The Ultimate Referral

A Floyd Wickman Blog by Mike Pallin When a play or musical opens on Broadway, when do the cast, crew, writer, producer, director, backers and audience find out if the production is going to close after one performance, or enjoy a long and profitable run?

They all find out when the reviews come out. It’s a New York theater tradition to go out for breakfast (or celebration) after opening night and wait for the early morning papers with the critics’ reviews. They can make you or break you.

But today, the internet is just as powerful.

When a new ebook hits Amazon, how can an author or publisher know what kind of sales to expect? Digital reviews. They are immediate and powerful. They can create a best seller.

When a musician takes the stage and premieres a new song, the immediate audience reaction can forecast how many paid downloads they get, but social media reaction is just as good a predictor.

When a new movie opens wide in theaters, studios look at box office receipts, and then keep a close watch on the twitterverse. It has been called word-of-mouth, or buzz. There are sites that gauge positive or negative word of mouth and buzz, like rottentomatoes.com.

In the art world, reviews come in two flavors – the professional critics’ considered opinion, and the court of popular opinion. As Floyd has said many times, “No one ever built a monument to a critic,” but through the immediacy of social media, we have all become critics.

We are saying to the old-guard critics like Siskel & Ebert and the Bosley Crowthers of this world, “I was there! I just saw it, or heard it, or read it, and my opinion counts, too.”

It used to be thought of as true that you can’t manufacture word-of-mouth. Today, you can’t prevent it. Looking for a plumber? Used to be, we’d ask our friends if they knew someone reliable. Today, we go to Angie’s List and rely on posted reviews.

What, then, is the ultimate good review you can receive as a real estate agent? A referral from a happy client, of course. The Referral Lead Generator is one of the Core Skills we teach in Floyd’s program, and one of the foundations of building a saleable Book of Business.

Is there a way to leverage happy clients and proactively generate business in addition to individual referrals?

Yes! Case in point. One of the teams we coach in R Squared has done three Zillow Review campaigns so far this year. They call happy past clients and ask them to post a Zillow Review. During each campaign, on average 9 have said yes they will. 5 actually did. By the way, keeping in touch with past clients is a really, really good idea. Getting them to agree to post a review, just like getting them to do a video testimonial, is mostly a matter of asking if they would and showing them how to.

This team chose Zillow because that’s one of the most common sites homeowners visit when they are looking for valuation information. Makes sense. Go where the consumer goes.

As a result of posting reviews, they went to the top of the search food chain, and received unsolicited inq uiries that resulted in 6 new listings. All 6 of them have sold, generating an extra $23,000 in gross commission income.

One of the first big changes the internet brought into our real estate practice was home buyers shopping first on the web. Today, over 90% of all property searches begin there. Thankfully, over 90% of home purchases are still agent assisted.

Honey, you feel like going to a movie tonight? Oh, yeah, what’s good? I don’t know. Let’s check rottentomoatoes.com.

Honey, the A/C unit is on the fritz, again. We have to get it fixed. Let’s check angieslist.com and see who’s reliable.

Honey, with the kids gone, we don’t need all this room in this big old house anymore. Let’s put it on the market. I know, but there are so many agents out there. How do you know who’s any good?

What’s the best way to get listing appointments? Have them ask for you! If you have happy clients, get their stories out there working for you on social media.

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Repetition