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Why Realtors® Avoid Their Sphere of Influence

Why Realtors Avoid Their Sphere

Do you work harder at marketing to strangers than to your own friends and family? You’re certainly not alone. However, your sphere of influence can be a tremendous source of referrals and clients. By sharing your services with those who already know, like, and trust you, you can gain new business faster.

Here are some common concerns Realtors® have with their sphere of influence, and how you can overcome them.

The “No” Hurts More

No one likes being told “No,” when they offer their services. When that “No,” comes from someone you know and love, it’s even worse. We don’t offer our services to those we’re closest to because we don’t want to feel rejected by them. Being rejected by a stranger is easier to brush off.

To overcome this, change the story you tell yourself about what “No,” means. Many of us use this story:

“If she tells me no it means that she doesn’t really believe in me as a Realtor®. She doesn’t support my business. She probably thinks I’m no good at it and that I’m destined to fail.”

Try shifting your perspective to think of it this way:

“If she tells me no it simply means she’s not buying right now or I’m not the right fit for her. That’s it.”

Not everyone wants to work with their best buddy in a major business deal. Many people know more than one Realtor® and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. The bottom line is, you can change the story you tell so that a “No,” isn’t personal, no matter who it comes from.

And of course, just because someone tells you “No,” doesn’t mean they won’t refer someone else to work with you!

You Don’t Want to Be a Pest

Many Realtors® are afraid that their friends and family will get tired of their enthusiasm for real estate. You don’t want people to avoid your calls, ignore your texts, or stop spending time with you. While I can see that happening if you only discuss business, it’s not likely if you simply discuss business along with other parts of your life.

Remember why you got into the real estate business. You want to help people buy and sell homes, and that means talking about your work and letting them know you’re available! Your friends and family should be able to reap the benefits of knowing someone in the real estate business, so don’t be shy!

Of course, if you’re desperate for business or pushy, you’ll come off badly no matter who you’re talking to. Don’t be needy or aggressive. Just talk about business as one part of your life!

You Forget About Referrals

Too many people see their sphere of influence only in terms of “possible clients.” It’s easy to forget that one of the biggest services someone can do is refer you to a person who wants to buy or sell a home.

Your friends and family members are not likely to be moving every year. However, they almost certainly know at least one person a year who is looking to buy or sell a home. Encourage your sphere of influence to share your information with someone who is thinking about moving. By making it low-pressure and easy for them to refer, you’ll gain a lot of valuable clients.

Take Care of Your Sphere

Your sphere of influence means a lot to you, and you mean a lot to them. Send them mailings and freebies occasionally, and keep up with being a good friend or family member. Show them you care, show them your passion and expertise for real estate, and be genuine. Your professionalism and thoughtfulness will shine through, and you’ll gain referrals and business as a result!

Great Pop-By Ideas for Summer

Summer Pop By Ideas

The weather is warm, the flowers are blooming, and people are outside. It’s the perfect time to prospect door to door! When you meet people at their home in their neighborhood, you have an opportunity to connect with them more deeply than you do on social media and email. There’s just nothing that replaces face-to-face interaction.

To encourage you all to reach out by doing pop-bys, I thought I would share a roundup of my favorite pop-by ideas for summer. Grab one of these or let the ideas spur your own creativity. As long as you get out there and meet folks, you win!

Summer BBQ Pop-By

This is one of my favorite ideas. You can buy a small BBQ set that includes that includes a spatula and a grilling fork for just a few dollars. Combine that with a free BBQ sauce recipe and your business card, and you’ve got the perfect way to start a conversation!

Just a quick tip in case it comes up – if you run into someone who does not eat meat, I’ve heard that romaine lettuce is incredible on the grill. As long as you hand out a BBQ sauce recipe, it can be used on anything, vegetables or meat! Don’t let anyone turn you down.

Get the Scoop!

Another extremely fun pop-by idea involves passing out ice cream scoops with a note attached. The note can say, “Want the scoop on the real estate market?” You can use a business card label to affix your business information to the back.

If you wanted to take it a step further, you can even hand out a printed real estate market report with the gift. Ice cream scoops are always handy, and they won’t get thrown away. It will give the homeowner a smile and give you a reason to talk about a bit more than the weather.

