By Deven Chase, managing partner at Elite Homes US.
For entrepreneurs, success occurs in different forms. We experience peaks, valleys, plateaus and sometimes seasonal rhythms. Let's face it -- all business owners end up in uncharted territory at some point. When this happens, it's helpful to remember the lessons you've learned along the way.
One of the most valuable lessons I've learned in business relates to referral business and its true importance. The gradual increase of referrals in our business serves as the catalyst to our success since our initial inception. So, what's the key to obtaining good referrals? The concept is simple: When you go above and beyond to satisfy your clients, better business will abound. It's a cycle that's reciprocal in every sense of the word.
My company recently closed $1M in closed real estate transactions in just a few months from a single referral. While we were commissioned to find a home for a client with very particular needs, we ran into a hiccup that could have cost us the home and the buyer's deposit: our out-of-state lender had suddenly become unresponsive just days before the end of our due-diligence period.
Fortunately for us, the lender had a remote, employees-only processing center nearby. I decided to show up to speak with my client's loan officer (LO), who seemed surprised to see me. I reminded him that we had a mutual client who was in jeopardy of losing her deposit funds, and brought up the timelines that his team had overlooked. I also brought along printed emails and our contract as proof. After a 15-minute discussion, the LO promised to pick up the slack -- and he did.
Our deal was back on track, and we successfully closed the transaction for our client. Months later, I got a call from the same LO stating that he and his family of six were in the market to purchase a home, and he remembered how much of an advocate I was for our previous client. Although I was a bit shocked, I obliged and successfully found a home for them, which we closed 30 days later without a hitch.
Then, about a month later, he called me again, this time with two referrals. I thanked him and took the information, and within 30 more days, both new clients successfully purchased a condo. One of them even left us a positive Yelp review. Had we not been available and also willing to go "to bat" for our clients, we wouldn't have gotten new business.
This is a testament to our business ethic and standard, proving that when you commit to putting your clients first, you can unlock future business. When new entrepreneurs ask us for advice, I often share these three tips:
- Be responsive. Be the first to set the tone in your newly acquired business relationships. Don't let too much time pass between emails or communication. Respond within 24 hours, max. You always want to be top-of-mind to them, and your clients want you to have the same impression of them.
- Be resourceful. Ask questions, and be prepared to be asked questions in return. The dynamic between you and your business contact should be engaging and balanced. Don't be afraid to look for answers that you may not know right away. Your client doesn't expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you have good acumen.
- Establish communication boundaries. This ties it all in. The risk of under-communicating is much higher than over-communicating, so develop a rapport with your clients and let them know you'll keep them in the loop. They will often tell you how informed they prefer to be in a business transaction. This way, the relationship is even-keeled.
Just remember: Servicing your clients and exceeding their expectation levels are the not-so-secret secret of good business. This serves as a mantra in our business paradigm as we continue creating an exemplary industry standard by which to operate.
Deven Chase is a managing partner of Elite Homes U.S.