with some creative suggestions). No, the hardest referrals are the ones you're chasing and we end up frantically running after the ones just beyond our grasps. There's no better way to describe those recent past clients we've just waved off into their new lives.
As mentioned, they've got so much on their minds and truthfully... real estate services (even those provided by the best agent they've ever worked with... you!) is just no longer on their radar. Nevertheless, somehow, in this environment, you've got to push your way through and get that one, last reward. After all... your business depends on as many opportunities coming through the door as possible, and... you earned it! let's look at some fun and not-too-invasive ideas to land a referral within the first couple of weeks as they weave and dodge your calls. head's up... it's going to cost you a bit of time, creativity and yes... cash. But referral leads are gold.
- "It's been a few weeks and I wanted to stop on by with this bouquet and see how your move has been? How did everything work out with [the job transfer, the new carpeting, etc.]? I know that that was an area of concern for you, so I wanted to share the name of a friend of mine that helps in these areas. Maybe they can help?" What you've done here is quickly explain why you're here, provide a gift to remember you by and begin a conversation centered around an exchange of names and referral services. You started by sharing your referrals first and this will open the gate a little wider for their referrals to you.
- "Hi [their name]! How are things working out in your new home? [Be sure to really be present, listen and engage... take your time being there... treat them as a client for life]! Well, I have a favor to ask of you. I have a client that's looking at moving to the neighborhood there and they wanted to know about area amenities like [schools, coffee houses, parks, nightlife, etc.]. What have you found so far in the area? [Engage, have fun, keep it light]. This is all great stuff! Thank you for being such a wonderful client. I'd love to work with you and your family again in the future. Is there anyone in your family that has talked about moving nearby? I can help answer any questions they have for the area. No pressure, of course. But if they're interested in learning more about our local housing market, I'm your family's agent!" What you've done here is check in after the sale (establishing that you're not just in it for the immediate commission), dialog with them on a topic they love (their home/neighborhood), ask them for their insights (everyone loves to feel heard) and finally go for the ask while also setting yourself up in their mind as "their family's agent" (making it bigger than just their houshold).
Day 60 Referrals: Rebranding Time
Ugh. 2 months out without any reciprocal contact with your homeowner client is no place to be. Hopefully, if your farming practices are in place (lead conversion funnels), then you're already starting up on your next long play campaign with them - reinjecting them into your sales pipeline (albeit at the very, very top once again). If this is true, then they're already receiving drip messaging from you and your brand. The thing to worry about here is the same thing that you're going to leverage... messaging.
Let's clarify, the thing you have to worry about here is conflicted messaging (your client receiving 1-25 messages a month via multiple channels such as texts, social media, online/printed adverts, calls, voicemail drops, letters, postcards, door-knocks and so on). If you're doing it right, they're getting the message already... 'you're here to move properties!' But, if you're also reaching out to them as a past client, you're seeking something clearly different. While the Call to Action is simple-enough for you, your homeowner is going to need that steak cut up for them. After all, they just moved in... why would they need a real estate pro (even if it's someone they plan on using down the road)?
This is the problem with branding campaigns. If you're 'there for their real estate needs!' and that's what everyone's come to know through all of your off-the-shelf market messaging, then when they don't need you (aka when they've already utilized your services), they're done bothering to look at anything else you send (until they need real estate services once again). This is why successful referral campaigns have clear, distinctive rebranding. We're not just talking about a bold title here... we're talking fresh designs and colors sent specifically to your past clients. Think of it as a VIP program.
If you're a special kind of resident (and if you've dealt with this agent in the past, you are), then you should see specialized content for 'those in the know' and those who are now family. In short, if they're dropping off your radar, throwing more of the flyers that everyone in the neighborhood is receiving is only going to reinforce in their mind that their work with you is done. instead, to re-spark that love, consider rebranding a small line of marketing materials and outreach templates focused solely on staying connected. Then... from that re-established relationship, you can begin to work in those referrals into the conversation. Here's how that might look...
