That is what I said to the nice lady calling to sign me up. She pitched me on advertising at a golf club. I would be the ONLY Realtor on the score card the players carried around with them while on the course. There would be other sponsors advertising on the score card but I would be the ONLY Realtor.
I explained that I work by referral and was not interested in advertising like this. Her scripted response was to tell me this was like that. It’s branding and word of mouth. That’s when I said ‘No’ and hung up.
Branding and word of mouth is not the same thing as working by referral. Words have meaning and I think it’s worth a few minutes to share what they mean in my world.
Branding is what people remember or think of when they think of me. That is my brand. Good or bad, and it changes with every interaction I have with folks. If I have a logo on my jacket or shirt and am less than pleasant when talking with someone, that is my brand in their mind. If I decide to give more than I take and work to be open and helpful with someone, then that is my brand for that exchange. It builds over time and reflects who I am.
Branding is who I am. It’s not advertising on a billboard or golf score card.
Word of mouth. That’s not ‘working by referral’ either. “Oral or written recommendation by a satisfied customer to the prospective customers of a good or service” is one definition I found. Word of mouth is passive and other than doing a good job there is not much you can do to make that happen, it just does.
I’d say about 20% of the population are referring sort of people. They are the ones who tell you about a movie or place to eat and they just make you want to go right now and do what they did. They are wonderful folks to know and if you get one, you better take great care of them but that is not working by referral.
Working by referral is a systematic way of communicating about your business and how you work so that people remember you when the opportunity comes up and they are willing to give you a call or text you with the info of the person they are referring. It’s certainly not passive. It involves word of mouth to your brand. It’s something you can cause to happen if you’re intentional about telling people how you work and how they can help but it also involves helping. Helping them, building good will, being available. It’s not just about what you do but it’s who you are.
I could go on but it seems like it’s time to stop for now. Comment below and email me if you want to continue the discussion.
Thanks for listening,