Referrals for Auto Dealers

auto dealer

Last week, we highlighted how we’re seeing Mortgage Brokers successfully implement referral programs with QuickLinkt. This week, we’re showing how auto dealers are increasing customer referrals and building loyalty.


Car dealers are just one type business that have been quick to see the benefits of using QuickLinkt to drive referrals. Looking at the sales cycle, it’s no wonder they’re seeing success: buying a car is a big purchase decision, therefore customers seek advice from family & friends to find a trusted dealership and salesperson. Better yet, it’s a great time for dealers to take advantage of referrals since 2015 is set to have the highest car sales since 2005.


We’re finding most dealerships use QuickLinkt to encourage, track & reward referrals from past customers. Typically, dealers are using two-sided incentives for their programs that allow past customers to share an offer – say $200 towards a vehicle purchase – with friends and family over social media, email or text.  Then once the referred customer purchases a vehicle, the customer that shared the offer is rewarded back. The reward is usually a credit towards the dealer’s service department or a gift card. As well, dealers use QuickLinkt’s Specify Representative feature to allow customers to make a referral to a particular salesperson. This allows customers to send referrals directly to their trusted sales rep, and dealers to track performance.


The great thing about having past customers share offers over social media is that the reach of referral campaigns is exponential – the average adult Facebook user has 338 friends, so a few shares a day means a dealership’s offer can quickly reach thousands of potential customers. This makes it easy for referral programs to have the large scale audience of advertising without the high price tag.


The other great advantage of QuickLinkt for auto dealers is that it not only brings in new customers, but it also strengthens relationships with past customers. When dealers select to give a credit towards their service department, it encourages past customers to use the dealer’s service department instead of visiting a different mechanic. Better yet – since it connects customers with the dealership after the sale, they’ll be far more likely to return to the dealership when they’re ready for their next vehicle.


At the end of the day, businesses can use QuickLinkt to create the referral program that’s right for them. Whether using QuickLinkt to to reward customers for sharing offers with friends, rewarding past clients for referrals or tracking B2B professional referrals, QuickLinkt creates automated referral programs that are customized to the business’s needs. If you’re an auto dealer, how do you drive referrals?


To learn more about QuickLinkt and get your Free 30-Day Pro Plan Trial, visit


Referrals for Mortgage Brokers

Here at QuickLinkt, we often get asked how businesses can successfully design and implement referral programs. So, we decided to start a series of blog posts that highlight how we’re seeing businesses be successful. First up – Mortgage Brokers.


Mortgage brokers and agents have been quick to adopt referral programs and implement an automated tracking solution. Looking at the industry, it’s no wonder that referrals are essential to any agent’s success: most new home buyers rely on friends and family to guide their home purchase process, trust is paramount when choosing a mortgage broker and since people work closely with their broker – they’re more likely to refer.  Better yet, there’s lots of people looking for the best mortgage rates since 88% of US home buyers finance  their purchase.


Here at QuickLinkt we’re seeing most brokerages let each lending agent run their own referral program. This allows agents to customize their terms, integrate with their social media profiles and personal websites, and communicate directly with clients. While brokers can choose whether or not to give rewards, we’re commonly seeing agents offer a Visa Gift Card to past clients for each successful referral. While the reward isn’t necessary,* it’s a nice way to say thank you and stay top-of-mind after the sale closes.


We’re also seeing agents use QuickLinkt to manage referrals from their professional network. For example, a real estate agent having an open house can send referrals to brokers using the QuickLinkt Smartphone App. This allows mortgage brokers to get a jump start on pre-approval, and real estate agents to quickly start searching for properties in the right price point. Each time the mortgage broker/agent updates the mortgage process (ie. conditional approval, pre-approved, etc.) the real estate agent is automatically notified, making it easy to keep contacts in the loop.


Mortgage brokers and agents are also realizing just how easy it is to drive referrals. We’ve heard from brokers that most of their clients are young, first-time buyers. These clients greatly appreciative a broker’s help – since getting a mortgage doesn’t come easily – and therefore are much more likely to refer. Better yet, because they’re digital natives they’re happy to send referrals through their Smartphone or a company’s Facebook page. They also have a large network of connections in the same demographic that will soon be looking to buy their first home, so they have plenty of potential referrals.


