How-To Guide on Developing a Solid Referral-Based Clientele in Hong Kong Real Estate Industry

Hong Kong - growing clientele in real estate

An investment in the real estate industry requires huge funding. The large amount of money needed to make meaningful investment makes it difficult for the common people to venture in the business. It is also rare to deal with the same client multiple times unlike the scenario in most businesses. Therefore, as a realtor you will need to constantly updating your sources of new leads. To be at the top of the game, you will need to find clients and close deals. Additionally, since it is a high-end investment, you will need to find prospective clients who can afford the prices of the property that you are selling.

The venture may seem difficult and overwhelming for an average first-time investor to the point of discouraging one.  Yet, as one gains experience, closing deals become the order of the day.

Gaining the much-needed experience can be a bit tricky. You will have to build and nurture a good relationship with any client that you serve even if the possibility of dealing with the client again is low. As a matter of fact, as we earlier agreed, it is usually difficult to meet a client who will return to buy another home because of the huge investment required in real estate. However, the juicy bit is that a client that you have served well and closed a deal amicably has a higher chance of referring another client to you.

Getting referrals is an awesome way to nurture your career, gain more experience and build a reputable brand.  There is no better lead that you can obtain in real estate than a referral.  Referrals are usually motivated and may have build confidence in you by the time that they contact you; they usually know what to expect. To get prospective referrals, you have to be confident with any client that you serve. You need to provide your clients with an amazing experience that is high quality and satisfactory enough to get them to refer potential clients to you.

Referrals provide the most high-quality leads of prospective clients who are looking forward to investment opportunities. Successful real estate agents know the effectiveness of building a solid referral-based clientele as well as turning prospective leads into clients.
You will also need to keep in touch with both the current and past clients. This means that you have to cultivate good relationships that command influence amongst your clients. You shouldn't become a nuisance to your current/ past clients as you try to get them to refer a client to you. Additionally, you should respect their privacy and avoid bothering them with constant phone calls or emails as you try to convince them to refer a client.

Moreover, patience is a valuable attribute that can help you to convert potential leads into income-generating clients. If you make a hasty move on a client, chances are that they may confuse you as an agent who is only after a commission and not keen on providing the best investment avenues to them. You need to remember that a referral-based clientele is a long-term strategy that requires patience and tact.

Realtors can take advantage of various ways in maximizing their recommendation opportunities to get more referrals. They include:

    • Have A Reliable Mentor


As you seek to network, nurture relationships and eventually build a solid referral-based clientele, in Hong Kong, you need to have a mentor by your side. You will need to leave your pride behind and become an apprentice to an experienced realtor.  The much that you may have learned in school may not be applicable at the moment. The mentor will help you learn important tricks of approaching clients, offering best services, closing deals amicably and eventually obtaining good referrals of potential clients.

You will have to soak all the relevant and resourceful information that you learn from your mentor. You should not be ashamed to let them know the fears that you harbor in your career. Be open to them and make sure that you get to learn the best successful marketing approaches as well as the obstacles that realtors face in various parts of Hong Kong and how they deal with the obstacles.

Since people are different, not all clients will be the same. The reactions, expectations, and attitudes of different clients may differ. You need to learn the best approaches to dealing with different clients. Your mentor should teach you how to source for potential leads and how to convert the leads into clients and eventually sealing deals with them. A mentor is also a resourceful person who will help you in learning the best ways of scheduling meetings with clients and how to approach any negotiations.

The more you learn from your mentor, the better you become and that will create a foundation of a successful career as a real estate agent. Therefore, it is important for you to incline yourself with a successful professional realtor or real estate company. Always be grateful to your mentor and be ready to nurture another individual in future, life is about giving and taking.

  • Past Clients

Past clients who received quality services from you are best positioned to provide quality recommendations to you. You will need to guarantee them that you will offer the same quality services to the potential clients that they drive your way.

Whenever you deal with any client, you need to exhibit high levels of professionalism and dedication in serving them. You need to be honest, respectful, knowledgeable and helpful to them. You will need to guide clients through the whole process of property investment without any bias of prejudice about them, their families or the nature of work. By being helpful and offering good services, you care to create a good relationship. You need to show them that you are confident in helping them make a sound investment. Let them know that they can trust you and do not break that trust. By being friendly you are opening avenues for future referrals from them. Indeed, as a way of appreciating your effort, past clients who you have recently served satisfactorily are more likely recommend a client to you.

Therefore, you need to keep in touch with them. Past clients whom you have served in the recent weeks offer the best opportunities because the memories of your quality services are still fresh in their mind. Calling or emailing them is a better way of keeping in touch in case they have a potential lead.

  • Current Clients


Clients that you are currently representing are also likely to recommend you to family or friends. To maximize this opportunity, you need to provide valuable and quality services that are unique and tailor-made for each client specifically. You will need to customize your services to every single client according to his/her needs and expectation. It is also vital to enrich their investment experiences by being reliable when addressing their specific needs.  Always ensure that they have your contacts or business cards so that they can get in touch with you if need be.

Another important aspect that you should always possess when handling clients is being knowledgeable of all the facts of any investment contract. Ideally, you are responsible for helping clients make huge investments in their lives. This means that you clients will try to be conscious and will expect to make the best choices. Therefore a part of your job description is to clearly know all the material details that revolve around the investment world. You need to know everything about the contract of the investment. Being knowledgeable gives you the courage and confidence that you need to walk your clients through all the details of a contract smoothly which, in turn, helps to build trust. Therefore, even if the contract will have a lot of information, ensure that you have first-hand information of all relevant resources that the clients may be keen about.

