Idaho Real Estate >> ID Real Estate Specialist

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Are you crazy? Don't ask for the referral!

Yes, many of us have attended seminars and had coaches that tell us to always ask for a referral when talking to past, current and future clients/customers.

As Realtors, we recognize the need to touch clients via phone, yet making daily calls often provides little immediate gratification. So, we find reason after reason not to make regular calling a bigger focus. But, many of us have also come to know that when we make those consistent calls, we create customer loyalty and a steady stream of business for years to come.

I have written posts in the past where I have indicated the need to make phone calls and get out business cards in the hands of the consumer.  I cannot emphasize enough the power of the phone call when building a strong repeat clientele. 

I have also gone against every real estate trainer by "Never asking for referrals".  You might say "Are you crazy"?  My response is that you will never hear a voice change any quicker than by calling someone and asking about their family, health, etc. and then ask them for a referral.  I NEVER ASK FOR REFERRALS and yet my cup over floweth with referral business.  Think about if a good friend called you and just touched your heart with his/her heartfelt concern for you and at the end of the conversation asked to borrow something or for some other favor.  Any of us would have our spirits lifted with the concern of our friend only to be deflated when we discover our friend had a motive.  Our clients are no different.  They have feelings like anyone else and the same things that motivate or turn us off are the same things that motivate or turn off our clients.

Here are some steps to consider in creating your own calling systems:

1. When to call? Opinions differ on this one. Some say it is better to call early or late when there is a better chance of reaching people at home. Others tell you that any time is good as long as it fits your schedule. I prefer the mornings because I can use my afternoon to take care of business as the day develops. There is nothing people hate more than to be bothered at dinner time and time with the family.

2. Is it OK to leave a message? When starting out, it may be preferable to leave messages, as they offer the opportunity to practice scripts. However, it is better to speak with people directly so that you can foster the relationship, learn more about them and perhaps offer them some helpful information or service.

3. Who do I call? Start with past customers and your sphere of influence. Friends and family make great practice calls. Many Realtors will add FSBOs, Expireds and even orphan buyers but I have never done that. If you are having a bad day and simply cannot make calls, go to the mall and meet people or write some personalized cards, enclosing your business card and/or other added value.  I have what I call my "Cheer Leaders" that are people that want to refer me business and always ask me for more business. I call these past clients on a very regular schedule and constantly send them packets of my business cards about every 6 months.

4. What do I talk about? For starters, use the F.O.R.D system (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams). Offer tips on rates or refinancing. Talk about benefits you may be able to provide, such as a handyman or home cleaning service with which you have negotiated a favorable rate. I have handymen and other service people I have used for years and I refer these to clients on a regular basis.  I have past clients that call me years after I have sold them their home to ask me for a name of a handyman. Become the expert people turn to and watch your business explode.

Building relationships is where it has always been and always will be.

 

 Posted By: George Tallabas - Boise Idaho Real Estate Agent - Associate Broker 
with RE/MAX Advantage, Canyon Counties #1 Brokerage in sales and listings
specializing in Boise Idaho Real Estate and Southwest Idaho Real Estate.

 

Native Idahoan and Boise Idaho Real Estate specialist serving Boise, Meridian Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell and the surrounding Treasure valley area of southwest Idaho. Specializing in residential, investment, land and commercial real estate. Search thousands of MLS listings at Boise Homes for sale and learn all about Idaho by visiting Search Idaho Homes

Comment balloon 43 commentsGeorge Tallabas • February 27 2008 12:01PM

Comments

The phone is our life blood.  Email is great for a good back-and-forth and to keep important issues in writing.  But, I try to touch base with my clients and referral network with a call at least once a month to make sure they know they can rely on my as their trusted real estate advisor, whether they are currently in the market or not.  Usually this leads to referral without even asking!
Posted by Mary Smartt, Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt (Lawton Associates / www.LawtonAssociates.com) about 11 years ago
Mary - Right on my friend!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
I know that I do not do very well at staying in touch with past clients. I mail a monthly newsletter and send out the baseball and football schedules and the calendars. I try to make a point of calling at least one of my prior clients every week. Its always great fun to catch up on what has been going on in their lives.
Posted by Jill Wente, Realtor, CRS, MCNE, CHMS (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Gary Greene) about 11 years ago

George, a good reminder. I rarely call but do keep in touch with monthly newsletters, etc. It seems to work, but perhaps in this day and age, calling would be good. Thanks for reminding me..........;-)

Pepper

Posted by Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor, AzLadyInRed (Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC) about 11 years ago
Jill - Get with the phones calls and caring about your sphere and watch your world change.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
Teri - You are welcome and good luck to you
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

George - your post is the nudge I may have been needing to get motivated to make those phone calls.  I appreciate that!

During the spring, summer and fall I will often drive by one of my clients homes since most folks are outdoors.  I stop and chat, compliment the landscaping/updates, etc. and make sure they have a few of my cards.  That has always worked well for me - aside from the newsletters, emails and personal notes. 

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) about 11 years ago
Carol - Good for you for stopping and visiting your clients. Start making those phone calls and offering services and watch your business grow.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

I call when I have a purpose.  My clients call me the Encyclopedia of Salem as I make it a point to know many resources. If I find a new resource, I will call clients that it relates to and let them know. For example we just had a recent new kids play park open in town.  I did an outside blog about it and emailed it to my clients with young children and called as well.

I don't call just for the sake of calling, but my clients have come to appreciate the genuine call.  I also don't ask for referrals. They just happen.

