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8 Steps to Staying Top-of-Mind Without Sounding Like a Robot

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In a market where inventory is tight and listings are king, referrals are more critical than ever. Real estate agents report that they expect 49% of their business this year to come from referrals alone. Unfortunately those referrals don't appear on their own; they come through building relationships with clients and former clients—and maintaining those relationships long after a home is bought or sold. More often than not, agents and small business folks tend to rely too heavily on automated emails that end up making them sound robotic and less than genuine. If you plan on getting worthwhile referrals, you'll need to establish your relationships in a more personalized way—while still taking advantage of automation where you can.

With that in mind, we polled 150 of our top residential real estate agent users to find out their secrets to building a robust referral pipeline. Here are a few of their market-proven strategies for staying top-of-mind in genuine, relevant ways.

1. Offer value or help

Think about how many emails you get on a weekly basis (too many!). Don't send out yet another semi-personalized drip email ("Hi [insert name] + prefabricated content"), thinking the recipients will appreciate your effort to keep in touch. It's more likely that the email will go into their promotions or spam folder, and chances are it won't be read, either, before it's deleted. Instead, provide value in the form of convenience, assistance, or special deals.

2. Leverage relationships with vendors.

Send an email offering to call and share the contact information of plumbers, painters, carpenters, cleaners, gardeners, and other professional service people. This offer has both the advantage of underscoring you as a source of expertise in all things home-related and allowing you to speak with the email recipient by phone versus just being a name behind an email. Depending on your relationships with your book of vendors, you can also consider asking them to offer discounted rates to your clients in exchange for your referring them.