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Nurture Client Relationships to Build Your Real Estate Referral Network

By Lori Weaver | December 30, 2016

While some days you may feel as though you are swimming in paperwork, real estate referrals remains a business built on relationships, not paper. The attention you give to maintaining client relationships is essential to keeping your pipeline full and growing your real estate business.

That’s why it’s so important to consistently carve out blocks of time every week for developing connections and managing the leads they can generate. Even if you already feel you do a good job networking, there are always additional ways you can help develop and nurture lasting client relationships.

Replace the business lunch with the networking breakfast
Somehow, asking a client to get together for breakfast before heading to the office bears a lot less pressure than inviting a client to meet you for lunch. Morning dining atmospheres are typically more casual. Relaxed conversation regarding business matters comes about more naturally at the start of the work day, paving the way for you to request referrals. Make it your goal to take at least one client to breakfast each week.

Surprise clients with a handwritten note
In this age of electronic communication, receiving a handwritten note through postal mail is a rarity. Use this to your advantage and stand out among the marketing postcards, bills and junk mail your contacts see when they sift through their mail. Make it a practice to send a handwritten note to one contact from your database every work day. Touching base in via an unexpected, personal note could be just the trigger need to remind contacts you’re in real estate, leading to a referral, or at least the chance to get together and network.

Actively engage in social media
If you’re like a lot of real estate agents, you use social media to market your listings. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you are missing some opportunities for relationship building, and learning more about your clients and prospects. Share other things of interest and invite comments on what you’ve posted. Comment regularly on other posts and become active in relevant groups on a couple of social media platforms. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes out of your work day to make professional connections through social media, but don’t let yourself get sidetracked. You’ll pick up leads as well as learn a bit more about some of your contacts that may come in handy for later networking.

Get active in your community
Trust is a cornerstone of any good relationship, including real estate business relationships. One of the ways you can build trust with prospective clients is by being active in your community. Give back in ways that are not directly related to real estate. This not only builds your list of contacts, but shows prospects that you have a stake in making the area a better place. Allowing contacts to see you as someone interested in more than your own financial gain will strengthen relationships that can lead to referrals on an ongoing basis. Clients who trust you are much more likely to stay loyal to you for their real estate needs, and the needs of family and friends, as well. So, coach that baseball team, volunteer at the local food pantry and try out for a part in community theater.

Become indispensable to clients
Don’t ask yourself how you are going to get someone’s listing or get qualified buyers to allow you to represent them. Instead, ask yourself how you can be of service to prospective clients. Do they need to be put in touch with someone who can replace a window or shampoo carpets? Market yourself as a problem solver first and a salesperson second, particularly to sellers who too often see real estate agents as just another cost. Exhibiting an attitude of service, as well as the impression you are well-connected, will begin to make you indispensable, leaving a lasting impression that paves the way to future business.

How you approach customer service can have an immense impact on how successful you are at growing your real estate business. Taking a more deliberate, customized approach to client relationship management will help to set you apart and keep you top of mind for real estate referrals.

Lori Weaver is a writer and licensed real estate agent in Lexington, Ky. With over 25 years’ experience in communications and marketing across a number of business sectors, she provides content marketing, writing and social media services to a variety of B2B and B2C clients, with a focus on real estate., real estate investments and new construction. In her spare time, Lori enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
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