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So you think you are worthy of referrals? Best practices for growing referrals

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Are your efforts good enough?

Maybe you think you’re doing a great job at getting referrals. Conversely, perhaps you know it’s an area you need to work on. If you’re struggling to get business right now because of the tough economy, you need to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to 1) keep in touch and stay top of mind with everyone in your database so you can get as much repeat business as possible and 2) maximize the number of referrals you get.

If you’re a Realtor, you may have heard that the most successful agents get about 80-90% of their business from existing clients and referrals. So, just what makes someone (or a business) truly “referral worthy”? Are you wondering if you’re doing all you can to maximize the number of referrals you get? Certainly, there’s more to building your referral business than just making certain that your clients are 110% satisfied.

Are you asking for referrals or are you just hoping that happy clients will refer you? If you fall into the latter category, you might want to think again. Not only should you consistently ask for referrals from those around you, but you should also be specific when asking. Here’s what I mean. When requesting referrals, let people know who around them they may be able to refer to you. Mention the types of individuals who may benefit from the services you provide. This gets people thinking and makes them more likely to refer. For example, they may think to themselves, “She’s right, there are a few ladies in my book club who are growing their families and looking to move into a bigger home. I should recommend Mary as a great Realtor.”

As mentioned earlier, it’s essential to constantly be top of mind with your clients so when an opportunity to refer you arises, you’re the person they’ll think of. If you’re a Realtor, it’s important to ensure that you’re keeping in touch through a combination of face-to-face interactions, telephone calls, and emails and direct marketing pieces.

When a client does refer you, how do you respond? Your actions after a referral can be just as important as the actions you take to get the referral. I believe that the best approach is to thank the referrer in person and send them a card with a meaningful token of your appreciation. Demonstrate how grateful you are and how important referrals are to your business. Lastly, let the referrer know of the outcome of the referral and keep them “in the loop.”

In order to maximize your “referral worthiness,” how you position yourself is vital. You need to come across as a professional who provides unique and one of a kind services and as a true expert in your field.

Best practices

But that’s not all. I think that it’s important to have a system in place to help you organize your referrals and the action you take leading up to and after a referral takes place. For example, never underestimate the importance of a good, industry-specific contact management system to assist you in tracking, managing, and organizing your referrals and the actions you take to stay top of mind (for instance, your marketing pieces and other “keep in touch” activities). It’ll make your life a whole lot easier and really help streamline your business.

So to wrap up, if you want to build your referrals-based business, and see your business grow exponentially, consider following these best practices:

  • Provide referral worthy service
  • Ask for referrals early and often, be specific, and provide examples
  • Stay “top of mind” through ongoing communication with your sphere
  • Use a good, industry-specific contact management system
  • Position yourself as a professional who provides one of a kind services
  • Thank the people who provide you with referrals in a meaningful way and close the loop with the person who sent you the referral

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Matthew Hardy

    December 13, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    > Use a good, industry-specific contact management system

    Yes indeed.

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Business Marketing

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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Business Marketing

in 2021 the EU will enforce ‘right to repair’ for phones and tablets

(BUSINESS NEWS) The EU says NO to planned obsolescence by…letting you fix your own stuff? The right to repair has started to make headway again.

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Right to repair

Not to be a loyalist turncoat about it, but sometimes the European Union comes out with stuff that makes me want Texas to go back to being Mexico, and then back to being Spain.

The latest in sustainability news from across the pond is that in 2021, the Old World is saying no to Euro-trash, and insisting on implementing:

Right to repair laws
Higher sustainable materials quotas
Ease of transfer for replaced items (ie: letting you sell your old phone without the need for jailbreaking anything)
and Universal adaptors for things like phone chargers, and connection cables

Hallelujah!

Consumers worldwide have been feeling the pinch of realizing their (cough cough, mostly Apple brand) technology not only breaks easily, but either can’t be fixed afterwards, or requires costly branded repairs.

The phenomenon has given rise to rogue mobile repair shops, Reddit threads, and renegade fix-it philanthropists like Louis Rossman. And while they certainly HELP, the best thing for a problem is to cut it off proactively. Since companies were making too much money not picking up the slack, the EU’s decided to take the steps to force their hands.

I’m always on my soapbox, but I’ll stack another one on top for this: Planned obsolescence and the assumption that a company has any right to tell you you can’t repair, restore, revamp, or re-home your own possessions are obscene. And to be fair to Apple fans, it’s not just in tech—it’s in damn near everything that’s not meant to be EATEN. Literally.

I bought a STAPLER for a volunteer gig I had. A good, sturdy Staedtler one that I figured would serve the project and continue to stand me in good stead for a while. After a few dozen price tags attached to baggies, the stapler jammed, as staplers do. No worries, you find a knife and wedge out the stuck staple…except I couldn’t. Because the normal slot for that was covered by a metal plate literally welded in place so that I couldn’t perform a grade-school level fix on something I paid for less than 24 hours prior.

Rather than stand behind a product that’s supposed to last, companies, even down to simple office ware, have opted to tinker away to force consumers to trash their current products to buy newer ones. Which I did in the stapler case. A rusty second hand one that didn’t HAVE that retroactive BS ‘Let’s create a problem’ plate on it, meaning no company but the resale non-profit I was helping out in the first place got any more money from me.

Consumers are wising up, and fewer lawmakers are still stuck in the fog of the 90s and 2000s surrounding our everyday machinery. The gray areas are settling into solid black and white, and SMART smart-businesses here stateside will change their colors accordingly.

Now while we’re all still quarantined and hoping for these laws to wash up onto American shores…who has craft ideas for the five-dozen different chargers we all have?

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Business Marketing

Uber Eats waives delivery fees during COVID-19 quarantine

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Uber eats has decided to take a friendly helpful step forward while everyone seems to be quarantined, they have started to waive delivery fees!

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Uber eats

With everything canceled, including dining out for social distancing’s sake, food delivery service Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees in an effort to lessen the financial strain local restaurants are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the company, Uber Eats has more than 100,000 independent local restaurants on its app. In addition to Uber Eats, Grubhub said it will waive commission fees up to $100 million for independent restaurants across the country.

“As more people stay home, local restaurants need your business more than ever. That’s why we’re waiving the Delivery Fee for all orders from every independent restaurant on Uber Eats—more than 100,000 local restaurants on the app,” the company said in a news release earlier this week.

To find the local independent restaurants on Uber Eats, just look for the EAT LOCAL banner. Delivery fees will automatically be waived, according to this story on Tech Crunch.

Uber Eats is also making it easier for locally run restaurants to get paid faster, offering daily payments rather than the normal weekly payouts, according to Endgadget. Also, the company is giving back saying it will provide 300,000 free meals to health care workers and first responders in the US and Canada.

Not only will waiving fees help restaurants and customers, it’s sound business for food delivery companies. Local restaurants drive roughly 80 percent of business on Grubhub.

“Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities,” Grubhub Founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement published on Endgadget. “They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need. Our business is their business — so this was an easy decision for us to make.”

To limit human interaction Uber Eats and other food delivery services, including Grubhub, Postmates, and Instacart, are encouraging users to select the no-contact delivery method. According to Uber Eats, as is the norm, once packed at the restaurant food items are not touched or opened.

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