Q: “Denise, I am five years away from retirement and I am trying to decide how much I want to ramp up my business before retiring. I am on track for a comfortable retirement, so I don’t need to ramp up for the money, but I do think I need to go out with a bang of some sort. I do want some referral income for a few years so getting my business as strong as possible before I retire is important. What do you suggest?”
A: Congratulations on your pending retirement! Just this year I helped a couple of my favorite agents take the next steps towards retirement and we called it “referralment”. You are definitely on the right track with your plan, so let’s look at a few things you could be doing to achieve your goals:
1. Amp up your past client connections – This is the base of clients most likely to refer you, so this isn’t the time to skimp on communication or connection. Make sure they get relevant real estate information mailed once per month, give them specific information on their property once per year, and try to make a live connection once per year. The live connection might be an event, a gift, an in-person property review, etc. The next five years should be a celebration of your clients!
2. Develop a referral program – If someone gives you a referral, what do they get? A thank you card? A Starbucks gift card? A phone call? If you don’t have a strong plan in place yet, give this some thought and determine how you can take this to the next level. In your monthly client communication, you can highlight happy clients who just closed and make sure you publicly thank the referring party. This will put referring top of mind without including the cheesy, “I love referrals!” reminder.
3. Consider your lead generation – You are at the point in your career when you can be choosy. Why not work with more people you really like instead of people who are flakey, time-consuming, and are not loyal? This is the time to really get into a niche market and enjoy yourself! A niche can tie into your special interests (such as a community organization you are involved in, hiking club, or gardening), can be geographically-centered (such as a farm area, your neighborhood, or a waterfront community), or showcase your expertise (what have you sold a lot of over the years? Equestrian properties? Condos? Properties with ADUs?) Now is the time to rest on your laurels and enjoy the expert status you have achieved.