However, one opportunity that most realtors miss is telling their clients to refer a potential investor and instead they wait for the clients to make the decision by themselves. If you are doing so, you are losing out a lot. Be specific to the clients that you work with and tell them that you'd be glad if they recommend a potential client. You will also have to show them that you have the capacity to provide quality services to any potential investor recommended to you. Remember that by personalizing each service to your current clients, you enrich their experience by meeting their demands in the exact/ almost exact way that they expected. This, in turn, offers them an assurance that any clients that they refer will benefit from high-quality experiences from you.

  • Teach Your Clients To Refer


Happy clients always feel obligated to refer other clients to you. And, they are indeed happy to refer other potential clients to you.  However, it may come as a surprise to you that even though the clients that you serve/ or have ever served were happy and satisfied with your services, they really may not know how they can refer clients to you.

You may at times question your strategy of handling clients when you fail to get any referrals from them despite providing them with quality services. Yet, you will altogether be shocked to learn that the clients whom you served didn't have any clue how they could refer a prospective investor. Additionally, some people shy away from detailing their experiences in print. It is your responsibility to help them figure out the best approach that they use to describe their experiences without looking silly.

You have the obligation of teaching your clients how to present you to others. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Request for positive reviews- today most realtors have learned the importance of marketing themselves through digital platforms. Mobile apps such as Zillow or Trulia, web platforms such as Yelp and personal websites, blogs or social media pages are important places where you could request your, clients, to detail the experiences that they received from you by reviewing your services. In a nutshell, positive reviews from former clients enable prospective clients to know what to expect and thus are helpful in obtaining referrals.
  • Distribute cheat sheets that detail the value propositions of your business and the services that you provide.  You could choose to provide your clients with brochures or business cards that detail your services and the results that clients should expect from you.


It is also important to remind them to refer you to others and let them know that the cheat sheets that you provide are intended for that purpose.

  • Networking


Networking with other professionals who offer related services in the industry provides a good opportunity for forming new alliances that could lead to valuable referrals. Attending functions and events where industry experts meet as well as joining market communities related to the industry provide great places for you to get started in networking. It is advisable for you to join local clubs where real estate professionals meet to discuss the issues affecting the industry etc. Also do not forget to attend real estate expos and other conferences or forums hosted in your town or neighboring towns. These are awesome places where you could meet fellow professionals and form new alliances. In those meeting, try to have your presence felt. Try to exercise some influence by being noticeable. However, refrain from marketing yourself too much as this could be counteractive. Outline boundaries on the extent that you should always go. By being friendly and cordial with other professionals in the industry, you're warming your heart for any prospective leads that could come your way. Remember the fact that an agent located in another town may contact you in case s/he has a client who wants to invest in the town where you work. You should not miss on such opportunities when they can clearly help you grow your career. This is the reason why you should open your heart to other people working in the industry. As much as you get potential leads from them, you must also from time to time provide them with a lead or two. Make it a win-win situation that is beneficial to the professionals that you have made new alliances with.

However, do not misuse the networking opportunity just to have lunch or a casual chat with other professionals in the industry. Instead, you need to focus on creating valuable prospects that could lead to recommendations from the people that you interact with.

  • Social Contacts


People that you meet and interact socially can also be reliable sources of potential referrals. While developing social relationships, let them know the services that you provide, your office address and other pertinent information that can prove that you a reliable realtor. It is also important to ensure that you let them know that you will be glad if the referred a client to you. You could also provide incentives for any client referred by your social friends.

Just be natural and professional and avoid bothering people to help you in sourcing potential leads. They too have their own careers and daily activities to take care of therefore you and your career may not be meaningful in their lives. However, being friendly and letting them know about your profession can help you obtain a lead or two if a person is interested or in instances when one inquires more information about real estate investment and decide to try making an investment in the industry. Therefore, you need to be articulate and convincing that they will get a good deal. Always avoid sounding too sales. Most people usually try to avoid people who sound salesy even when the deal is good. Sounding too salesy may create doubts in whatever you tell your social contacts because they may confuse you with a person who is only quick to make a commission from a sale as opposed to a professional who has the ability to help potential investors acquire a  quality real estate property in Hong Kong.

  • Be appreciative


Finally, you need to learn how to appreciate clients who refer prospective investor to you. A simple ‘thank you’ can work miracles; so will a dinner or a cup of coffee. There are times when you may even reward them with cash tokens. However, you should never go overboard with monetary rewards because there are people who may never appreciate money as a reward. You have to set the limits of any monetary rewards.

Recognition is the most important reward. You must always remember that people feel motivated to refer other to you because they were happy in the manner in which you served them and not because of whatever reward you may offer to them.

A good way of saying thank you is also to reward them with a referral to their businesses. Therefore, when you provide them with your brochure or business card, you should also request for theirs. Sending a referral to a former client who has also sent one your way is a win-win situation for both of you and will help to build a good relationship that lasts long.

Bottom Line

Referrals provide awesome opportunities for meeting prospective clients. However, if you are new in the industry, do not expect to rely on referrals to get clients because nothing is guaranteed. You will have to use other conventional methods to get clients who can later recommend other potential clients. You will also have to be patient and offer unique high-quality services to your clients while building and cementing amicable relationships.

Engel & Völkers

Hong Kong, Real Estate Agency
Shop A, Ground Floor, 95 Caine Road, Mid Levels
- Hong Kong
Company License: C-035745
+852 2561 3616

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