According to the NAR 2017 Member Profile, 18 percent of Realtors® earn their business from real estate referrals by way of satisfied past clients and customers, and 13 percent from repeat clients. Not other agents. Not family members or friends. Not people who charge a referral fee. Not community business owners who agree to hawk your services in exchange for your referral. Hands down, the best referrals come from those you served well—and who are happy to tell others.
You shouldn’t abandon efforts to gain referrals from anyone, be they friend, family, or colleague. But if you want your referral business to grow, focus on taking your customer service skills to the next level.
Be a genuinely nice person (and agent)
We’re not talking about slapping on a fake smile and speaking in an over-the-top cheerleader voice. That just comes across as fake, and people don’t trust a fake person. What we’re talking about is being friendly, sincere, and positive. It’s about being polite and respectful of clients’ time. Most important, it’s about genuinely wanting to help your clients.
Listen—really listen—to what your real estate clients are saying
Perhaps you’ve heard the quote by management guru Stephen R. Covey: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” And boy is that true. It’s one of the leading causes of communication breakdown.
It’s also one of the biggest complaints clients have about real estate agents. You know so much, but you don’t know how to make the client in front of you happy if you don’t listen. Offer clients plenty of time to share their wants and needs, even if you think you know better. Fight the urge to interrupt and let them fully finish before you speak. Ask questions—and genuinely listen to the answers. Especially in those early client meetings, you should be doing much more listening than talking.
Hand-in-hand with listening, communication is the single most important skill you can build. You must keep the lines of communication open and share complex information clearly. You will be sending emails and texts, so your writing skills must be up to par. More than that, you must be able to share bad news with confused or emotional clients in an empathetic, caring way.
It’s critical that you are responsive and keep clients informed with frequent updates. That’s how you build their trust and confidence in you.
Show your appreciation to get real estate referrals
Your clients didn’t have to choose you. Make sure at every opportunity you thank them for choosing you as your agent, for being patient, for keeping an open mind, for staying positive, and more.
Clients are your lifeblood. Make sure they know it.
Create “wow” moments
Sending clients a house-warming basket, an anniversary or birthday card, a video congratulations message or some other gesture takes little time and money but can have a powerful impact on customers.
It’s those gestures that people remember, tell other people about and share on social media. Find ways to make your clients feel special. Doing so will be well worth your time.
What little (or big) things do you do to provide exceptional customer service to your clients?
Accelerate your learning
Learn more ways to wow your clients with exceptional customer service with McKissock’s CE PLUS Membership. With the membership, you’ll have access to hundreds of videos, webinars and job aids to help you grow your real estate business.