Category: Sales | Marketing
New Friend Gives Referral, What Do You Do?
I just moved to a new town, even though I lived here 15 years ago, it is like moving to someplace new. Why I moved is a good story, but another time.
So, it seems like yesterday to me, but just looking around, a lot has changed. Found a short term rental while looking for a new place, then went looking for all my old buddies. Did I mention things had changed, found one, one! Where did everybody go? I can only wish them all the best, wherever they may be.
Now, I’m here, living in a temporary place, no job, no friends, some savings (though I refuse to touch them), hey, I’m 55 years young, no time to touch the golden egg, that’s for when I really may need it.
Ocean City, MD is a town of 7,000 local residents during the off-season and I start looking at all the local resources to accomplish my goals of a place to live and a job. I turn to the internet, everything’s on the internet right? Surprise, surprise (hey, loved Gomer Pyle, and if you don’t know who he is, ask your folks), to put it kindly, the local resources are not that useful.
Well, this ol’ boy loves a challenge, and as I’ve dabbled with building websites, I’m a big fan of WordPress, I’ve started building my own version of a Ocean City resources website. Love to say it’s ready, but it really won’t be much help for folks this season, some, far from what I foresee, but for the 2015 season, this will be the Ocean City coolest resource!
As the site is being built, the Facebook page, Facebook Group, Google+ & Google Community, Pinterest, Instagram and more is all slowly being incorporated into the overall strategy of developing a truly useful resource for those interested in Ocean City, MD.
What does this have to do with new friend gives referral?
And, how this pertains to everyone in any type of sales or marketing position, pay heed if you ever want to get a referral again from your new friend(s)…
My story goes like this…
I have been adding lots and lots of Pins on the above noted Pinterest account, and a lot of them are on Real Estate here in Ocean City, businesses, apartments, condos, haunted houses, pinning it all.
The other day I had a comment on one of my Pins, a fellow Pinner asked the price on one of the apartment buildings that I posted a picture of for folks that were looking for places to stay in Ocean City. Now, I did not see any sign on the place to say if it was for sale or not, but for my project that did not make any difference.
Ok, I have a Ocean City Real Estate prospect, what do I do?
This new friend gives referral to…
From my time online here in Ocean City I have connected on social media sites with a few local realtors, and here I saw an opportunity to assist one of my fellow ‘Ocean City-ites’.
I looked up one of the realtors, called all four numbers listed, waited about 10 rings on each call, hung up on each one thinking nothing worse than a prospect calling a realtor and not getting a prompt answer.
I moved on to another, called, phone picked up on second ring, pleasant voice, so I left a message. Then went to this person’s Facebook page and left a message there with a link to the Pinterest post from “the prospect”. Within a half hour I received a response on Facebook from this realtor saying this building was not listed as for sale, so I assumed that this person did not get the phone message, just the Facebook message. Ok, it was about 9:00pm, understandable, I reply that this building’s picture was posted as part of a project I am working on, and that I had referred this person as a prospect to be contacted. I receive a blunt thank you, and think uh-oh.
I go over to the Pinterest post and there is a message from this realtor that says to the prospect that they can go looking at this realtor’s listings on such and such website….. Arrrgggh!
Anybody looking for property, particularly rental property, most likely knows that “they can go look”…
Are you kidding me, this is how a referral is handled from someone new that may refer more prospects, I’m beside myself for thinking that this realtor I picked to refer this prospect to was so lazy. It was quite obvious that right there in front of the realtor was the link to this prospects Pinterest page, on that Pinterest page was a link to their Facebook page. This realtor, if they had just invested a few moments, could have learned so much about this prospect that with one simple phone call would (should) have known how to find what this prospect was looking for.
They shared a link and told the prospect to do the work, work that is obvious to anyone looking at real estate…
Now, we are all fairly familiar with real estate prices, so let’s remember that this is a resort town, let’s now take those real estate prices we are familiar with and times it by 4. If it costs $100K in your neighborhood, it will cost $400K in this neighborhood.
Here are a couple statistics from Trulia.com…
- Average sold prices: $278,655
- Average for sale prices: $693,798
Now, I’m not a real estate agent in Ocean City, or anywhere for that matter, so I’m guessing here that a real estate agent’s commission is somewhere around 4%, this tells me that the commission on the ‘average sold price’ is roughly $10K. And, this is for a prospect that was handed to you, a friendly gesture by a new social media ‘friend’.
And, all you’re going to do is post a link for the prospect to search on their own?
…. Arrrggghhhh! (I’m livin’ at the beach, pickin’ up pirate speak)….
When a New Friend Gives Referral it’s time to show what your made of!
The real estate agent, could have looked through all that I’m doing, I have all the links there, and then my links have links, they could have learned a lot about what I’m doing, IF they were so inclined.
As I stated, the site and the social media sites are fairly new, but I’ve got to say there is a lot of stuff posted, a lot. I love a new project, and when I start one I go after it, so there is a lot of stuff posted (am I repeating myself). Am I a potential good person for getting referrals in the days, weeks, months and years to come, am I a person that a real estate agent may want to nurture, at least build some level of trust with? Humbly, I have to say YES!
I’m building a website and social media network, I’m not trying to make a quick buck, I could go into network marketing (MLM) if I wanted to go that route. My goal is long term, to be a trusted resource for the 100’s of 1,000s that come to Ocean City, MD each year. I’m doing this on my own time, and sure I’m putting up some Google Adsense ads, may make a buck or two while I’m building the site, but as you’ll see when you visit my site that these are at the bottom of each page, not the most advantageous place for trying to make a buck.
The first goal is to develop value, second to develop a level of trust, third to build more value, and then, and only then, to work on capitalizing on the site. Is this the way to build an online business, I’m not sure, but let’s look at Google, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and all the others, were these not all free programs that built value and trust before monetizing on their work? Now, as a local resources versus these worldwide resources I’ll never reach their heights, and though it would be nice, my passion is to not make folks go through what I had to go through when I moved here. They are going to have a comprehensive website that will assist them in finding what they want and need.
With this in mind, when I refer a prospect to someone it reflects on me, and I thought in this case I had been relatively careful. I had reviewed this prospects Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, the person looked like they knew what they were doing.
Is it the person I referred the prospect to’s fault, NO, when it boils down to it, I should have done more research on this person, and the other folks I had connected with. With that learned, I am watching and going to be following up on this to attempt to assist the prospect and to learn more about what I can do better, more effeciently, in the future.
When A New Friend Gives Referral…
… Invest the time, you never know where it may lead. Take care of the prospect professionally, follow up with the referrer, nurture both parties, you never know…
As this post is already over 1500 words I’m going to wrap it up with ‘keep learning’. I’ve learned a lot about people, again (I swear it will sink in one day). Learn, research, get to know your people, learn, follow up, help and guide, and lastly, keep learning!