5 Ways to Get More Referrals From Your Sphere

Services for Real Estate Pros with Adwerx

As a busy real estate agent, you’re looking for ways to grow your business. Aside from making a carbon copy of yourself or finding a time machine, there is a way to help you do more in less time: automate.


Marketing automation, also known as programmatic marketing, is the process of taking a marketing tactic and using technology to make it less of a manual process. Because the goal is to stay in touch with the connections that will send you most of your business -- more than 60% of a real agent’s business comes from friends, family and referrals from past clients. That’s your sphere of influence.


Regularity is good. Consistency is good. Value is key. But it’s about the right mix of touches -- how you reach out and what you offer when you do. And automation doesn’t mean you become an automaton.


But this isn’t about “setting and forgetting.” You can automate, but in a personalized way, advises speaker and technology-advisor Jeff Lobb. “Why not build a relationship with that person versus sending crap they have no interest in?” he asks. “You say you don't have time? Then you don't have time to make new sales.”


Andrea Sutton agrees. “Don’t be that agent who calls the first Tuesday of every month,” she says on the Ready Agent blog. “Try different activities to engage your sphere. Send personal, handwritten notes. Make positive comments on their Facebook posts. Send them a recommendation of a great new restaurant in town.”


These different activities and varied types of touches are what make up a good sphere strategy. “Memories are simply created when a connection is made, however brief it may be,” as famed coach Tom Ferry says. And there are many different tools available to help real estate agents automate and deliver on these touches.


1. Email newsletters


Email is ranked as the #1 preferred communication channel by consumers to find out about a new product/service and for post-purchase follow-up about that product/service.

How often?

1 - 2 times a month is plenty.


What should you say?

Newsletters can hold a lot of content. But many newsletter services populate the content for you, and that’s a no-no. As Geeky Girl Laurie Weston Davis points out, “Canned emails are about as good as canned vegetables. You can choke them down if necessary.”


So mix it up! Keller Williams agent Mark Slade does this with his newsletter. Include community calendars and local news, even funny YouTube clips. Feature a local business or a trusted service provider. You can tease the content and link off to your blog for the complete story or put all the information in your email.


What matters here is that it’s your content, specific to your sphere of influence. Don’t send seller content to agents. Don’t send agent content to home buyers.




2. Postcards

How often?

Postcards are often triggered communications -- a specific action initiates a mailing. An open house, a recent listing or sale. But with EDDM, you can target those to specific neighborhoods.


What should you say?

Direct mail is alive and well, but remember that people open their mail over the trashcan. Keep your message short, your graphics high resolution and always include your contact info!




3. Digital ads

How often?

Digital ads are passive and non-intrusive, so about once a day is right about right. Digital ads help you stay top of mind with the people in your network, without filling up their inbox, their mailbox or their voicemail.


With most people knowing anywhere from three to five different real estate agents, the pressure is on you to be the one they think of first for that highly valued referral. And when you’ve been in front of them on the web sites they visit every day, or in their Facebook feed, you’re more likely to be that agent.


Adwerx makes it easy with a simple ad builder that helps you broadcast the ad to your specific network, and only on the web sites they visit.


What should you say?

Use strong, benefit-driven messages that describe what sets you apart. Short, powerful calls to action that make it clear what you want users to know or do. And make sure you link to a landing page that reflects your audience. It should refer to how much you value repeat and referral business and offer something of value in return.



4. Phone calls

How often?


Frequency may vary depending on the relationship you have with your sphere. And coaches also vary, but one rule of thumb is to reach out to five people in your sphere everyday.


What should you say?

If you really aren’t sure what to say to each person in your sphere, try a script. But don’t feel tied to it, or the conversation will be stilted and do more harm than good. Scripts are ideas, conversation-starters and pointed questions to help you understand who might be thinking about buying or selling sometime soon.




5. Events

How often?

Events are time consuming and expensive, but can pay off in huge ways. Once a year is the minimum. Once a quarter is probably the maximum (unless you’re Steven David Elliot!).


What should you say?

This is more about what the theme of your event should be. There are dozens of blog posts with great idea such as event marketing guidelines from this post on Inman, a list of places to host such parties from Marketing Ideas for Agents,  and great seasonal ideas from RealtorMag.



