The old saying " You scratch my back and I will scratch yours" is a great segue into obtaining SUPER referrals. After, what I thought, was endless self marketing, I realized that many small local business were a great way to get my name out to the public quickly for FREE!
First of all, I located several small business in my focus areas that are doing great business, such as those Mom -and-Pop chains that are part of areas history, new shops that generate lots of business, and other small companies that are small but have become a quick overnight attraction. Next, I pay them a visit to get a feel for the business and of course, sample their wares. Most of the time, the are truly exceptional! I always make it a point to talk to the owner/manager about how great their service and product was for me. My goal here is to be remembered for my praise (I am always honest). I always let them know I will be back to enjoy their service/product again and ALWAYS GET A BUSINESS CARD and the owner/manager's name. Bear in mind, this is just my first visit.
With the information I gather, I add it to my TEAM PROSPECTS portfolio (a simple business card holder, MARKED PROSPECT), prepare a letter to send to the owner/manager again stating my satisfaction with their service and products. In this letter I let them know I will follow up with a call to schedule a date that I can meet with owner/manager for 15 minutes to discuss how I, as a Realtor would love to help them by providing referral to their business. I always give the business a phone call two days later to verify my letter was received and to confirm a the meeting. Here is a sample of my phone script:
Business owner: Hello?
Me: May I please speak to Robert Owner? (Owner/Manager)
Business Owner: This is Robert. How can I help you?
Me: Robert, This is Aja Iglesias-Terrell, I visited your bakery last week and had your heavenly carrot cake. I wanted to know if you received my letter I sent you about increasing your business. Is this a good time to talk?
Business Owner: Oh, yes! I did get your letter, and thank you for the compliments. Sure. I have a few minutes.
Me: Well, Robert. I as you know from my letter I am a Realtor and I come in contact with all types of people each day buying and selling a home. Many people I come in contact with ask me to refer a them to services that are best in town. Since so many of my clients have asked me for referrals, I decided to create a gift for my clients that includes several local business that I highly recommend. I call it my Business Greats. Robert, do you like to work with client that are referred to you?
Business Owner: Definitely!
Me: I am sure I can help you add to your business growth for FREE! Would you mind if we schedule a time within the next three days that I can come and get about 50 of your business cards to help you increase your business?
Business Owner: Not at all, I would appreciate that.
Me: Robert, I was also wondering if you would be comfortable referring me to your friends and client?
Business Owner: Not a problem, I would love to.
Me: Robert, with your permission, when I stop by to pick up your business cards, I'll leave some of mine with you, this way we can refer each other. I will also, leave a copy of my Business Greats gift pack for you. Is Tuesday, the 15th around 10am fine for you?
Business Owner: Sounds great.
Me: Robert, thank you much. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. By the way, can you have one of your scrumptious carrot cakes ready for me to purchase. I truly love your cakes.
This is my way of gaining reciprocal business from local business and yes, it truly works. I was just contacted by a client that was referred from my favorite local bakery.
Good luck to you all!