Now that the new year is here, it’s time to start working toward the goals you’ve set and to refresh your referral network to keep the funnel going. Word-of-mouth referrals are the most effective type, which is why it’s incredibly important to continually evaluate your existing referral network and devise new ways to expand.
Check in with your referral sources
Take a look at your referrals from last year and make a list of each of your referrers. While you may have sent a thank you afterward, it doesn’t hurt to check in again to thank them for their previous referral. Handwritten notes work best, but a simple phone call or email will also work to touch base.
Reach out to professional contacts
Reach out to local businesses and services to ask for a coupon or special discount you can offer your clients or set out during open houses. Give referrals to those businesses you partner with and ask them to do the same for you.
Host a seminar or workshop
Pick a real estate topic specific to your market -- something like easy ways to boost curb appeal or increase home value -- and host a workshop and Q&A session in your community. Many public libraries offer space at no cost and will also advertise the session to the public. Think outside the box with this. Think about bringing in your professional contacts to help with a topic of their expertise, such as a session about getting a home ready to list and having a trusted home inspector come in to offer specific points of interest.
Write an article
You most likely have a handful of community magazines -- both digital and print -- in the area you cover, so why not approach them about writing a real estate article and showing the community that you’re a specialist? Offering your expertise in an article makes more of an impact than running an ad, and can showcase your personality. If writing’s not your strong suit, hire someone to ghostwrite the article for you.
Ask your friends and family
If you don’t ask, how will people know that you’re looking for referrals? People don’t automatically assume that you want referrals, especially those outside the sales and marketing industries. Pick a handful of friends and family members to ask for referrals; better still, ask those friends you’ve already worked with for referrals, as they can refer people to you with a testimonial.
Tap into LinkedIn
If you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re losing out on a lot of business connections. That article you wrote for the local magazine can be shared through LinkedIn, or you can publish additional original real estate blogs through the platform directly; not only will this exhibit your expertise, but it can be great for connecting with others through conversation.
A way to quickly grow your LinkedIn network -- and potentially your referral network -- is to allow the platform to crawl your email to find contacts to connect with on the platform. This is great to do at the beginning of the year, just be sure to send personalized notes with your invitations to connect. Start the new year by expanding your referral network in ways you haven’t before. Get even more active in your community by teaching a real estate workshop or writing an article for your local magazine. Keep making meaningful connections, and your referrals will come rolling in!
Author Bio: Lauren B. Stevens. ￼ Lauren B. Stevens of Homelight is a writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She spends her days crafting content for businesses in the areas of family, technology, and home.