I believe this article is relevant to all sales People not just Real Estate Agents.
It is a well known fact that it is far easier to generate business from clients that you already have, than to go out and grab new ones.
This belief was supported by the findings in a recent survey,” “Successful Habits of Canadian Realtors” where Realtors indicated that repeat business has a real place in their business, with all respondents saying that at least some of their business comes from referrals and repeat business.
26% of our survey respondents said that 1-20% of their overall business came from that source- up to 16% of respondents saying that 81-100% of business comes in through that avenue.
Market data also suggests that it takes five times more money and effort to land a brand new client, than to try to generate business from the ones you’ve got. Why is this and why is it preferable to go this route?
You have already proven yourself In business that relies so heavily on trust and integrity, a relationship borne from business that has demonstrated your abilities is golden. You don’t have to convince these clients of your value. As they say, actions speak louder than words- and you have articulated your value loud and clear- making the decision for these clients to come back again- and to bring their friends even easier.
Ask for Business
Although it seems obvious as a method of ensuring repeat business- on top of a job well done, many sales professionals express hesitation at coming out and asking for referrals or repeat business. Make it part of your meeting with a client, either at the end of a deal, or after it has closed, to ask for referrals. This as essential an item on the to-do list for your business generation as paperwork is to a house closing. When you have proven yourself, it is not an imposition to ask for referrals- rather it is an extension and an evolution in bringing your business to the next level.
Educate your clients
Make your clients aware of the referral component to your business, by including it as part of your branding- in a tagline on your emails, or on your business card. This accomplishes a few things. It makes the customer aware from the starting gate, that you intend to ask for referrals, and will seek permission to do so by delivering on promises. It also starts the request for repeat and referral business in advance of the actual ask. It sets the stage, and establishes a certain comfort level.
Timing is everything
Outright asking for referrals and repeat business is an art in and of itself. It is about how you ask the question- but it is also very much about when you ask the question. Wait too long and it will seem like an afterthought. Also, the value of your service, while remembered by clients afterwards, may lose some of the momentum. Ask for business before you have demonstrated that you deserve it can suggest arrogance or sense of entitlement. The key is to ask for a referral or repeat business when the iron is hot- when a deal is newly closed. The idea is to capture the moment when the client is most enthusiastic about your service, and to try to harness that for future business- or to direct their friends and family to your doorstep.
While there is merit to doing broad based, highly visible marketing to promote your brand, and to raise your prominence and recognisability, generating business from existing client relationships is a much more cost effect way to drive revenue towards the bottom line. You can spend a lot of money doing broad based marketing print ads etc., in hopes that your net will be cast wide enough to catch a client or two. However, there is an element of luck there too.
Delivering on your promises and demonstrating your abilities is the best marketing you can do, and a much more effective way to bring in revenues. And there is little or no cost involved either. People will recognize you from a print ad, or poster- but that does little to actually demonstrate how good you are. An endorsement from a client fills in that gap.
No matter what, when building your business, and filling your pipeline, you are much wiser to turn to business you’ve already got to get more. Deliver on your promises and give people reason to come back, the business will follow.