One of the best ways a real estate agent can earn business comes from previous customers. Word-of-mouth referrals are usually trusted and often acted upon. A recent Nielson survey showed that almost 90% of consumers trust referrals from friends and family over other sources. Here are some things you can do to increase the odds of word-of-mouth referrals from your customers.
Take a Lesson From an Expert
Philip Kotler is a well-known professor of International Marketing at Northwestern University. He is a distinguished author and speaker. His textbook, "Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, and Control," has been at the forefront of business education for more than 50 years.
Mr. Kotler's advice on advertising includes this famous quote, "The best advertising is done by satisfied customers." In other words, you should focus on customer satisfaction, and many of your marketing and sales issues will take care of themselves.
Free publicity and word of mouth is probably the best and cheapest form of advertising. Learn to use it to you advantage.
The Value of Customer Satisfaction
Focusing on satisfied customers may be one of the most overlooked and underrated aspects of running a successful business. Here is a fictional example of how putting customers first can help your business.
Fred and Martha lived in a typical American City and occasionally went out to eat. They discovered one particular restaurant, Sally's Place, where the food was good, and the service was even better. Whenever they had a problem, the waitress or manager solved them, and the couple always felt like they were the most important part of the business.
Fred was a trusted local real estate agent, and when he took clients to lunch, what restaurant do you think he chose? When anyone asked Martha or Fred about restaurants, Sally's Place was always recommended. Sally's placed a lot of importance on satisfied customers, and it paid off with many word-of-mouth referrals. And in return, Sally’s Place referred Fred’s services to many of their clients. There is a lesson to be learned from this story.
The Importance of Quality
Without providing exceptional services, it is nearly impossible to earn personal referrals. With real estate, you need to offer top-notch services. Personal service separates you from the other agents, so you should deliver the best services possible at all times to get referrals.
Components of Good Service
Here are some of the things which make up exceptional real estate services.
- Focus on rapport
- A personal interest in your client's family and interests
Going the Extra Mile
To be remembered (and referred to others), you need to deliver more than expected. For instance, some agents offer home staging or cleaning services to clients who list their property with them. For potential homebuyers, you can offer to provide transportation to and from viewings. If the clients have small children, bring a relative or friend to help look after the kids.
After you close the sale, make an effort to bring a housewarming gift and offer assistance with getting settled into the neighborhood. Many agents feel their job is done once the transaction has closed. This kind of attention separates you from the competition. Many agents do not realize how necessary follow-ups are.
Summing it Up
Satisfied customers are your best source for referrals in the real estate business. Make customer satisfaction your top priority. Offer the best services and treat others the way you like to be treated. To stand out from the rest, provide more, and always be willing to go the extra mile.