Getting high-quality real estate referrals can be difficult if you don’t know where to turn or how to ask for them. We’ve laid out our top five proven tricks for winning more referrals so you can build your real estate business.

1. Reconnect with Your Existing Contact Base

When it comes to getting referrals, your existing contact base is your biggest asset. Following up with previous customers after a sale or home purchase is not only best practice, but it’s also a great way to learn of new business opportunities. If a client purchased a property in the last year, reach out to ask how they’re enjoying the place now that they’ve had the chance to get settled. Having this conversation will not only help you nurture trust and goodwill, it will also provide you with an organic opportunity to ask for a testimonial or inquire if they know anyone who may be interested in buying or selling a home. In addition, reconnecting with previous customers will keep you on their radar in the event that they decide to make another move in the future.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Text

Due to rising federal interest rates and record-high rent prices, millennials have become the largest U.S. homebuying population, outpacing Gen Xers and baby boomers alike. They also surpass previous generations in their average texting volume, sending and receiving around 128 text messages per day. Texting your existing contact base is a fast and simple way to inquire about a referral and reignite a connection without asking someone to set aside time in their busy schedule. Millennials aren’t the only ones who have embraced texting as a primary means of communication—the average American now texts twice as often as they call. A text message, as opposed to an email, puts less pressure on a recipient to craft a long-winded response, making them more likely to respond in a timely manner. In addition, the ubiquity of junk mail can cause emails to get lost in the black hole of someone’s inbox.

3. Hold an Open House

Most agents assume that an open house is only successful if it leads to an offer. In reality, open houses can work for much more than just selling the home in question. If you’ve held an open house before, you know that not all attendees are looking to buy. Open houses also tend to attract neighbors who are looking to gauge the relative value of their home, current sellers who are interested in understanding the competition in their area, and prospective buyers or sellers who are not ready to make a move but are looking to explore their future options. For this reason, open houses can be great networking opportunities.

Make an effort to engage with everyone who attends and learn why they’re there without passing judgment. If a visitor feels like they can be open about their reasons for coming, they’re more likely to ask you for advice and request your information to enlist your help with another project or future endeavor. Encourage visitors to sign in, list the reason for their visit, and provide their information if they’d like you to follow up and provide some guidance regarding their situation.

4. Go Door to Door

This may sound outdated in the digital age, but there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face introduction. It can be easy to ignore a call or email that you’re not expecting, but a knock on the door is difficult to sidestep or forget. We’re accustomed to people asking for money and activists asking for signatures, but when was the last time someone stopped by just to introduce themselves? Though it sounds corny, simply shaking someone’s hand, learning their name, and asking them to keep you in mind in the future can go a long way—especially in a close-knit locale. Be friendly and read the reaction of the people you talk to in order to not overstay your welcome or take up too much time. You’ll be surprised how many people welcome the chance to speak with someone new and enjoy talking about where they live. If you have a local office, invite them to stop in to just say hi or to inquire about any plans to buy or sell their home.

5. Leverage Social Platforms

Learning how to leverage social media can help your real estate business in more ways than one. Using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram is a timely, free, and effective way to drum up excitement about local listings and connect with prospects in your area. If one of your clients mentions that a neighbor or friend is interested in selling their home and you don’t have their contact information, shoot them a LinkedIn or Facebook message to follow up on the connection, introduce yourself, and create an opportunity for a conversation. Staying active on social media will also give your clients, peers, and contact base the chance to recommend your services in a more public way by posting testimonials or reviews to your profile. Digital (as opposed to word-of-mouth) referrals can help you source new business from clients that might otherwise be outside of your network. If you haven’t used social media in a while or are starting a new account for your business, take some time to optimize your profile and make sure you’re marketing yourself in the right way.

After you’ve tried out all of the above strategies, you should have a better sense of what approach works and where you should focus your efforts moving forward. Don’t be afraid to switch up your approach if you find that one method isn’t producing the results you were hoping for. Lastly, remember to be patient, genuine, and friendly—people are more likely to recommend your services if they connect with you on an emotional level and feel like you were responsive throughout the buying or selling process. That doesn’t mean answering client calls in the middle of the night—it simply means demonstrating that you care and being timely, clear, and effective in your communication.

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