Monday, January 14, 2008

The Best Referral Compliment I've Ever Received

What a way to start my day on a Monday morning!

I received this letter from a client, in response to a phone call to him last week. He is the Sales manager for his firm, which will go unnamed. His message was sent to his sales staff. This is his exact e-mail:

A word about growing your business:

The other day, I got a phone call from my Realtor. How is it that he is "my Realtor"? Really, he's a salesman who helped me with a large purchase five years ago. He's "my Realtor" because he made my purchase easy, because he is likable, and because he does good follow-up. I get a card, a call, or an e-mail from him every 90 days, plus one on either my birthday or the anniversary of my purchase.

Would you qualify to have your customer call you "my car expert"?

When my Realtor called on Wednesday, he got right to business. "The reason I'm calling," he said, "is that I've been looking at whether I can help save you some money on your property taxes."

Do you capture your clients' interest effectively when you call them?

"Based on your State Equalized Value, the government taxes your house as though it were worth $XXX,000. I assumed that, based on market conditions, your house might be worth less than the taxable value, maybe even less than you paid five years ago."

Do your clients believe that you think about their best interests?

"But when I did the research, it turns out that your house is worth $20,000 more than the taxable value - a good bit more than you paid. Your house has done very well."

How do you go about complimenting your clients on their wise choices?

I took the bait. "Wait a minute," I interrupted, "Now, I'm not in the market, but you're telling me that if you were going to list my house today, that you'd list it for $YYY,000?" (That number would represent a profit for me over what I paid). "Yes," my Realtor replied, "that's exactly what I am saying."

Can you draw you clients into the market today, or do you wait and hope that they'll call you?

"The interesting thing," he continued, "is that when I have run the analysis for other clients in Ann Arbor, they've seen market values below the taxable values - so they can make an argument to the assessor for a lower tax bill. And, it means that there are some buying opportunities right now, especially in homes that are a next step up from yours. Would you like me to email you some of those opportunities?"

How often do you ask clients for a sale?

I said yes. Of course, he emailed me before we got off the phone!

Do you follow-through quickly and completely?

"Before I let you go, just one other question," he asked, "I know that you're not in the market at the moment, but I do have a house rather similar to yours - do you know of anyone, maybe somebody you work with, who is looking for a house like yours?"

Are your clients comfortable providing you as a referral?

If you're looking for a house, or looking to market yours, allow me to mention that my Realtor is Vance Shutes. He's an associate broker with Real Estate One, in the Briarwood Circle office. His office number is 662-8600 x430 and his email is

Make sure you mention that I sent you - he has a referral program.

Will your clients be your advocate? Do they know about your referral program?

I won't answer the phone if someone calls and tells me that they're checking in. I won't listen if they want to know how they can help. But when a salesman calls me for a reason; with a message; because he can show me how he can help - suddenly I am interested.

Do you have a plan when you make the phone calls scheduled in Rey-Rey, or do you just go through the motions? Are you working smart and growing your business?

Like I said, this is the finest letter I've ever received!

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