The week in review: LOOK CLOSELY. CAN YOU SEE IT?
Referrals are all around you, right at your feet, but you have to take the time to stop and look closely for them. Before looking at some real life examples, let's put some clarity around why you would possibly receive them in the first place.I don’t believe anything happens by chance. Action always precedes an event. When it comes to referrals, the quality of the 'experience' and 'frequency' we provide our clients and people we come into contact with, will always determine the level of referral business we receive.
Let's talk about our favourite little restaurant, the 'Acropolis' in the breathtaking village of Polirinai, Crete. It's in a remote village to the west of Crete that we have been patronizing for the last 12 years. It’s run by a beautiful family, their restaurant is simple, perched on-top of a mountain with breathtaking views. However, when it comes to the food, the view becomes a distant second for the reason you will visit.
So when we saw a past agent of our team, post that she was in Crete, I quickly sent her a message to visit the restaurant, it's a must do if you’re in the area. Unknowingly, Maria and Kosta sent her the same message! You can tell this business has us as raving fans. In fact, since we first found it, there hasn't been a year that we haven't either taken people ourselves and or referred people to go.
This type of referral is your typical one. Great service, great people, made us feel special and therefore will always be top of mind for us to recommend to others when travelling to Crete. I would liken this example in real estate as the 'one year anniversary' call. Past clients are highly unlikely to sell each year, however a 'touch base' call will trigger the memorable experience you gave them when selling or buying and they too will want the same for their friends.
A business to business situation.
We are planning the office fitout for our soon to open Cheltenham office which required interviewing a number of shopfitters to quote and thereafter engage to do the works. We got in contact with 5 suppliers, 2 never followed up calls (it happens in every industry!), 3 we interviewed and we selected the one who made us feel most comfortable to get the job done. This has been a 4 month process. Since we met our chosen supplier (Tristan Weeks from Zircon Design & Office Interiors), we have referred 3 potential clients. We referred them, not because Tristan asked for them; but because he has been such a pleasure to deal with, and our regular contact means he has been top of mind so whenever anyone talks about office fitouts, his name comes up. (And our sphere of influence gets us in front of his target audience on a regular basis – which is a lesson/signpost in itself, but more on that in a future blog).
Now, in this example, TWO things came up which again we need reminding of. The first one, we are all very 'busy' and extremely time poor. So 'choice management' really came into play. When referring Tristan to a director from one of our offices, she said something that was very profound, when we advised her to possibly get others to quote, she replied with 'I don't have time to commit to that exercise. You have already done the hard work for me and my best use of time is working 'on my business' not trying to go an find a better deal. Tristan has come recommended, we met him, we like him and all things being equal, we will use him'. That says a lot about getting 'referred in!'
The second thing that has come from this example, which is probably the MOST IMPORTANT.
WE HAVEN'T FITTED OUT THE OFFICE YET! We haven't seen our end product but they have made us feel they are more than capable and will exceed our expectations and therefore we’re happy to refer to them. So how does that apply in real estate? First thing that comes to mind is buyer service. Less than 5% of buyers we each meet buy a property from us. What levels of service and contact are we providing to the other 95%? What level of service are we providing buyers so that we are top of mind to them when they are speaking with their family and friends – even if they don’t buy from us?
And why would a vendor need to wait for their property to be sold before they become a raving fan? We haven't when referring Zircon Interiors. The additional and as important benefit to Tristan is that because of the experience so far, we will take his advice on how to best move forward with our works & design, even if it cost us just that little bit more. WE TRUST him and we have become raving fans. This directly applies to vendors, buyers, landlords & tenants. The better our service levels and processes, the more they will take our suggestions and advice. BIG lesson in this.
So how 'curious' will you be for referral business? Are you simply just going to wade in the water, keep walking, not look down at your feet to see what's there, or will you start to see an abundance of opportunities everywhere?
The choice is yours:)