How To Build Out A VIP Program for a Golden Database

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As Josie Burke of the Valerie King Team will tell you, knowing who applauds and appreciates your business is key for taking it to new heights. After all, when treated right, repeat and referral business is low-hanging fruit and an ideal lead generation source. And the Valerie King Team prides themselves on connecting with this portion of their database in an elite way. It shows too, with repeat and referral business accounting for almost 85% of their transactions. That’s huge. When you know who sends you business, you can send extra gratitude in their direction. Josie Burke, the Director of Operations and Marketing with the Valerie King Team of Connecticut has mastered a system around tracking who these people are. In her interview with James Shaw, she walks us through how their team reciprocates the love that they feel from their database.
Raving Fans
Josie and the team carefully track the people who send referrals their direction so that they can reward the behavior. What began as a simple spreadsheet is now an in-depth compilation of the different interactions that take place between the team and their database members. For instance, they track when they have connected with a referral, received an appointment from the interaction, gone under contract, and ultimately closed the transaction. And each of these areas is reviewed quarterly. While bringing a buyer or seller across the finish line is an ideal scenario, it doesn’t matter if a referral has resulted in closed business in order for the team to reward the behavior. Simply put, Josie says that if someone in their database sends them a referral at any point over the last 18 months, they are referred to as a raving fan and treated as such. For her team, these referral partners are those people who are constantly talking about the business and sending potential clients their way, whether or not they’ve ever worked personally with the team before. When people show this kind of deference to your business, it’s essential that you return the favor and provide extra value to them.
There are also those people within your database who may go above and beyond the occasional referral. For Josie, these people are defined as those who’ve sent three or more referrals to the team over the past 18 months. And as you’d expect, Josie’s system ensures that they get a bit more love and attention from the Valerie King Team.
While NAR rules in some locations prevent you from publicly noting that you have a reward program, it’s still possible to surprise and to delight those in your database who help your business. We recommend talking to your local broker before you begin a VIP program to make sure you’re not breaking your state’s rules.
Josie and the Valerie King Team use a systematized structure to treating their VIPs. It enables them to keep everything on budget so that they know what they’re spending and what they are
rewarding. While the members of their database are surprised, there is nothing surprising on the business side. It is simple and scalable. Some of their structured love includes the following:
  • First referral: A lotto scratch-off ticket with a handwritten thank you note
  • Second referral: A gift card to a local establishment with a handwritten thank you note
  • Third referral: A box of brownies with a card indicating “VIP status unlocked”
  • VIP status includes invitations to exclusive micro events and Facebook group
The important thing to remember with reward programs is that the reward isn’t contingent on the business closing. You’re simply recognizing that someone took the time to suggest your business to someone else. You don’t need to have a full-fledged plan lined up and ready to start giving your referral partners extra love. Starting can be as simple as putting aside the time to write a thank you note to the people who’ve given you referrals over the past 12 months. Appreciation doesn’t have to be fancy. It just has to be genuine and consistent for people to feel special.
How do you make the VIPs of your business feel valued?
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