- "Hey, I want to thank you once again for your trust. Selling a house is selling a home and it's no small undertaking. In order to better myself, I want to ask... did I help your family navigate those waters well?" Now, already, you're setting the tone that they're in the driver's seat. You're reminding them that you are there for their family and that once again, you are asking them for their input. Keep in mind that most people, when confronted with a salesy pitch, will go negative. So you really want to land the connection at the top of the conversation before you dive into asking them for their opinions on you (because from their point of view, the longer you chase after them, the less of an opinion they have for you)! Don't cower behind a phone... get out there and make it personal (most people will feel socially obligated to be nicer in person and that will help your brand and your business while re-establishing this bridge). Listen and really take in what they're saying. Nod and accept it. Take notes. Because if they are able to ignore the social pressure you're laying on them for that referral, then they probably do have strong feelings as to why they don't want to give it to you. And that operational insight... may be worth more for your business than the referral itself.
Day 180 Referrals: Who Are You Again?
Okay, now it's starting to look grim. At this point, they're straight-up dodging your calls. There's no way around it. If you've gotten 6 months in and haven't yet received any referrals, we've got bad news for ya... the problem that you're dealing with at this point is no longer about trust, it's about shame. So, we've all been there. You missed a call... and that turned into phone tag... and that turned into "a tough schedule" and now, it's no longer about scheduling... but something else. That unspoken reason they're no longer getting back to you? Yeah, that's guilt. The bad news is that it's a powerful motivator. Even worse, it compounds not only over time but in a way that can reinforce negative experiences with you (or even rewire positive memories with negative ones).
This is an interesting phenomenon, but we'll stay the point here and get to the good news. But how could there be any good news at this stage?!? Simple... it's your fault. Wait... what?!? Yeah... it's your fault. Jump on that grenade and watch your business thrive as a result. It's not easy for most of us to do, but there's an old saying that's fitting here... 'Do you want to be right, or do you want to be rich?' We tweaked it a little, but you get the gist. Here's how this could look in the real world... assume that they're dodging your calls. After all, that's what this article is all about. Let's see how a little Meu Culpa action can put names in your Rolodex and cash in your pocket...
- "[Their name], I am so sorry that we missed the last few calls. It sounds like it's been busy for both of us the last few months. Good problem to have, right? Anyway, I'd like to make it up to you. let me buy you a cup of coffee this weekend. I'm going to be in the neighborhood there and I'm anxious to find out how the move went!" Okay, a couple of things are at play here. All good stuff! First, you're acknowledging your connection (remember that by now, they probably have forgotten that you actually know them - hard to believe, but it could be this simple). Second, you're giving them an out... you're allowing them to not feel the guilt... you're accepting the lion's share of it off the bat. Already, you're disarming their defense mechanisms and making it easier for them to move forward with you. But beware, it's less a move forward in itself and more of a removal of an obstruction that is preventing you from moving the relationship forward. Third, you're re-establishing that you're no loser. Even though they're dodging your calls, you're still rocking it out in the region as the top producer, right? You've got business to do and you're busy too... but you're the cool kid buying them coffee and there's something to be said about missed opportunity if they still opt out. Finally, you're topping the call off with a solid ego boost. People love to talk - can you tell by how much your editor here is writing? ;) So buy them a cup of coffee and give them the mic. See if that'll get the ball rolling (in the right direction) again!
Referrals From The Grave
Yeah, this homeowner lead is beginning to take on that back-of-the-fridge freshness. But... there's still hope. You just have to put on some gloves and get to work. The only real way to revive a dead lead is what we mentioned earlier on... reinserting them into your inbound pipeline and targeting them with soft lead conversion for round two when they go to list their property down the road. But wait... you're not going to give up that easily, are you? If you're either in (or on the path to reside in) the 20% of doers out there (and reading this far into this is a good sign that you may be), then you've earned our respect and the right to a last-ditch tip at squeezing a couple of drops out of that opportunity. To accomplish this, you're going to need to really jump into the mindset of your new homeowner. As mentioned, their mindset is already deep into their new life, new routines, and new responsibilities.