Posted by Melina Tomson, Principal Broker/Owner, M.S. (Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon) about 11 years ago
Melina - "You go girl!"
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

Gary...Did you know that this is my weakness?  I pick up the phone so readily to make a social call but work related, no.

I need to do better.

Thank you,

Kathleen

Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) about 11 years ago
Kathleen - Is Gary your husband or ex boyfriend? LOL
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
George- Great post! I agree wholeheartly that picking up the phone is a habit well worth developing. Checking in with past clients, friends and SOI is hugely important. So is asking for the referral. It all comes down to how you ask. Mine is more of a reminder that I am here to help anyone they may know as well. Goes over very well and is just enough of a nudge for them to think outside the box, their box. 100% of my business last year was referral based so the little nudge must be working.
Posted by Martha Brown, Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403) about 11 years ago
Martha - Good for you. When people know we care about them the referrals will come without asking!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

George

I agree with you the phone is important and I believe that if you concentrate on your client,friend or soi you won't have to ask for the referral. People know what you do for a living, you don't need to cram it down their throat all the time.

Be the source of information and they will remember you when the time comes.

Posted by Gary J. Rocks (Juba Team Realty) about 11 years ago
George, I agree with number four. Be the guy with all the connection.
Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) about 11 years ago
Gary - Right on my friend!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
Frank - Thank you and yes, being the source of information is powerful!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
George, we try to call before their hand leaves the mouse. We don't leave a message until we have tried 3 times. If still no response, we send an email. I am jealous you get to meet my daughter and she gets to meet more AR people than I have at the convention. Have fun. 
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 11 years ago
Missy - Thank you my friend.  I am excited to meet your daughter and everyone else from Active Rain.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
Phone calls are very productive - when you actually reach someone. In-person is a great one also. As for referrals, people like to "help" you when given a chance or asked.
Posted by Steve Hoffacker, Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor (Steve Hoffacker LLC) about 11 years ago
Steve - Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comment.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

 

George,

Calling is important,but it gets harder to to every day. I have found it very useful to spread the gratitude to my core clients, thank you calls and what is going on in your area-type calls.

WIsocnsin just raised its fine for a DNC violation for 100 to 1,000 dollars per incident.

I would always tell people to get their lists scrubbed first, if they are calling outside their current clients.

The reasons why you should call - you hit the nail on the head!

Steve

 

Posted by Obeoman Glade Jones (www.obeo.com) about 11 years ago
I don't directly ask for referrals either, because I think it is pushy. I simply keep in touch with my clients the same way I do my friends.
Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) about 11 years ago
Kelly - I would expect nothing less from you...You rock!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

I agree that you do not have to specifically ask for a referral, just by keeping in touch and caring about what is going on in their lives goes a long way.  When someone needs a Realtor the first person they will think of is the one who keep in contact!

Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE) about 11 years ago
Patricia - Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

Hi George..Good Common sense here, Too many times we try to hard to complicate our business, it is really always about building relationships...so calling folks just to say hi and ask how they are doing is powerful stuff. Be Genuine .....is the Key!

Cheers, have a great day!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Thanks for the inspiration George -

1st on my Monday to do list - 1 hour of calls to SOI and past clients!

Posted by April Hayden-Munson, Brookfield Wisconsin Real Estate about 11 years ago
Hi George!  I just emailed you to say hi from Vegas and decided to check your blog...I'm SO glad I did!  This is an awesome post and I really appreciate it.  I know what I'm supposed to be doing, but sometimes a gentle nudge (or a big kick) in the right direction is always welcome. :)
Posted by Michele Webb, ABR, QSC (RE/MAX Properties, Inc.) about 11 years ago
George, I really like your #4.  There are so many things going on in today's market to talk about.  You could even ask your SOI for suggestions on what they would like to hear more about.  And if you haven't yet been able to tell them about your blog, what a good opportunity to do so.
Posted by Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant (Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision) about 11 years ago
Rebecca - Thank you and I hope all is well.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
George, I have never heard of the FORD system.  I'm going to have to remember that!
Posted by Marlene Scheffer, Realtor to Kitsap County, WA (Realty Station) about 11 years ago
Marlene - The FORD system is awesome.  Good luck to you.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

I always use the ford system especially with people I don't know.  Yes it's good to call your family and past clients they do bring good results however, I still feel it is important to ask for the business to people you don't know. It has never taken away my focus from phone calling and updating clients as you say. It's simply another open door for business to come your way.

Posted by Stephanie Moen (Lazcano), Commercial Property Manager and Leasing Agent (Champions Real Estate Group) about 11 years ago
It looks like you have figured out what works best for you!  Great Job!
Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier (Keller Williams Premier) about 11 years ago
David - Thank you and good luck to you. Have a great day!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
George - This is great information to share and a wonderful insight in contacting your book of business.  Thanks for this great post!
Posted by Justin Williams, Loan Officer (Independent) about 11 years ago
Justin - Thanks and have a great weekend
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
George, Great post.  I hate the phone, and this will be a great guide in getting me more comfortable in using it.
Posted by Bob Cumiskey, US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago
Bob - Good morning and good luck to you!
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago
George ~ This is great advice. This business is all about relationships. And when you're sincere about helping people, the business does come easily.
Posted by Darleen McCullen, Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate about 11 years ago
Darleen - Glad you liked it and I hope you are having a great day.
Posted by George Tallabas, Idaho Real Estate (RE/MAX Advantage) about 11 years ago

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