While each brokerage can use QuickLinkt to specify the referral program that’s right for them, these are just some of the ways we’re seeing mortgage brokers and agents be successful. And since it only takes 5 minutes to get started, mortgage brokers and agents can easily launch their program. What successful marketing tools have you seen for mortgage brokers?


To learn more about QuickLinkt, you can visit our website at or start your free 30-day trial at


*Remember to check if offering referral rewards is allowed in your jurisdiction

Affiliates or Referrals??? What’s the Difference?

word of mouthHere at QuickLinkt, we often get asked what the difference between affiliate and referral marketing is. While referrals account for 65% of all new business, the affiliate industry is set to grow to $4.5B by 2016 – so it’s no wonder there’s confusion. While there’s similarities between the two, there’s also clear distinctions. So to clear it up, we decided to do a run down of affiliate and referral marketing – and how they differ.  


The Basic Definitions

Affiliate Marketing: Agents or partners (aka affiliates) send traffic to your website or new customers to your business.

Referral Marketing: A current client, customer or business connection recommends you to their friends and family, and often provides you with their contact information.  

So…. What’s the Difference?

Just looking at these definitions, affiliate & referral marketing may seem to be pretty much the same …. They’re both based on people sending you new customers/clients. However, here’s the BIG differences:

  • In Referral Marketing, the referred customer is known by the referral source. In Affiliate Marketing, the affiliate has no personal relationship with customers they send.
  • Affiliates are paid commission for every customer/client they send. Referral programs can include rewards for making referrals, 2-way rewards for both the referrer and referree, or have no rewards.
  • Affiliate partners are driven solely by financial gain, whereas referrals are based on personal relationships and trust.
  • Affiliate commission rates typically start at 20% and increase to as high as 60% as success rates increase. Over time, the cost per new sale increases.
  • With referrals, the cost per new sale decreases over time as the number of customers making referrals increases.

 The Extra Benefits

While affiliate marketing has its uses, referral programs have additional benefits that make them a better long term solution. First, referred customers are far easier to close than those sent from affiliates because consumers are 4X more likely to buy when referred by family or friends. Better yet, referral programs increase loyalty among your current customers. The effects of referral programs also snowball over time because every referred customer becomes a source for new referrals. So while affiliates are useful for driving web traffic, if you want a marketing solution that builds your reputation, increases loyalty and decreases advertising costs over time, a referral program is the way to go.  


If you’re interested in referral marketing for your business, check out how you can get started with QuickLinkt for free. It’s a great way to encourage, track and reward referrals – without breaking the bank.

What’s My Specialty? The Benefits of Niche Marketing for Real Estate Professionals

niche marketing

A lot of times when marketing, new Real Estate agents try to reach as many people as possible. They chase every opportunity and desperately work to turn potentials into clients.

But being everything to everyone is a tall order. It’s extremely expensive to market to multiple segments – not to mention difficult to be knowledgeable about all of their needs.

Instead, wise agents focus efforts on a particular niche – a subset of the market that has specific needs and represents a profitable demographic. While large agencies can cover many specialities, individual agents focus on specific niches – whether its condos, a specific neighborhood or revenue properties. Even if you haven’t intentionally carved out your market niche, you probably see similarities in the types of properties you sell and clients you work with.

Susan Freidmann, author of Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a Small Market supports becoming well-known as an expert in a niche because of 4 main reasons:

  • There’s less competition in niche markets
  • Efficiencies are created in research & marketing
  • You can demand premium prices because you’re seen as an expert
  • You benefit from increased visibility in your marketplace

And better yet, focusing on a niche market drives referrals. When you become known as the go-to-guy or -gal for selling historic homes or working with first time buyers, business connections know exactly the type of clients to refer to you. Better yet, because these clients are looking for what you specialize in, they’re easier to close.

Referrals from past clients also become simple. Remember the age-old saying Birds of a Feather Flock Together? Well, chances are that your past clients’ social networks are full of similar people that fit your niche – whether it’s newly married couples looking for their first home, or retirees wanting to downsize.

