Many real estate businesses make a critical mistake when it comes to referrals.
They just wait and hope that they’ll get them.
Think about how you get referrals in your own business, assuming you get them at all. They’re usually unexpected because you haven’t asked for them. You haven’t put a referral process in place, which means you have no control.
You’re just living in hope.
And even if you do muster up the courage to ask, you usually leave it far too late. In fact, you don’t even mention the idea of getting a referral until you’ve completed the transaction.
This takes your client by surprise and might lead to them deciding not to refer anybody!
There are two things that you need to do when it comes to referrals:
- Create a process around them, rather than just hoping you’ll get them.
- Pre-frame that process with your client early into your relationship.
In this article, I specifically want to focus on pre-framing that we teach our clients inside ‘Elite Agency Success System’ with our Referral Promise™ training.
What Do I Mean by Pre-Framing?
There’s a simple idea behind pre-framing.
You’re going to make your client aware that you have a referral process as soon as you start working with them. This means complete transparency on your part. You’re going to discuss the success that you intend to achieve during the transaction. And you’re also going to talk to the client about how your referral process works.
When you pre-frame your process, the client knows the request will come when you finish the transaction. They understand that you’re going to ask for a referral and they know the role that they’ll play in this process.
The key is that you get this pre-framing right. It’s not enough to just say that you have a referral process. There are four things that you need to outline for the client if you’re going to pre-frame properly.
#1 – Outline the Roles
Define the roles of each person on your team to the client so that the client knows what to expect as you go through the transaction process.
The key here is to tell the client who’s in charge of what.
For example, you may be in charge of the overall listing. However, a different member of the team may be handling inspections. You may have somebody else who’s handling the open houses. And there’s yet another member of the team doing the marketing.
Make sure the client knows who’s who and what they’re doing.
#2 – Outline the Expectations
This is all about what’s going to happen during the time that you work together. You’ll talk about how you handle inspections and what you expect to achieve with the transaction.
#3 – Outline the Vendor’s Role
You need to make sure that the vendor understands that this is a collaborative effort. You’re going to need them to do certain things to get the best outcome.
For example, the vendor may take responsibility for staging the rooms in their house. Or, you may need them to provide specific pieces of information that will help you to make the sale.
#4 – Outline the Referrals
This is the part where you tell them about your referral program. Typically, this involves telling the client that you may get in touch in the future to ask them to participate.
This is the tricky part because a lot of real estate sales people feel awkward about asking for referrals. That’s why I’m going to help you along with my pre-framing script.
The Pre-Framing Script
To outline the referrals, you’re going to give the client a call. This call will last a minute or two and it involves you telling them that they should expect you to ask them to join your referral program.
The typical script goes something like this:
It’s <your name> from <your business name>. This is just a quick courtesy call to let you know that I’m working alongside <the agent who’s handling the client> and will assist in overseeing the campaign.I’m going to send a letter out to you with all of my contact details. If you have any general enquiries, I’ll be in touch with an update on the campaign agenda each week. The letter will outline my role and overall involvement in the sales process of the property.
In this opening section of the call, you’re doing a little pre-framing of roles. You’ll nail all of that down with the letter that you send later. But now, it’s time to go into pre-framing the referral program:
Once we’ve created the desired outcome for you, we may ask if you want to become one of our referral partners. We only ask a select few clients to be part of the referral partner program. This is just to make you aware that this may occur and an agent will explain how it works if we contact you.
Now, the client knows that you have a referral program and that they should expect you to make contact. Better yet, you’ve built some exclusivity into the program by telling them that you only ask a select few clients. This means you’ve framed it as something desirable for the client.
Follow Up with a Letter
The final piece of this puzzle is to send out a letter to the client. You’ll notice that you mention this in the above call script.
This letter acts as a “thank-you” to the client for choosing to work with you. However, you’ll also use it to deliver details about all of the members of the team who’ll work on the transaction. Again, you’re defining the roles that your team members will play.
Of course, this letter will also talk about your referral program again. Only this time, you tell them that you’d like them to try and refer at least three people to your business. Furthermore, you tell them that this means you spend less time looking for clients and more time trying to get the best result.
Pre-Frame to Land More Referrals
All of this pre-framing means that the client’s prepared for when you ask for a referral. You’re not springing it on them out of nowhere at the end of the transaction.
In fact, they may start looking for referrals while you’re working with them.
Ultimately, it’s about offering complete transparency to the client. If they feel you’re being honest about your referral process, they’re more likely to take part in it. It’s the Referral Promise™
Process & Structure Coach
For Real Estate Professionals
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