Being a past director for our local BNI region I’ve had many, many conversations about the art and science of referrals. I’ve read all the BNI books, 7 Second Marketing, Business by Referral, etc. I read an extremely valuable book a while back, The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg (here’s a link to a review I did ) that clearly and concisely explains the art and science of referrals. When I ran my own personal computer store after being in business for 2 years I had an incredible two-thirds of my sales coming from referrals.
The other day I was reading an article on a major real estate news site and the topics was getting more referrals, and I thought to myself, this guy doesn’t get it, and to boot he is a coach. He basically was explaining with an example that the next time you’re in a restaurant you ask the waitress if she knows of anyone in the market looking to buy a home. I thought to myself, Please… That’s not referral marketing, that’s selling, and quite frankly cheezy at best. Reminds me of the 3 foot rule in network marketing. You know the one where the Amway teachers tell you pitch your idea to anyone who gets within 3 feet of you.
So I thought, ok, the idea of the article was to make sure that everyone you meet should know that you are a REALTOR®. How do you do that, without being pushy?
How do people know you’re a REALTOR®?
I asked my wife a question. “Honey, how many people do you know at church whom you have no idea what they do for a living?” She thought for a few moments and answered, “a lot.”
I told her then if I was a REALTOR®, “why wouldn’t I wear that pin they have?” After all, if I’m going to church on Sundays and bible classes once a week, and pot lucks every few months, I meet and get to know a lot of people, why wouldn’t I want them to know that I’m a REALTOR®. I use the church example, but you can easily extract that scenario to dozens and dozens of examples that naturally occur to you each week.
Some people are going to immediately identify with the pin and associate you with being a REALTOR®. They’ll put that information in the need to know recesses of their mind. They may or may not acknowledge you wearing the pin. It doesn’t matter because if they know, like and trust you, the next time they are in the market, or talking to one of their friends and the subject of buying or selling a home comes up, you have a chance of being referred. That’s the true essence of a referral.
If they don’t know what the pin represents, they may ask. At that point you have an opportunity to give them your 7 Second Marketing pitch. Just don’t respond by selling “I’m a REALTOR®”, you can come up with something better than that, and if you can’t read 7 Second Marketing to get the creative juices flowing. You should also at that point dig into your pocket and give them a couple of business cards. Tell them something non-threatening like; “Joe, the next time you happen to be talking to one of your friends and the subject comes up about them buying or selling a home, I’d appreciate it if you could give them one of my cards.” It’s non-threatening, and not pushy, and yet it gives you the opportunity to add one more possible referral source to your business. Who knows, that acquaintance you see all the time might just keep a card for themselves.
Still skeptical, here’s an experiment for you.
Put your pin on and wear it everywhere for 3 weeks. That act alone will get you into the habit of wearing it but I think you’ll be surprised by the results. I think what you’ll find is that one day you’ll be in the checkout line at the grocery store and the person behind you will say, “I noticed you’re a REALTOR®, I was thinking about selling my home,” or you’ll be taking your kid to a soccer game and one of the moms will notice it, and ask you how much a home would cost with 4 bedrooms because she has another one due to arrive in a few months. I think you get the idea.
If the pin doesn’t work, try your company logo on your polo, or your denim shirts, earrings, tote bags, whatever it takes. For some ideas take a look at the NAR Store.
Oh, and let me put a shameless plug in here. Chances are your one of our clients if your reading this… don’t forget to tell them that you have all the homes in your marketplace available for them to view on your idx enabled real estate website.
It’s the simple, basic things that can make all the difference in the world and besides who wants to be a SECRET AGENT