So, whether you choose to stick with a strongly defined niche for your entire career or have a more fluid approach where your niche changes with market trends, creating your niche is powerful for growing your business and increasing referrals.

And let’s face it, you’ll also have a killer answer when potentials ask what you specialize in.

How to Grow Your Referral Network: The Real Estate Edition

Any real estate agent has likely heard of their Sphere of Influence. Your Sphere of Influence is also your Referral Network – the personal and business connections that send you referrals and connect you with new clients ready to buy or sell. It’s the most powerful tool for decreasing advertising costs and minimizing your time to close –  the golden ticket for new agents to get their feet on the ground and veterans to stay competitive.

So, if you’re a Real Estate agent looking to increase your SOI and grow referrals, think about the following groups.


Family, Friends & Personal Connections
Your personal connections are usually the simplest place to start. Your friends and family should know you’re a Realtor (pretty obvious), but make sure they also know your brokerage/brand, specialties, clientele, closing rates, community outreach, etc. This is especially important for new agents – let personal connections know that you’ve made a career change and why you’re passionate about real estate.

Current Clients
Current real estate clients are an easy source of referrals. While you may feel awkward asking clients you’re actively working with, it’s actually relatively easy. The clients you’re representing have real estate on their mind – they’re discussing real estate with friends and family, and I guarantee your name has come up in these conversations.

Past Clients
Your past clients understand your specialties and the excellent customer service you provide. Your most recent clients provide the best opportunities because they’re still buzzing about how great you are, but make sure to foster these referral sources with follow up after the sale.

Community Connections
Are you active in your PTA? Running Club? Church group? Local charity? These groups are sources for new clients and referrals. Being active in community organizations is a simple way to connect with your clientele. For example, if you sell family homes in residential areas,  participating in your children’s school fundraisers is a great way to grow your network while giving back to the community.

Business Connections
Do you work with mortgage brokers, contractors, home decorators, property managers, lawyers, landscapers? Of course you do -as a real estate agent you have an intricate web of business connections that can connect you with qualified leads. For business connections, the best way to drive referrals is to be generous. (No I’m not saying to reduce your commission). Send referrals to your trusted service providers, and watch the favor be returned.


While this list might sound daunting, getting high quality referrals from your SOI is much easier than cold calls. And knowing that customers trust recommendations from family and friends more than any form of advertising, growing your referral network should be a top priority for any agent.


How to Increase Referrals: Tips and Tricks for Rewards

At QuickLinkt, business owners often ask us if they should reward referrals. Obviously, there’s a balance between rewarding customers for making referrals, incentivizing referred customers to try your business and not discounting prices too much. So, we thought we’d outline some of the different reward types available, and when to use them.


No Rewards
Businesses can choose a traditional approach to referrals by not offering incentives or rewards. You can still use QuickLinkt for these referral programs – customers can submit referrals from their Smartphone or your website and Facebook page, and you can track program success. This structure solves the problem of how much to reward/discount, but you may not see a big increase in referrals at launch. That being said, if you work in an industry with pricing regulation and have a loyal client base, this program could be perfect.

One-Sided Rewards
It’s been found that offering a reward increases the likelihood of referrals – so with QuickLinkt you can reward customers for referrals. Rewards are only achieved when referrals result in new business (like a mortgage refinance or home sale), so customers send quality leads. This type of referral program is perfect if there aren’t switching costs for new customers (ie. they don’t have to pay out the rest of their old gym membership), and if trust is a major factor in the purchase decision  – like choosing the best financial planner based on how they helped your parents with retirement.

Two-Sided Rewards
If you really want to bring out the big guns, you can create 2-sided referral incentives. Customers share discounts or offers with friends and family, and then are rewarded once offers are redeemed. The obvious advantage of this program is that customers are encouraged to make referrals, and referred customers have an incentive to try your business. This type of referral program is also awesome because it encourages customers to share offers over social media and increase your social media exposure. And since customers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals, 2-sided rewards are perfect for growing your customer base.


So at the end of the day, we see successful referral programs with each reward type. It’s about choosing the best reward type for your industry, publicizing your referral program, making it simple for customers and getting the proper analytics to track success. What reward structure have you found the best for your business?