Jackie Fischer is a real estate agent with 18 years of experience and over 1,500 families served. What’s even more impressive: nearly all of those customers came from repeat business and referrals.
Today on Stay Paid, Jackie joins Luke and Josh to discuss how she grew her client base almost entirely through word-of-mouth referrals, thanks to her genuine long-term interest in her customers.
- Treat every customer like they are the only person you are doing business with.
- Lead with incredible customer experience, but don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
- When you maintain relationships with your customers, they’ll become the biggest advocates for your business.
Introduce yourself to our audience.
I have owned my own business, in one form or another, for 27 years. In a past life, I had a web development business. It was fantastic until it grew too big, and I had to have employees. It became no longer fun, and it was just stress. We all do what we love, and that’s what keeps it fun. I had a guy walk in one afternoon, and he said, “I’m new in town. I’m going to start this new web development company. I heard you’re the gal that I’ll be competing with, and I’d like to buy you out.” I made sure the check was good, and then took a 6-month hiatus and said to myself, “What am I going to do with my life now?”
I had been doing web development work for all the local real estate agents, so I knew what the market was. This was when the internet was brand new—MLS wasn’t on the internet. They had websites that were static, like brochures. You couldn’t search their listings. When we had a new listing, we had to make photocopies and run all over town to all the brokerages.
So, that’s kind of how I got started. It had always irritated me that, when we would buy and sell houses, I was doing all the work. I shouldn’t have to call my agent and say, “Oh my gosh, did you see the new house that came on the market?” And so, when I decided that real estate was going to be a fit for me, I said, “I’m going to have to set myself apart. I’m going to do those things that other agents don’t do. I’m going to be on top of my game.”
I started off selling mobile homes in this little town of about 15,000 people. The problem became that I wasn’t super popular with a lot of agents, because I started showing houses on evenings and weekends, and that wasn’t a thing. You don’t have to take off work to work with me.
I pride myself on doing the things that other agents don’t do for people. I treat every buyer or seller like they are the only person I’m doing business with at the time. I try to make sure that all my clients are answered that same day. You treat people the way that you want to be treated.
Is the majority of your business coming from your sphere of influence? How have you generated leads?
I have not advertised in 15 years. I didn’t have to. I was doing 98 percent of my business by word-of-mouth referral. That was incredible for me. I have been working with my past clients. I keep in touch with them, because they’re not just clients to me. These people are family. I know when their kids are sick, I know when somebody’s having a baby, and I know when somebody’s getting married. I know all these things partially because of Facebook, but also because I keep in contact with them.
When I moved from Sioux Falls to Colorado last year, I had a going-away party and introduced them to the person that I was trusting to take them to the next level. I didn’t do that because it was good for my pocketbook. I did that because I truly care about these people, and I want them to have that next person who they can call—someone who would be a family member to them.
Do you stay in touch with your past clients?
Yes. It’s either a phone call, or it’s a Facebook message, or it’s a birthday video. Anybody can go to Facebook and type on your timeline, and it takes two minutes. I take a little extra time to do the video and let them know I’m thinking of them. They’re my family. They’re not just clients. When you take these people in, they become a part of your world. I fought cancer twice, and these people were right there, cheering me on. And when I came back to work six months after, the second time, it was like I’d never left.
Do you think you need to ask for referrals, or should you provide the best experience so that they feel compelled to give referrals?
Yes, to both. Your goal as a customer service provider ought to be that everybody can’t wait to tell somebody about you. Here I am in my new market. I have three new buyers that I signed yesterday, and two of them are referrals. But, as I’m here starting over, I do have to ask, and I don’t go a day without asking. I leave every conversation here in this period of my life, and I say, “Who do you know that I can help today?” And once I get them trained as my advocates—as my salesforce—it changes.
When I go to the grocery store, I carry $5 coffee shop gift cards and give them to people to thank them for great customer service. You’ve got to put your business card in with them.
What other advice would you give new agents?
If you’re above average, you’ll close your first deal at three months. Find yourself a good mentor, who has a genuine interest in helping you succeed. Second, follow what others are doing. Don’t worry about the systems. Do what’s right, help people, and the rest comes to you. Set a goal for yourself. There is nothing that gets you going better than having a goal.
What are some things you do every day in your routine that you feel are driving your success?
I wish I could say I work out every day. What I do every day…it’s about gratitude. I’ve cheated death three times, and I’m not exactly sure why. For some reason, I’ve been put back every single time and come back stronger. You hear all the time, “You got to fake it until you make it” and “Choose to be happy.” I really do live by that. I intentionally find somebody every day and get a smile. It’s my genuine purpose every day to find somebody—I try to talk to 20-25 people a day—I ask them, “Who do you know that I can help?”
Knowing what you know now, what would you go back and tell your younger self?
I would tell myself, Take better care of yourself. Make yourself a priority.” I said I wished I could tell you guys I worked out every day.
Also, “Set boundaries sooner.” I very rarely, if ever, work Sundays anymore—best thing I ever did. Don’t do the 24/7 thing, where you can’t have a life if you work real estate.
- Go buy $25 worth of $5 gift cards to a local coffee shop. Give those to people, have a genuine conversation, and see the impact this has on your life.
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