What comes to mind if you hear about "referral marketing letters"? You probably think I'm talking about getting testimonials from your past clients to use in your marketing, right?

That's a perfect Realtor marketing idea too. Although, I'm talking about getting a lasting stream of client referrals from professionals like CPA's, mortgage brokers, financial planners, attorneys and contractors. And all you'll need is a "down-to-earth" letter that you jot down yourself.

In a nutshell, referral marketing letters for Realtors can be summed up like this: acquire a list of other professionals in your "farm area" that will have the type of clients and prospects you're searching for. Then you simply pen a personal letter that really shows off who you are and mail it to this list in the regular mail (no email).

When it comes to the envelope you mail your letter in, make certain it stands out and isn't the uniform white envelope we spot everyday. Follow up with each professional by telephone, if doable, and continue to mail/contact them once per month.

There's nothing unethical with following the leader.

Let's start off with a sample list of these professionals that have the clients you're searching for...

- Certified Public Accountants

- Loan Officers (likely goes without saying, correct?)

- Financial Planners

- Real Estate Attorneys

- Building Contractors

- Interior Designers

- Appraisers (residential or commercial)

- Escrow Officers

- Electrician Contractors

- Residential Plumbers

- Landscaping Companies

- Tree Cutting Professionals

- Handymen

- Get the idea?...

Several other professionals could be added but that will get you off and running.

So how do you create this extensive list of specific professionals to advertise to? Fantastic question. Depending on how many marketing dollars you have, there are a couple of options for you.

One choice is to search the yellow pages on-line. As a Realtor, you already have a neighborhood you work in so remain within that geographical region, in general. The manual labor is the time consuming aspect about this choice.

You'll need to sort through each professional listed and capture their address, name and phone number. This option is totally free of charge but definitely more time consuming than several Realtors might like.

The other choice for you is to simply buy a list of these professionals that you wish to advertise to. Just like you're probably on a Realtor list for sale to the general public, practically every other profession has their own list for sale also.

These types of lists aren't illegal at all (unfortunately for some of us). When professionals, such as us Realtors and agents, sign up for random publications and associations, these lists are compiled and made available for sale to anyone.

A bit surprising, huh? Well, now you know where all that junk mail and spam comes from.

There are quite a few list companies out there to pick from. Make an effort to pick a list company that has all the professions you're searching for, rather than going to individual list companies for each profession. I tell you, it'll cost you a few dollars for this list but it's going to save you hours of precious time!

Once you've obtained your marketing list (whichever way you decide to acquire it), it's time to kickoff writing this personal letter to send to your list. Sorry to say, copywriting is a topic of its own and we simply can't get into it right now, or else you'll be studying a novel today. Copywriting and penning sales copy are topics entirely on their own.

Simply realize for now that you don't want your referral letter to be a "sales letter".

Even though you possibly could replicate some or most of your referral marketing letter and mail it to other professionals on your list, when these professionals get your letter, they ought to feel like they're the only one who received it.

It's all about writing the letter as if you were talking to the individual face-to-face. Don't use a bunch of "salsey" cliches` and standard "professional lingo" that you read in the letters you receive from your bank. Talk to them like a genuine person and catch their attention.

As a side remark, personalizing your marketing goes for all your Realtor marketing ideas, like postcards, emails, articles, ads, etc.

What the spirit of this letter needs to tell them is that you want to refer business back and forth, not only take and take and take from them. The ultimate result you're looking for is to be their favorite Realtor for all their clients who want real estate services. Specify for these professionals however they will benefit without "selling" them, make sense?

One approach to personalize your letter is to throw in something you know about their company, if you happen to know an interesting tid bit. If you know of a client who's worked with them, throw that in there also. It's tough to get "excessively" personal in these letters unless you decide to gossip about their momma, which I wouldn't recommend.

I'd strongly advocate that you create your referral letter yourself, rather than employ somebody else to do it. But, if there's no chance you'll even ponder about penning your own referral letter, then go ahead and rent a self-employed copywriter to take charge of it for you.

Perform a Google search for "self-employed writers" and you'll find a number of companies to select from. On some of them you can sift through freelance writers from all throughout the country and world. It's great since you can sometimes check their reviews, pricing and even send them a inquiry to "interview them". You can even post the job you're searching to fill and get writers to come to you. It's actually pretty convenient.

Now that you have your referral marketing letter completed and your list of professionals to send it to, let's have them mailed out. But whatever you do, please do not mail your letter in a plain white envelope like we see everyday of our lives... please, please, please!

Instead, grab a distinctive looking envelope that has a little different size or color to it. Your intention is to stick out like a sore thumb, in a great way, from all the mail your list will be getting. Don't forget, hand-writing the return address and mailing address will help to have your envelope or package opened and not thrown in the rubbish.

Stop and think about which pieces of mail you open first. The priority goes to letters where the sender hand-wrote the address, everytime!

In addition to the referral letter you wrote, the next thing you'll need is to throw in a special marketing piece. This could be a video you produce using Animoto that showcases who you are and why they must pay attention.

One of my friends, a life insurance salesman, sent out a similar mailing and included poker chips with his contact info on them. This buddy of mine printed "Do not gamble with your life" on all the poker chips.

Isn't that superb? That's an example of what I'm talking about when it comes to getting creative with your marketing, precisely like the top real estate agents do.

Getting back to this referral letter, I'd recommend that you direct them not only to your phone number but also your website or blog. Be certain you give them both choices. A number of People would rather call you and others would rather look over your website first.

Your final step is certainly the most vital of them all. The mother of all keys to marketing is "repetition". Marketing industry stats demonstrate a consumer needs to see your message or hear from you at least 7 times before they get familiar enough with you to act.

So it's obviously important to continue following-up with these professionals on your list. After your first mailing, I'd advise you to follow up with them by telephone or another letter about 1 time a month. If you have their e-mail address, you can begin using that for the follow ups as well.

You just want to be extra careful not to smother them with follow-ups. You don't need to let them fail to remember who you are but you also don't want to be calling or mailing them every other day.

Quick tip if you have the marketing cash: rent a college kid to process all these mailers and save yourself the time. You can write down the referral letters yourself but have your hired-hand address the envelope, stuff it with the letter and marketing piece and have them send it out.

The hired labor will be inexpensive and you can focus on other things like home tours and follow up calls.

In all seriousness, when it comes to Realtor marketing advice, referral letter marketing will set you up as a top real estate agent for years and years to follow. Eventually, this marketing plan can give you a free stream of leads and prospects that can build you into a top producing Realtor or agent, as long as you stick with it and build these referral relationships correctly.

Author's Bio: 

Shiloh Street University is an online marketing school for Realtors, dedicated to “Creating Wealthy Agents through World-Class Marketing” by providing step-by-step video lead-generation tutorials and realtor software products.

Get your "FREE 5 Day Sneak Peek" at http://www.ShilohStreetUniversity.com