Stay Cool This Summer!

If there’s one thing that’s perfect for an area with kids, it’s popsicles. Even better are ice pops, the kind that you buy liquid in the package and then you freeze them. You can hand these out without fear that they will melt on you. With a tag that says, “Stay cool the summer!” and your business card label on the back, it’s a great way to connect.

You can buy enormous boxes of ice pops at warehouse stores or even Walmart, and once you divided it up with 2 – 4 pops per house, it’s a very affordable pop-by gift! If your farm area has a lot of families, this could be the perfect summer pop-by.

Just Planting a Seed!

This pop-by gift is a fun and playful way of reminding folks to send referrals your way. You can get a small garden tool or two or some inexpensive gardening gloves. Combine this with a seed packet of flowers that are easy to care for and a small note. The note can say, “Just planting a seed… let me know if you or your friends need help with real estate this summer!” On the back, place a business card label.

This pop-by idea does not need to be expensive or complex. You could even just do a packet of seeds with the note. However, the more unique and fun you make it, the more memorable you will be. And that fun memory will help them think of you when someone needs to buy or sell a home!

As you can see, pop-bys can be simple and lighthearted. We all get nervous meeting people in an area we don’t know very well, but if you do pop-bys every season you will get to know the residents in the neighborhood. After a couple of seasons, they might be excited to see you and invite you in!

If you’re ready to move forward with a fun pop-by idea, don’t forget to get some business card labels. These stickers make it easy to include your business card with any note that you hand out. Visit our site to choose yours today!

The Five People Every Realtor® Needs to Know

Five People Realtors Need to Know

People never find business success alone, especially in real estate. Knowing the right people and being able to use a close network to help your clients is vital.

How do you know who you need to know? Professionals in a variety of fields help your clients finalize a deal. Whether it’s a mortgage banker or a home inspector, having people you can refer clients to time after time gives you many benefits.

The Benefits of a Close Referral Network

Why bother to have a go-to mortgage professional or inspector? Why not just let the client find their own?

First of all, you’ll save a lot of time. Home buyers, especially first-timers, don’t even know where to start when looking for professionals. When you give them a referral, even if they don’t use it, it will give them a starting point.

Secondly, you can help your clients find someone who is qualified. It’s easy to be fast-talked into a bad deal when you’re already overwhelmed with buying a home. It’s also easy to end up with someone who does a poor job and causes the deal to fall through.

Finally, it helps you build good relationships with other professionals. You can build a lot of goodwill by sending consistent clients to someone, and perhaps when they need a Realtor® or know someone who does they will think of you.

The Five People You Should Have on Your Side

So who does every Realtor® need to know? Most of these are common sense when you think about it, but the truth is that most real estate agents don’t take the time. Build a relationship with these five folks and you’ll be able to streamline the buying process for your clients.

Mortgage Broker

This is the most obvious, and many real estate agents do have a mortgage professional they refer clients to. This can help clients gain pre-approval and be an option for them when closing a deal. Find someone who is good at working with the types of clients you tend to have, and closes a lot of deals.

Home Inspector

Having a Realtor® who knows a well-qualified home inspector is a great benefit for buyers. Home inspections are nerve-wracking and home buyers are always nervous something will be missed and they will be left with a lemon. Having a self-assured, detail-oriented inspector you can recommend will help your buyers be confident in their purchase and in you.

Insurance Agent

Having home insurance is a key factor in closing any real estate deal. Many customers will have an existing insurance company to use, but you can also refer them to a skilled independent agent you know as well. Comparing prices never hurts, and if a buyer is completely lost your referral can give them a starting point.

An Escrow Officer

Knowing someone who has closed a lot of escrows and has seen a variety of scenarios will be invaluable to your real estate business. Using an inexperienced or unskilled escrow officer can completely scuttle a deal, which costs you and your clients money. Find out who is excellent at escrow in your area and make sure they are a part of your team.

A General Contractor

Many buyers approach a home wanting to make changes and updates. Other find specific things that need repaired or changed once they move in. Even after a deal is closed you may get questions about who to call for specific repairs. Having a general contractor you know that has a great reputation and performs high-quality work will make you look great to your clients.

Who Do YOU Know?

