For most North Carolina real estate brokers, lead generation makes up a huge part of each day. Many swear by cold calling or door knocking or paid advertising to ensure a steady flow of new clients and new listings. However, these cold leads take more time to convince and convert, and some of them never pan out at all. Instead of spending hours on the phone, use these tips for growing your referral network, and you’ll find warm leads beating a path to your door.
1. Set expectations for the process
One of the ways you can set yourself apart from other brokers is by communicating clearly and effectively, especially with inexperienced or first-time homebuyers or sellers. Describing what to expect throughout the process in a brochure, listing or buyer presentation, or in a series of emails or videos, can demystify the process and help real estate clients feel more secure in the decisions they make.
2. Practice total honesty
Whether it’s with clients, vendors, or other brokers and brokers-in-charge in your market, misrepresenting the facts will always come back to bite you and damage your reputation. By telling the truth—even when it’s uncomfortable or unprofitable—you’ll develop a reputation as the most trustworthy professional in your local market.
3. Prioritize clients above commission
Treat the client who’s looking for a small starter home the same way you’d treat a luxury homebuyer. Help clients make decisions based on what’s best for them, not based on how big your commission will be. As a real estate broker, you have a fiduciary duty to put your clients’ interests before your own. Take that duty seriously.
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4. Remember special occasions or milestones
At some point, as you’re working with clients, learn their birth dates, anniversary, and their children’s years in school. Enter this information in your CRM (customer relationship management) and make sure you revisit it often. Drop them a card for their birthday or anniversary. Congratulate the children when they graduate from school. By becoming part of these special days, you can become their real estate broker for life—and the one they recommend to their friends and neighbors.
5. Engage with your current referral network on social media
By connecting with former clients as a friend or follower on social media, you can stay abreast of what’s going on in their lives. A new baby or a promotion may mean it’s time to reach out about moving to a larger home. Retirement may mean it’s time to downsize. A child’s college graduation may mean they need to start thinking about a first home purchase. Take an interest in the things they share, and you can become an important part of their lives.
6. Host client appreciation events
Happy hour at a local neighborhood pub, a springtime brunch, or a summer barbecue—all of these are simple and affordable opportunities to invite some valued clients to connect more deeply. Is there a huge blockbuster film coming out? Buy a block of tickets and offer to treat your favorite families to an opening night screening.
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7. Show you care
Sincerity is the most important part of creating a meaningful client relationship. You can host events and send cards, but if you don’t do it with a sense of gratitude and joy, it will feel like an empty gesture. Look for opportunities to offer true service or kindness; surprise and delight your clients. Treat them how you’d want to be treated and you can’t go wrong.
8. Contribute to your community
Find ways to serve your community and the people you share it with. Volunteer at the local school. Host a community cleanup day. Donate food or toys to a charitable drive. When you show passion for your market and its people, that energy draws in clients who see you as an integral member of the neighborhood. Those clients then introduce you to their friends, and your referral network grows from there.
9. Maintain your online presence
Don’t forget to take photos and videos while you are out and about in the community. Interview a local business owner and post the video or write a blog about it. Take a photo of your lunch at that new restaurant and post it to Instagram. Check-in on Facebook when you arrive at a local event. Bring attention to a local charity when you promote it on your social media platforms. Consistently update your online and social media platforms so people new to the area can find you and you stay top of mind with your current referral network.
10. Take pride in your work
Never think of your outreach as “bothering” people or trying to sell them something. You are a service provider—be confident in that role, taking pride in your work and the ways that you help your clients each day. The more you believe in the value you bring, the more others will believe as well. Clients will become your biggest cheerleaders when they see how much you’ve helped them.
When you treat people right and put your heart into your work, you become a referral magnet and naturally grow your referral network. Instead of trying to convince cold leads to give you a chance, create a compelling presence in your community and with past clients. That will make you the most sought-after broker in your market.