How to Win Referrals from Unexpected Sources

Moving season’s officially upon us. On your end, this means one thing: It’s crunch time. Now’s the time to start leveraging your referral network if you want to grab even a slice of the seasonal moving pie.

The problem? You’ve followed all the “how to get referrals” agent must-do’s. You’ve reached out to your past clients, run advertisements on your SEO-optimized website, and exhausted all the cold leads in your database. All that, and your inbox’s still empty.

We admit – leveraging your referral network requires a bit of elbow grease on your part, but think of it as an asset to your business. The key here is that you should treat all your social encounters as a business opportunity. With this mindset, you’ll tap into perhaps unexpected sources of referrals and share an even larger slice of the moving buzz.

Find the “Connectors” at Local Businesses

The best way to earn luck-of-the-draw encounters is by simply striking up a conversation with service contacts at local businesses next time you’re due for a haircut at the local hair salon or need to pick up your jacket from the drycleaners. Small business owners often know their clients on a first-name basis and are generally in-the-know about what’s happening around town. Try to get on a first-name basis with them, and mention you’re an agent looking for business. It never hurts to be upfront about what you’re looking for, so don’t hesitate to say something like “You seem to know your customers really well – if you ever hear that anyone’s moving, I’d truly appreciate if you sent them my way!”

Extra tip: you can always ask local businesses to post a flyer or tack your business card to their announcements board. A few businesses to keep in mind:

  • Hair stylist

  • Nail salon

  • Local bookstore

  • Coffee shop

  • Dry cleaner

  • Mailroom

  • Barber shop

Network with Interested Buyers and Industry Colleagues

Spring’s the season when agents of all sizes come out of the woodwork to host weekend educational seminars. Hosting your own event such as a “First-Time Buyer’s Seminar” or a “Review Your Credit Score 101” is a great way to pocket a few potential leads and add value to someone’s life.

Even if you’re not hosting a workshop, make sure to set aside a day or two to attend your colleagues’ events. It’s a great way to support them and even learn a thing or two for your own event programming. Send a quick note to your colleague after the fact — you’d be surprised how often the gesture is reciprocated (sometimes in the form of a referral).

Target Landlords

This pro-tip comes to us from Dawn Brenengen, owner and agent from Trailwood Realty, LLC in Raleigh, North Carolina. “Reach out to the accidental landlords of the recession,” she says. “I’m finding many of my management clients are now ready to sell since the market has recovered in most neighborhoods.”

Join Local Business Groups

Especially if you’re the new Realtor in town, try heading over to the local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club. It’ll be a good starting point to build relationships with local business leaders that already have a feel for the land.

Reach out to Service Contacts in the Same Space

Try reaching out to service contacts in the same space, such as carpet cleaners, who work everyday with people that are gearing up to sell. Let them know that you’d appreciate if they forwarded your contact information along if they catch wind that someone’s thinking of moving. In exchange, you’ll promise to refer current clients to them. Send them a few clients first, if you can – it will help build their trust early into the partnership.

Luck-of-the-Draw Encounters

It’s always good to leave a bit of leeway for those luck-of-the-draw encounters, like last spring when you struck up a conversation with your current client at the local yard sale.

To capitalize on these chance encounters, it’s best to return to the referral basics: Make sure to always carry your business card on you wherever you go, particularly if you’re going somewhere that you’re likely to encounter prospects (think: the local estate or yard sale, Crate & Barrel, Home Depot).

As a real estate professional, you know that one of your biggest challenges is that business won’t come to you. You have to actively seek it out, which often means thinking creatively about how to leverage your resources. In this case, a bit of out-of-the box thinking will do wonders on your quest to earn more referrals, right when you need them most.