Whenever you hear the term “referral letter marketing", as a Realtor, what immediately comes to mind? I'll bet you $20 you figure I'm talking about getting letters of recommendation and testimonials from your past clients, correct?
That can also be an amazing marketing method for Realtors. Although, I'm talking about getting yourself an overflow of clients sent to you by professionals like attorneys, contractors, CPA's and landscapers. And all you'll need is a “down-to-earth" letter that you jot down yourself.
Here's the referral letter marketing method for Realtors or agents in a nutshell: make a list of professionals that are likely to have clients that could potentially be your clients too. Then, sending it by regular mail, pen a personal letter to your list of respected professionals.
Be sure you get unique and use an envelope that stands out from every other white, stock envelope in the mail. Be certain to follow up by phone, if you can, with each professional that you've sent your letter to.
Many Sharp Realtors and agents borrow this single marketing method to fuel their real estate businesses for their entire careers!
Initially, let's create a list of professionals that truly have the clients you could work with. . .
- Loan Officers (likely goes without saying, right?)
- Financial Planners (certified)
- Real Estate Lawyers
- Building Contractors
- Title Reps
- Electricians (residential or maybe commercial, depending on your business)
- Plumbing Contractors
- Landscape Contractors
- Makes sense?
That list should get you off and running but there's several more you can add in the future.
You're probably questioning how to get all these professional's info to market to, right? Wonderful question, glad you asked. You've got a pair of options but they depend on your marketing budget.
Searching through the yellow pages, on-line, is a cheap choice. As a Realtor, you already have a “farm area" you work in so you'll want to keep within those borders. With the yellow pages alternative, the downside is that it can be time consuming.
You have to run through each person listed and get their name, phone number and mailing address. Like I said, this may require a bit of time but it's free of charge.
Another alternative for building this marketing list of professionals is to easily buy a list. Exactly as you're on a “Realtor list" out there someplace for sale, these professionals are on lists that the general public might buy as well.
These types of lists aren't unethical at all (unfortunately for several of us). Several folks don't know but these types of lists are compiled and available for sale if professionals, like us real estate agents, join an association or offer their info to a publication that they subscribe to.
Surprised? Now you get why you get so much real estate junk mail and email.
When it comes to buying this list of professionals, you have a crowd of list companies to select from. Whichever list company you choose, ideally, they should provide you with each profession you'll need for your list, rather than going to a separate company for each profession. Buying your list will cost you some marketing dollars but you'll save yourself a pant load of torment and working hours.
Whether you choose to pay money for your list or compile it yourself, as soon as you have it, you can start off crafting your referral letter for these professionals. Regrettably, copywriting is a topic of its own and we simply can't get into it right now, or else you'll be studying a novel today. Learning to create sales copy is a long matter by itself.
All you need to grasp right now is that this letter can't be “salesy" like a letter you'd send to your farm list of homeowners.
Whenever one of the professionals on your list gets your letter, you want them to feel as if they're the only person who received it, even if you may replicate it and mail it to the remainder of your list.
The trick is penning your letter as if you were speaking to each professional in-person. Do not be like your local bank and write some kind of “this is so boring I could vomit" referral marketing letter. Catch the reader's interest, write to them like a sincere person and not like an institution.
The crux of your letter absolutely must explain that you'd wish to start a reciprocally beneficial, professional relationship with them (but express it in a personal way, of course). The end result you're looking for is to be their preferred Realtor for all their clients who need real estate services. Specify for these professionals however they will gain without “selling" them, make sense?
If you know something personal about their company or the area they work in, throw it in the letter. If a professional has helped a customer you know, feel free to write that in your letter also. It's difficult to get “too" personal in these letters unless you decide to blab about their momma, which I wouldn't recommend.
I'd strongly recommend that you pen your referral letter yourself, rather than hire somebody else to do it. However, if there's no chance you'll even ponder about writing your own referral letter, then go ahead and employ a free-lance copywriter to take care of it for you.
Perform a Google search for “self-employed writers" and you'll understand some companies to select from. On some of them you can sift through self-employed writers from all over the country and world. The excellent thing is a few of these companies allow you check reviews on each writer, how much they charge and even reach them with “interview questions". On various sites, you can place an opening for the project you need written and have independent writers apply to you. It's really pretty convenient.
Ok, so now that you have your marketing list and referral letter scripted, it's time to mail it out. Only please don't simply send it in a plain white envelope similar to everyone else. . . please, please, please!
Search for a mailing package or another envelope that will stick out among all the mail these professionals will be sorting through. The idea is that you want your mailing piece to stand out amongst every other letter that professional is receiving that day. Also, a great way to personalize your letter and have it opened, is to have the mailing and return addresses hand-scripted.
Ponder about how you prioritize your mail. The letters that seem to be hand-scripted get opened first, correct?
The next thing you want to do is enclose a unique marketing piece, aside from your referral letter. One marketing suggestion would be to put together a video with Animoto, burn it on a DVD and send it with your letter.
One of my friends, a life insurance salesman, sent out a similar mailing and included poker chips with his contact info on them. His slogan on the poker chips was “Don't Gamble on Your Life".
Isn't that brilliant? That's the sort of creative idea you need in order to stick out from your competition, or at least you want to understand where to get the ideas!
With this referral letter, make certain you specify for these professionals to not just call your phone, if they want, but also to check out your blog or website. Offer them the choice but make certain you give them both. You can never tell who hates talking on the phone and who hates looking at websites.
This last step is probably the most crucial. Repetition is crucial with any marketing method you choose, particularly when mailing letters, as we're talking about. Marketing industry stats demonstrate a consumer needs to see your message or hear from you at least 7 times before they become familiar enough with you to act.
So it's evidently important to keep following-up with these professionals on your list. After you've sent your initial referral letter, try following up by regular mail or a telephone call about 1 time a month. If you have their e-mail address, you can start using that for the follow ups also.
The thing to lookout for is coming on too forceful and smothering them, much like a dating relationship. You don't need to let them fail to remember who you are but you also don't want to be calling or mailing them every other day.
As a side note, if you have the marketing funds but don't have the time, think about hiring a teen or college kid to stuff these mailers. Your college kid or teenager can stuff all the envelopes and address them but I'd still recommend for you to write the referral letter yourself.
In all sincerity, when it comes to Realtor marketing tips, referral letter marketing will set you up as a top real estate agent for years and years to come. Ultimately, this marketing method can give you a free stream of leads and prospects that can build you into a top producing Realtor or agent, as long as you stick with it and form these referral relationships correctly.
If you truly help these professionals as much as you need them to help you, your closings will increase and you'll work your way up to being the top real estate agent in your neighbourhood.
Shiloh Street University is an online marketing school for Realtors, dedicated to “Creating Wealthy Agents through World-Class Marketing" by providing step-by-step video on cutting-edge tips to generate Realtor leads through top producing Realtor advertising advice.