In real estate, as in many other kinds of business, it’s not always about what you know. It’s just as much about who you know. With these five professionals as part of your referral network, you’ll save time and hassle in almost every buying deal. It’s worth the time and effort to build these relationships, so start today!

Are you ready to ramp up your spring and summer marketing efforts? We’ve got a variety of ways to reach out to new buyers, including buyers postcards, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), and more. Contact us for help today!

3 Ways to Build Relationships with Client Appreciation

Client Appreciation

Realtors® know that their relationship with clients doesn’t end when the deal is closed. It’s vital to build and maintain relationships with clients so that you can get consistent referrals and gain online reviews to build your business.

There are a lot of ways to show appreciation to your clients. Here are just a few ideas – and you can start soon since the holidays are almost here!

Holiday Postcards

In today’s world of Facebook and social media, sending an actual card in the mail is almost unheard of. As a result, you’ll really stand out when you do it!

Sending a holiday postcard doesn’t have to take a lot of time. You can simply have them printed, “I loved working with you this year! Please let me know if you have any friends who have talked about moving lately who might need a real estate agent. Have a great holiday!”

Of course, you should customize your message based on your own personality and the experience you had with the client. But the point is, you should send a physical card in the mail during the holiday season.

It’s a great way to stay in touch and keep your name top-of-mind – and to ask for a referral!

One Year Anniversary Thank You

Realtors® often send a note card thanking a client for their business right after a transaction ends. However, it can be fun to follow up again on the one-year anniversary!

Sending a thank you card with a quick, “Happy one year anniversary of closing on your home!” message can mean a lot to a former client. You can ask for a referral or online review in the card if you like.

You can even extend this practice to celebrate 5 year anniversaries as well. It’s a great way to send an unexpected but very timely message!

When you send a thank you card on key anniversaries, you’ll be reminding the client how great it was to work with you and proving that you have great customer service. You’ll be showing up as the kind of Realtor® they should work with again!

Customer Appreciation Events

Having an annual party for your current network, along with past clients, can be a great way to show yourself in a professional light.

Are you tired of your friends thinking of you as “that guy who loves the Philadelphia Eagles” when you want them to think of you as a real estate agent? Inviting them to an appreciation event can change their perspective.

If you really want to do a big party, allow your lender, closing attorney, and other strategic partners to co-sponsor the event. Allow them to invite their networks as well, and you’ll have a huge pool of potential clients having a great time.

Here are some different types of client appreciation events you can do:

  • Rent a nightclub before they open for the evening if you have a large crowd
  • Holiday events like “Pictures with Santa” or “Pictures with the Easter Bunny” – people can skip the lines at the mall!
  • Host a neighborhood BBQ at your home or office
  • Raise money at a combination fundraiser/client event

Remember, don’t just invite clients. Invite friends, family, anyone you want to make a great impression on and who could give you business or a referral.

Everyone moves sometime!

If you’re interested in setting up a holiday event or sending holiday postcards, you should start now! We have dozens of templates ready to go that can be quickly customized. We can even mail the postcards for you! Contact us right away for details.

What do you do to show appreciation to clients and build relationships? Share in the comments!

How to Get Consistent Referrals Month After Month

Consistent Referrals Month After Month

Now that the busy summer buying season is slowing down, focusing on getting new leads is more important than ever. It’s no secret that referrals are one of the most important sources of new leads for Realtors®. What may be more unclear is how to get referrals consistently, month after month.

The vast majority of consumers are willing to give a referral right after a transaction. How you ask, and how you follow up on your request, will make all the difference in actually getting those referrals.

Have Value Discussions

Value discussions are times when you sit down with your client and check in to ensure that they are getting the value they are looking for from working with you.

Many times as Realtors® we assume that if we do our real estate job, the customer will automatically be happy. But unfortunately, we’re missing the fact that each customer has different expectations.

Instead, sit down periodically with your clients and ask them if they have any concerns, and then ask them what they love about working with you. When you get them thinking about you in this way, they are much more likely to share that with others.

As an example, a manager asked Louisiana financial advisors to schedule 12 value discussions with clients in a six-week timeframe. The 14 advisors who did so generated 132 referrals from those discussions alone. It’s powerful!

