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February 10, 2012

Mastermind for February 7th, Asking Clients for Referral Business

by mark mclean

Ok so I’m a little late with my Mastermind post this week. Somehow, work just gets in the way and it seems that the unseasonably mild winter has kick started the spring market straight into high gear. Are you feeling it too? Well, if you didn’t make to Mastermind, you missed a great discussion on how to ask past clients to refer you to their friends and associates.

So, here is a scenario; you have just sold a house to a new client. You did a great job negotiating on their behalf and they thanked you for working so hard. When the client moves into his new home you’ll hopefully deliver a nice housewarming present and keep in touch over the next few years. For a lot of agents, the relationship ends there. But what if your client is a well-connected businessman and you know that you could make a pretty good living representing just a fraction of the people in his social and business circles? Would you be motivated to ask him to refer you to some of his friends? We recognized that sometimes we feel uncomfortable asking, so our discussion in Mastermind revolved around just how you would ask for that business. Here are some of the suggestions ;

  1. After the sale, send a little note of thanks and politely ask to recommend you to anyone who might be moving.
  2. Get a meeting and ask for them to give you the names of 3 people they think might be considering a move.
  3. Ask them to write a referral letter and then post it on LinkedIn, your website or blog.

The reality is that a positive client experience provides you with a captive and appreciative audience so don’t be afraid to capitalize on those good feelings. If you ask for referral business early enough, chances are you will get it. It is part of the human condition to want to repay someone for good service. Remember one of the golden rules; If you don’t ask…you don’t get. Recognize too that the longer you wait, the less likely the referral will be meaningful. Good relationships with your past clients will allow you to reap rewards for years after that initial sale and a good client management software will make your job much easier. Of course, repeat business and referrals don’t happen overnight but it is important to develop habits that will make staying in touch part of your daily routine.

Here is an interesting fact; Did you know that the majority of sellers don’t use the same agent they bought with? Do the math. How much time and money do you spend developing one client? Now think about what it costs to stay in touch with past clients for the next 5 years.

Naturally I welcome your thoughts. Have a great week.

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