The gurus vary a bit on the exact statistic, but all will tell you: Top salespeople in virtually every industry become that way because they have developed the habit of sending personal, heart-felt “Thank You” cards to their customers. As a result — they get more referrals (a lot more referrals) — and consistently out perform their competitors by as much as 10 to 1.
Most Realtors (and Lenders, Insurance Agents, & Financial Advisors for that matter) know this — but fewer than 5% do it consistently. Fewer still, actually use this simple strategy to ask for referrals.
For these categories particularly, REFERRALS are the lifeblood of their business. In my town (Atlanta), the President of any given networking organization (BNI, Le’ Tip, Power Core, Freedom Builders . . . you name it), is almost always from one of these fields. It’s a good strategy. It works. But that’s just it — It’s one good strategy.
One good strategy — that can easily be 10X more effective by putting a new twist on the proven discipline of sending “Thank You” cards.
STEP ONE: Re-dedicate yourself to consistently sending “Thank You” cards to your customers. Even if you do it the old fashioned way (There’s a better way — a completely automated, yet incredibly personalized way — and it costs a great deal less) . . . but even if you do this the old fashioned way of going to the local card store, sitting at your desk to write each note, stuff and stamp the envelope . . . the ROI is phenomenal.
STEP TWO: Send “Thank You” Cards to the people you buy from.
ALMOST NO ONE DOES THIS (maybe 5% of the 5% who do anything with “Thank You” cards at all) — and it’s Pure Gold !!!
STEP THREE: Send “Thank You” cards to people from your networking groups when they give you referrals. (I sometimes include a Starbucks gift card.)
STEP FOUR: Use personalized greeting cards for “cross promotion” with your networking group members — to their expanded network.
Buy cards that are blank on the inside (or use the “better way” Referral System my clients & I do). On one side: a note from you, briefly explaining that (Jerry) suggested (Don) might be interested in knowing about you and your product / service. On the other side: a brief note from (Jerry) endorsing you. The card is addressed from (Jerry) and sent to people he knows and likes . . . people who know & trust him.
This costs you next to nothing, and will generate referrals for you and Jerry both. Include Jerry’s picture above his note, and this card will live on his friend’s desk or refrigerator indefinitely. People don’t throw away cards with their friends’ pictures in them.
STEP FIVE: Send just 2 unexpected cards a year (Thank You, Congratulations, Happy New Year **, whatever) to each customer, vendor, and networking contact in your database.
** I sent Happy New Year’s cards this year — with Stone’s 2007 Resolutions . . . Huge Hit !!! Several in-bound phone calls, often starting with “Thanks for the card, I’ve been meaning to call you . . .”
FINAL TIP: If you periodically attend those more general networking events (like Chamber and Association meetings) — you can (and should) let the other person do all the talking. All you need is their business card after the conversation. (Sometimes I’ll write a little note on the back — one specific thing from the conversation.) Send them a “Nice Meeting” you card. Again, precious few in your field or any other do this. Include your picture, and you’ll be amazed at the response.
Yeah — Great Ideas, but now the cat’s out of the bag. Everyone will start doing this.
Think again . . .
No, what “everyone” will be doing (if anything) is the same old tired company sponsored newsletter / postcard program (I get ’em every week).
Fewer than 5% — the 5% who consistently source articles like this to explore ideas for growing their business — will see this article. Fewer still will take the actions I’m recommending. (For some, it’s just too simple and too inexpensive to work.)
That leaves you . . . the less than 1/4 of 1% of Realtors who will start applying this simple, effective 5 point strategy — and begin generating more referrals than you can handle.
Enjoy ! . . . and please share your Success Stories with me.