On average, real estate agents estimate that nearly half of their business comes from client referrals. While referrals are, arguably, the most powerful marketing tool in any industry, they are extra important in the real estate industry.
New technology makes it easier than ever, as an agent, to keep in touch with your client database and to grow that database. Through online recommendations and social media referrals, more and more people are hearing the positive things people say about you.
Four in five people now search for information about properties and agents online, but many real estate agents still don’t have a strong online presence. Just 9% of agents use social media to promote their listings, for example. Get ahead of the curve by leveraging your online client database to grow repeat and referral business.
1. Make it easy for past clients to find you.
If past clients can’t find you online, it’s more difficult for them to share your contact information with others. If they can’t find you, it’s also impossible for them to give you repeat business or to leave a recommendation online.
A search engine optimised profile description bumps your agent profile to the top of search queries, making it much easier for past clients to find you again. An optimised profile clearly states your basic information and includes relevant keywords, like your areas of expertise and your market specializations.
Better, make it really easy for your clients to find you by immediately adding them to your LinkedIn network or by asking them to follow your professional Facebook page or Twitter account. Use these social platforms to maintain your relationships with past clients, making them more likely to remember and recommend you.
2. Build an online community.
Build an online community of clients by maintaining a consistent, helpful presence on social media. An online community helps build referral business by keeping interest in your business high and can also connect individual members of your database – buyers and sellers – with each other.
Ensure, though, that your social media presence builds trust with clients, instead of undermining it. Set up a professional page – free of personal complaints and politics – with which to interact with clients. On your personal accounts, don’t publish a post publicly unless you’re comfortable with anyone seeing it.
3. Grow your online recommendations.
Almost nine in ten people trust online recommendations as much as they trust in-person recommendations from friends. Ask satisfied clients to leave recommendations on your real estate portal and social media profiles to grow your referral business.
Because people trust recommendations, referral marketing is incredibly effective. Even in industries where referrals are less important than in the real estate industry, people are four times more likely to purchase a product if someone recommends it either in-person or online.
Authentic recommendations mention your specific strengths and specializations. These recommendations are not only more convincing, they also improve your search engine optimisation, making it easier for people to find you.
4. Make the most of social media referrals.
These days, people talk about all the same things on social media as they talk about in real life. This includes asking for and giving, real estate referrals. Referrals are, actually, such an integral part of social media that, in 2016, Facebook introduced a feature for recommendations.
On social media, many people see these requests, make referrals, and read through other people’s referrals. Social media is, then, an incredibly powerful tool for referral marketing, with the potential to influence a greater number of people than traditional referrals.
Make the most of your social media referrals by, first, spiffing up your social media “About” sections. Past clients will, likely, tag you or your business page when they recommend you to people on social media. Your “About” section should, then, be well-written and convincing.
Second, follow up on referrals in the comments section. When you are referred by another person, chime in with a personalized comment thanking the person and inviting the potential client to contact you. This shows that you are engaged, interested, and approachable.
5. Manage your online reputation.
Unfortunately, you can’t satisfy everyone. The internet not only increases the power of positive recommendations, it also increases the power of negative feedback. As you know, your reputation, as a real estate agent, is one of your most powerful selling points. You need to protect it, both in-person and online.
A strong online presence, including a large network of satisfied clients, helps you confront negative feedback online. Many positive recommendations and “like”s from satisfied clients gives a few negative reviews less weight on your overall online reputation.
If someone leaves a negative review, respond to that person immediately. In a public message, apologize for their bad experience and ask if there is anything you can do to remedy the situation. This demonstrates your dedication to customer service and can, by example, counter-accusations of poor service.
In general, responding to online reviews makes a good impression on potential clients and increases your business. When hotels respond to comments within 24-hours, for example, they increase their occupancy rate by 50%
Don’t lose contact with clients after you’ve delivered a successful result. Instead, leverage your database online to build community, expand your network, increase your referral business, and protect your online reputation.
In a trust-based industry like real estate, referral marketing is still the best way to get new business. As referrals move online, move with them. Take the first step by creating a well-written, search engine optimised profile with Realtor Profiler’s fast, easy form. The optimisation service is free for all Domain agents!
Rod Smith is the CEO and founder of Realty Profiler. Realty Profiler partners with real estate portals, agencies, and solutions firm to transform the online profiles of their real estate professionals in minutes. Our best in class, A.I rapid content generation platform can transform 1000’s of LinkedIn, portal and agency profiles a week with unique, engaging content in multiple languages. Helping them Stand Out and Sell More.