Make Asking for Referrals Part of the System

You almost certainly have certain processes you follow in your business. For instance, you might gather certain information about someone before showing them a property or prequalify a new buyer before showing them a dozen homes.

You can set up referral requests to be part of your system as well. Make it part of the checklist – after closing, contact the customer to ask for a referral.

When you make it part of a system, you’ll be much more likely to do it 100% of the time. And that means you won’t leave money on the table by forgetting to ask.

Ask Multiple Ways

People are busy. They don’t always see a specific request, and even if they see it they don’t always respond the first time.

When you ask in multiple ways, you make it easier for the customer to say “yes” and actually refer someone to you. So, send an email, and then follow up with a postcard. Finally, when you deliver your closing gift, ask in person.

By using three different methods to ask, you’ll be not only reminding them of your request, you’ll be giving them three different opportunities to answer in different ways. No matter how they are comfortable communicating, you’ll hit it!

Give a Specific Context

Too many Realtors® ask very generically, “Do you know anyone who needs a Realtor®?” Many times, even if they do, your customers will say no.

Why?

Because it’s out of context! You’re asking them to think of the whole universe of people they know and figure out who might need a Realtor®. Instead, make it very easy:

“Do you know anyone that you work with who has talked about moving lately?”

Now, they have context. They can think about folks they talk to at work and think about who has discussed moving. You’re much, much more likely to get a yes.

Obviously, you can choose the context that makes the most sense to your client. If they don’t work, ask about their parenting group, or church, or whatever type of community they are most active in.

Getting consistent referrals month after month isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of talking about the value you provide, asking for referrals 100% of the time, and using different methods of communication. Finally, ensure you give your clients a specific context.

Get started today – order postcards to ask for referrals. Add that to email and in-person requests, and your referrals will be consistent and profitable!

How to Remind Friends and Family You’re a Realtor® During the Holidays

Realtor During the Holidays

The holidays are such a crazy time for Realtors®. Business is slower, and social activities are WAY up, which means it should be a perfect time for prospecting and marketing. But you feel so weird saying, “Hey, do you want to buy a house? And can you pass the gravy?” So you don’t – you just tell yourself you’ll ramp up marketing in the new year, and sit quietly as your aunt tells the story about the raccoon… for the fifth time.

Unfortunately, this is not a good approach. When you skip networking during one of the most social, open-hearted times of the year, you’re going to be at a disadvantage when the new year arrives. Here are four ways to make sure your friends and family remember you’re a Realtor® – without being a jerk!

Send a Holiday Letter

Holiday letters are a great way to let your friends and family know how your year went and how specific members of your family are doing. They are longer than holiday cards, and allow you to go into more specifics about areas of your life including work and accomplishments. The big thing to avoid in a holiday letter is over-bragging. However, it’s great place to mention your real estate business, alongside talking about your spouse, children, pets, and more.

Join Conversations About Home Ownership

When you’re in a group of relatives or friends, it’s likely that the topic of home ownership or repair will come up. Someone will talk about needing a new water heater, or planning to put a new roof on next summer. Give helpful advice, and consider referring contractors you know and trust. When you are a trusted resource in these conversations, it will boost your friends’ and family’s respect for you. In addition, it’s the perfect time to mention that you know these things because you are a Realtor®.

Share Funny Stories About the Profession

Sitting around over pie and coffee can be a great time to get people laughing with a funny story about one of your experiences as a Realtor®. Not only is it a gentle way to remind people about your profession, making people laugh helps them enjoy being around you and remember you fondly. And they may end up sharing your story with their own friends and family, which can help spread the word about you and what you do!

Directly Ask for Referrals in Candid Conversation

There will be times when you’re in a very candid or serious conversation with someone, and you can mention that the holidays are a slow time for real estate. You can talk about your plans to ramp up business in the new year, but don’t forget to also ask directly for referrals. Your friends and family probably know someone who is planning to move next year, so ask them to put a good word in for you!

Sharing your profession over the holidays doesn’t have to mean being a jerk. Feel free to work it into a holiday letter, mention it in appropriate conversations, and directly ask for referrals from those you trust most. Then, you can enjoy your holiday cookies and coffee knowing that you’ve helped set yourself up for success in the new year!

How do you network with friends and family during the holidays? Share in the comments!