You're going to have to do the work for them and merely bank on their permission to move forward. If calls have long-since gone unanswered and voicemails long-since been replied to... if knocking on their door (even with a gift basket) just isn't appropriate anymore, you're going to have to really get creative. Because at this stage... they simply don't care. =\ What you have to lose at this stage is significant, because you're now in a stage where reaching for a win, could mean the loss of future business. You're now in the territory where you could actually sour the relationship by digging for future business, but that's what success takes, right? After all... business is and always has been risk. So, if you've considered the risk and you're willing to push forward in order to gain new referral seller leads, then here are some creative outreach ideas that might get the conversation around referrals flowing again...
- "[Their name], I've got a friend that's expanding their pool-cleaning [or whatever] business and they've given my team a few coupons for a free cleaning. I remembered your new pool and thought you might be interested! If you know of anyone else that has a pool in the neighborhood there, I can give a few out to them as well. Especially if they're looking to list. Your neighborhood is all the rage right now and listed properties with maintained pool service are driving our region's housing prices! Let me know and I can stop these by!" This one's tricky, so let's break it down below...
Cash. It's a gamble on so many levels, but it works. Here's how this works... you offer them the thing of value up front, then they may or may not offer you a name or three if they feel you're still in their good graces. Here's the problem with this. The moral (and legal) line is right there next to your toe. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you not cross that line (you know where it is). Certainly, there's nothing wrong with providing value to your business contacts. And there's nothing wrong with asking for what you need. After all, it's a village and we all rely on one another in this community. If you don't A.S.K., you don't G.E.T. But, as a real estate professional (and human being that cares about your community), you mustn't allow this exchange to even encroach into the area of buying a lead from your homeowner. Some agents out there will attest to you that it works, but we'd argue that it does in principle, but rarely in practice. Why? Because the business you might gain is offset by the business your brand is losing in the sour taste of it for your clients. So why mention it?
Well, again, it's a fine line and it might just be the thing that works for certain types of clients. if you're truly offering something of value without consideration of any return, but then are truly asking them for a genuine referral based on the level of service you earned months back, then really, this entire scenario is about community-building. The key here is intent. If you're even thinking that you're going to go out and buy referrals with cash or other things of value (especially cash as some sort of 'reward' for a name), then that'll come through and you're going to pay the price. The worst part won't be when they slam the door in your face... no, the worse part is when they smile and accept your thing of value, don't say anything to your face, talk poorly about your character to their family behind the door and then talk poorly about you in the community. Yeah, this stuff stings. This is why you have to be careful, thoughtful and respectful when it comes to this-for-that exchanges where trust is the commodity you're seeking.
We Can Help
So, the last few got pretty dark, eh? This is why it's so important to set up your wins earlier on in the process. If your only hope of winning the game is a constant barrage of three-point buzzer shots, you're not doing the long-game correctly. It's all about setting up your shots. Pass-pass-shoot. Referral leads aren't any different. Of course, referrals aren't the only way to lock down real estate listing leads. And while there are several real estate lead generation companies offering up their own version of lead generation for real estate agents like yourself, offrs is the leading real estate lead generator. So whether you're looking to put real estate lead generation websites to work for you to generate solid real estate leads, or you're just looking to receive an inbox full of real estate seller leads each week, offrs has your back. offrs innovated real estate lead generation with the introduction of our proprietary real estate predictive analytics solution and for over 5 years, we've dominated the real estate listing leads market.
When it comes to lead generation real estate professionals need to know that their inbound sales pipeline is continuously flowing with quality, vetted listing leads. Real estate lead generation services like offrs drive our industry and despite the dry decades prior, we now have a proven technology that can not only boost your business and help you survive the coming trials ahead, we can help you dominate your region and become the top producer for years to come. We were built for this... we were designed for you and your RE business. The only question is... are you ready for this? If so, the next step is to connect with one of our territory specialists today and learn what offrs lead generation for real estate can do for you! It's time.
offrs collects and provides topical insights, statistics, reviews, humor and best practices gathered from real estate professionals and consumer homeowner industry peers. If you're a broker or agent interested in learning more about seller lead generation or home seller marketing services and solutions, visit www.offrs.com or continue to browse our growing collection of industry articles at www.offrs.net.