In a highly competitive industry such as real estate where a single referral can be the difference between making your month or not, it’s important to know how a particular metric may be impacting your referral business.

What is your percentage of referral business? This basic data point is critical to track as it can tell you early on which way your business is going. Are you getting more referrals, about the same or less than in previous years?

According to a 2014 California Association of Realtors survey (Understanding Today’s Buyer) the average referral rate is 25-30%. With a whopping 60% plus of agents found through Internet searches. The survey also showed 76% sellers/buyers interviewed two or more agents, with 43% interviewing four or more agents before signing a contract.

An edge top agents have is their response time.

Why is response time so important for client satisfaction? Just how fast do you need to be?

Like lightning. 13% of those surveyed reported they selected the very first agent that contacted them. An additional 22% said they selected the agent that ‘seemed most responsive’.

Combined, 35% of potential clients base their selection of an agent on response time. And response time is a key factor in client satisfaction and the generation of a referral.

Sadly just 61% of clients said they would work with the same agent. In any industry, that is a very low performance factor, and especially if you want a referral.

The Number 1 reason for client dissatisfaction with their agent? 71% stated slow response time.

Almost half expect ‘instant response’ from their agent, yet only 18% of their agents responded fast enough. Almost a third expect a response within 30 minutes, but just 7% of agents made that time frame.

Combined, over three-fourths of clients expect communication within 30 minutes, but just 25% of agents are mining the gold. In fact, 10% of agents don’t respond until the next day!

The good news? Agents that have figured out how to master client response time will continue to see their client satisfaction climb, and along with it, their number of referrals.

(The survey can be downloaded on the CAR website)

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