5 creative ways to ask for real estate references


Asking for real estate references is often one of the most difficult parts of an agent’s job. Truth be told, it can be awkward to ask to work right away. Still, it’s important to understand that asking for references doesn’t always have to be an uncomfortable conversation.

To that end, we have five creative ways to ask for real estate references. Take a look at it so you can decide which strategies you want to incorporate into your marketing plan.

Real estate references: 5 interesting ideas

1. Host a customer appreciation event.

If you want to make the big guns stand out when asking for referrals, consider hosting a customer appreciation event. In real estate, a customer appreciation event is one that you organize to thank all of your former clients for their business. It can be as simple as inviting your customers to the park for a day of family fun, or as lavish as hosting a golf outing with prizes and giveaways.

Whatever type of event you choose, the crucial part is finding a thematically appropriate way to ask for referrals. Most of the time, agents will give their client a small farewell gift with the request for referral attached. It doesn’t have to be a direct request. You can incorporate a slogan such as “Referrals are the heart of my business.” Call me if you know of anyone looking to buy or sell their home.

2. Give pop-by gifts.

If hosting a full event for your clients to enjoy seems like a bit over your budget, consider delivering pop-by gifts instead. If you are not familiar with the concept, pop-by gifts are small gifts that you can give to your customer. Usually, the freebies have a catchy slogan that advertises your services. In this case, you would want the tagline to specifically ask for real estate references.

That said, pop-bys are a two-pronged marketing strategy. The reason this is called a “pop-by” is that the gift gives you an excuse to drop by your customer’s house unexpectedly. Ideally, they’ll be home when you stop to drop it off, and you can spend a few minutes catching up with them. At the end of the conversation, you can always ask them for a reference as well.

Then, if you have some free time in the evenings or on weekends, consider volunteering at community events. Put simply, while this might not be the most straightforward marketing tactic for real estate referrals, it will allow you to socialize with members of the community that you might not have met otherwise. You can always strike up a conversation in the midst of volunteering and casually mention that you are a real estate agent.

When you take this route, make sure you volunteer for a cause that is personally close to your heart. Not only will this be more intrinsically fulfilling, but if you are committed to the cause, you will be more likely to go above and beyond as a volunteer, which will help solidify your reputation in the community.

4. Attend a trade show.

Consider attending a trade show. In this case, you might want to be one of the vendors or sponsors. It is important that you can distribute promotional items or other marketing materials with your brand on it. Not to mention your business cards, which will display your contact details in plain view. Although, truth be told, the more items you can display with your contact details, the better.

In this case, the type of fair you choose to attend is critical. Ideally, you will want to choose something that is adjacent to real estate. For example, a home and garden lounge would be a great choice, as would anything related to vacations or vacation rentals.

5. Cross-promote with another professional in the industry.

Finally, you may want to consider cross-promoting with another professional in the industry, such as a lender or real estate lawyer. Here it is very important to know the laws and regulations of the RESPA. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a piece of legislation that governs how information is distributed to homebuyers during the buying process. However, it also regulates illegal practices on the part of industry professionals and contains strict guidelines regarding referrals.

Still, as long as you follow the law, it’s perfectly okay to get real estate references from another professional in the industry. You may be able to come to an agreement by mutually marketing services in your marketing materials, such as email drip campaigns or newsletters.

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