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Real estate investment is a business of referrals. Just as in any industry, a few bad apples can ruin the image of the entire industry, so it can be difficult to get attention if you aren’t recommended first.
Believe it or not, there is a simple solution to this issue: Develop a great reputation.
When you do business well, you will create a portfolio of referrals that will do the talking for you. But in real estate, doing business well can be easier said than done.
As an investor, you are looking to get the biggest return with the least amount of work and as quickly as possible, but this must be balanced with the client’s need to feel taken care of.
When people feel that they are being taken care of, they will be more likely to refer you to their friends and family. So how can you create the best experience for your clients as possible?
Don’t try to hide the fact that they may have options. Of course, they may be in a situation where putting the home on the market is not feasible, but this will not be the case for all your clients. Instead of avoiding the option of listing the home, make your option better.
Tell them about the short closing time, show them the laundry list of items that a home inspector goes through in a traditional sale, or maybe provide a list of rentals in their area to help with the transition.
Let them know that if they choose not to sell to you, they still have other ways of relieving their financial burden. Get to know the ins and outs of refinancing so that you can be a resource for some of the people that you may encounter.
In cases like these, you may not close that particular sale, but you may have opened the door for a few referrals. If you are honest, open, courteous, and respectful, you might even get referrals from someone who decided to refinance instead of sell.
Related: 6 Ways to Impress Clients With a Highly Personal Business Experience
If you feel as though a client is not feeling cared for, talk to them. Give them a space to air their grievances. Maybe they have other people whispering in their ears about other options, or perhaps they are confused about the process and are feeling a bit uneasy.
Listening to your clients and answering their questions can ease their worries and bring a realm of comfort that will encourage a smooth sale.
You’ve been through this process before, but for many of your clients, this will be the first time they are involved in a transaction such as this.
There are many nationwide tools like Cole Realty Resource—or local solutions like Real Estate IQ in Texas—where you can research before you even meet your clients. You go in knowing how long they’ve owned the residence, whether they’re facing a lien, and what their income is, which can inform how you approach the sale. A family selling a cherished home will present different challenges than a rental owner who is just trying to unload a property. Using these tools not only offers a means to contact home owners, but also paints a picture of that owner, which can be used to provide a more efficient negotiation.
If you are mindful of the climate of the situation and keep the lines of communication open, you can check in with your clients and make sure that they feel like they have a voice that is being heard.
When you feel like a transaction is going particularly well, document it. Keep track of timelines and money earned by your client. Ask your clients if you can share a statement with future clients to accompany these numbers.
Send a thank you to your clients. Take the time to get to know them so you can send them a personalized closing gift. Does your client like to cook? How about an initialed cutting board? Do they play golf? What about a pack of nice golf balls or club mitts?
When your clients remember you fondly, they might be more likely to send your name down the line with the time presents itself.
Ask to take pictures of your happy customers. Real estate agents often take a picture of their buyers in front of their new home and post them on Facebook. Why not take a picture with your clients holding the envelope to their closing check?
Related: Yes, Customer Service DOES Matter in Real Estate: Here’s How to Make Yours Top-Notch
Send out a quick blurb (through email, mailers, or even a Facebook status) that reminds your past clients that referrals are the name of the game.
Through all your transactions be honest, be mindful, and be intentional. This perspective will help keep you on track to potentially being the name that people think of when their friends ask for real estate or investor referrals.
And those referrals could be what helps you grow your business and set you apart from your competitors.
Cole Realty Resource has a 70-year history of providing contact information (including cell phones and emails) for a specific property or entire neighborhood, which means more meaningful conversations about buying and selling real estate. Because of your relationship with BiggerPockets, you can now get access to unlimited home phones, cell phones and emails—all tied to a specific address and all at a discounted rate. To start getting contact info within minutes, click here.
How do you work on being honest, mindful, and intentional with your clients?