I’m not talking about rival agents who go around undercutting you on fees.
Although I bet it’s a very common estate agency fantasy.
I mean, do you have a list of people who are in positions to refer business your way?
It could be solicitors, funeral directors, surveyors, developers, care home owners, divorce lawyers, mortgage brokers, and/or removal companies.
The above is a list of professions I’ve heard my clients say they have received referrals and leads from.
And in my experience, building a network of potential regular referrers is excellent for business.
But you need to follow a timeless law.
The Law of Reciprocity declares that people feel inclined to give back to someone who gives something to them. It’s been around since the dawn of humanity and is one of the reasons we rose to the top of the tree as a species.
But I see so many agents and business owners f’ it up.
Usually, it’s because when referring others, they sit on the fence and put forward three or four solicitors/care homes/removal companies etc.
You need to ‘pick a side’ and solely focus on them.
Trust me. I’ve taken this ‘pick a side’ approach while running two very different but very successful businesses. It works.
When I had my removal company, we picked one storage centre that we wanted to work with and did all we could to create a rapport and ongoing relationship.
It worked so well I was called into their head office to give training on how their telesales team could ‘sell’ our removals offer.
That relationship was worth more than £60,000 a year to us. And we gave them plenty of return referrals, too.
My rivals recommended a range of other storage companies that were rivals to ‘our’ one. They weren’t picking a side and were missing out.
When I set up the Estate Agent Content Club, I drew up a hit list.
For example, I quickly identified that John Paul of the Castledene Group and Agency Consulting was a guy I got on with and could work with. He’s been my business coach for more than two years, and I highly recommend him.
When it comes to sales prospecting training, I always put forward Stephen Brown. He is the nicest man in the world, and he knows his stuff when it comes to generating leads.
From the agency CRM world, I always recommend Rob Brady from Iceberg Digital. He’s a great bloke, and the product is very content friendly.
Pick a side
I have seen many recommendations online where people just list lots of options hoping that by doing this, they don’t alienate or isolate anyone they haven’t mentioned.
However, by not nailing your colours to your mast, you come across as indecisive at best and disingenuous at worst.
I have a list of other people we recommend when asked.
They include a web design company, a graphic designer, a Canva expert, a Facebook guru, a Google Ads guy, a photographer, a proofreader, a land and new homes expert, and a virtual assistant.
But we only put forward one of each.
That’s because we’ve worked with them previously.
They are good at what they do, we like them.
And there’s an unwritten rule that we are their first point of reference if someone they know is seeking estate agent content.
Here’s how I drew up my hit list by asking these simple questions:
Are they genuine people? (I can’t stand bullshi77ers)
Do we like them?
Have we used their services or know of others who have had good experiences?
Are they in a position of influence to refer us? (Or at the very least help us)
And, well, that’s it. A simple formula that’s worked well throughout my business career.
What’s your approach to referrals? Do you take the less-is-more view or throw recommendation nets out there?
I’m interested to know.
Thanks for reading.
PS: Friday 22 April is World Earth Day – here’s our free, access-all-agents content pack, which you can use to raise awareness of the day and your agency’s involvement.