The right mix, or recipe as it were, is something unique and specific to you as a real estate agent. But it’s also tempting to automate every aspect of your connection, noted agents Ray Hustek and Carie Igel of Fathom Realty. “It’s easy to get lazy with technology,” they warn. The “But bottom line is this: it’s about the people you touch and the relationships you build.”


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Best Practices
sphere of influence
real estate marketing
real estate best practices

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Automating in a personalized way solves both ends of the spectrum and the needs of the customer and the business. :)

Mar 07, 2017 05:38 PM #1
Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

All great ideas Jed.  Thanks for putting this list of ideas together. 

Mar 07, 2017 08:52 PM #3
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Great post.

#1 I have to disagree, newsletters are fading. "Oh boy another newsletter to read, when I have novels on my shelf I still need to read"...not seeing it as a viable #1, maybe #100.

#2-#5 great advice!

Mar 07, 2017 09:42 PM #4
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

#3 - been there, done that, not working, waste of money. Too much noise out there, like print advertising.

Mar 09, 2017 05:54 AM #5
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I thought about these even more lately and expanding to more mews oriented things in the email.

Mar 09, 2017 08:06 AM #6
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I can see the print advertising is great when you can afford it and also Facebook is really affordable Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR

Mar 09, 2017 08:08 AM #7
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Thanks for the tips. It all starts with the ask!

Mar 09, 2017 08:09 AM #8
Foster Smith Summerville
Carolina One Real Estate - Summerville, SC
Summerville & Charleston Homes for Sale SC Realtor

Great tips! 

Mar 09, 2017 10:16 AM #9
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Would appreciate hearing from others (particularly any LOs) as to what kind of "events" they do, beyond seminars.  It's the suggestion on your list that I seem to find challenging ...


Mar 09, 2017 11:16 AM #10
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

How about a client appreciation party Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi . I did a pie give away the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and worked with one of my loan officers to pull it off. I wrote about it in my blog. Start with  Part 1Part 2 and then Part 3 to find out about it. Ended up with 4 referrals. 

Mar 09, 2017 06:17 PM #11
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Productive agents work with satisfied customers through referral. We have several new agents making 7 figures.  They don't have a website and waste no money in advertising. They call pumping for more referrals. Often they are also dead serious buyers. The interest rate is going up those last year procrastinate need to get serious as it will hit 5% interest rate this year. Now it still looks cheap money.

Mar 09, 2017 07:21 PM #12
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

A great topic and lots of great feedback about what is working and what may not be as effective.  Thanks for the tips.

Mar 09, 2017 08:15 PM #13
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

I think there will always be discussion about what works and what doesn't in terms of working with your sphere of influence, based on your market and your individual strengths.  I think the real key is trying several different ideas, tracking your results and then remaining consistent in your execution of the ones that provide the highest return.  Good post!

Mar 10, 2017 12:07 PM #14
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

If only I could clone myself to have time to do all of this!! Fortunately what I do to keep in touch is working--a combination of postcards, birthday cards, drop off seasonal items and the occasional lunch/coffee.

Mar 10, 2017 01:50 PM #15
Rob Lang
At Home Kansas - Lawrence, KS
Local Expert in Lawrence Kansas Real Estate Homes

Read this Jed and then had to go send out another email newsletter.  Thanks for the reminders.

Mar 10, 2017 10:30 PM #16
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Alot of good information here.  Thanks for the Post! Consistency is key to anything we do!

Mar 11, 2017 08:46 PM #17
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Great list of ideas and suggestions. Not too much and not too little.

I agree that building relationships should be a major focus.


Mar 13, 2017 02:57 PM #18
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Greaet ideas!  Unfortunately I just signed on to a "canned" newsletter where they write my content.  I interviewed a couple of agents and asked for any and all feedback and should have axed it right there.  No one could say open rate, etc.  Oh well, another lesson learned. I'll add another email to clients with more personal info.  Thanks for the tips!

Mar 20, 2017 08:05 PM #19
Jed Carlson
Adwerx - Durham, NC
CEO. Entrepreneur. Dad.

You have to try everything to see what works, Jan. Good idea to poll fellow agents. Our friends at Contactually and Happy Grasshopper have some good content to combat the canned stuff... good luck!

Mar 21, 2017 04:54 AM #20
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jed Carlson

CEO. Entrepreneur. Dad.
Ask me a question
Spam prevention