Some businesses advertise extensively to find new customers or clients. Others depend on referrals and repeat business from past clients. I am certainly in the latter. After 25 years, I have helped hundreds and hundreds of families buy and sell homes. And now over 90% of my business is from past clients and referrals.
The value of one simple referral was brought home to me at a recent network meeting. Years ago I was in a similar group. One referral from that group has meant 11 transactions, more than $6,000,000 in volume over the years and is continuing to provide dividends to this day.
In this blog, I would like to trace the business generated from that referral. It is not done to toot my own horn but to challenge those in business for themselves to think about
* how important service is to each and every client and
*to think about how it came about that you met your current clients which likely causes refocus on customer service.
Whether a $50,000 condo or a multi million dollar mansion, my service level is the same. I believe everybody deserves my best because, well, they just do. A home purchase or sale is one of the largest financial investments in a person’s lifetime. I need to make sure every buyer and seller gets top notch service. But selfishly, when I look at a client, I see beyond the one transaction and see a lifetime of opportunities with that individual and a lifetime of introductions to their friends, family and colleagues. I will only get that future business and those introductions if I deliver service above and beyond what was expected.
Look at the following trail of business to see that philosophy in action. I am in real estate but the same referral tree can grow in almost any endeavor. The number of transactions and price points are accurate but the names and the towns have been changed. In fact, see if you can identify the source of each of the names. Hint – all from the same medium. Answers at the bottom.
Do you know these people?
It all started in 2006 when Aunt Bea referred her friends Ward and June who wanted to sell their home in Fairfax and retire south. ($635,000)
I held open Ward and June’s home and at the open met JR & Sue Ellen, JR introduced me to his brother Bobby. Bobby and his wife Pam bought a home in Vienna VA for $535,000 in 2007.
When the downturn happened in 2009, JR, Sue Ellen, Bobby and Pam bought an investment townhome in Reston VA for $195,000.
In 2011, Miss Ellie, mother of Bobby and JR, also wanted to buy an investment property ($398,000)
Now, Sue Ellen went to college with Claire who married Cliff. Claire and Cliff moved to Oakton in 2010 and I helped them buy a home ($675,000)
Back to Ward and June. Living next to them were Lucy and Ricky. I met them at the open as well. Unfortunately Lucy and Ricky split up. I sold their home in 2009. ($540,000). Then for the first and only time in my career, both spouses used me to buy their new home. Usually only one spouse moves forward with me. Anyway, those two homes totaled another $1,100,000.
Sam and Diane responded to an ad on Lucy and Ricky’s’ home but it was not for them. However, they bought a new townhome in Centreville for $535,000.
A few years later Sam and Diane decide the sell the townhome for $580,000 and buy a single family in Vienna Va for $675,000.
Through Sam and Diane I met Frasier who will be selling his home. I have also had conversation with Sue Ellen’s mother and other family members about real estate needs in the future. And on and on.
The point again, is that good service breeds future business. I am proud and honored that my name has been forwarded to so many people. I am especially honored when I get referred to family members and particularly mothers. When a client refers their mother, well, that is as good as it gets..
If you are in business for yourself, take time to do a “family tree” of your business. If most of it is coming from expensive advertising, maybe it is time to think about this post. Of course, advertising will also be a percentage of any business but nothing beats word of mouth.
And The Answer Is…
As you probably guessed all of the names above are television characters.
Aunt Bea – Andy Griffith show
Ward and June – Leave it to Beaver
Jr, Sue Ellen, Bobby, Pam and Miss Ellie – Dallas
Cliff and Claire – The Cosby Show
Lucy and Ricky – The Lucy Show
Sam and Diane and Frasier – Cheers