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asking friends for referrals--yuck!
11-07-2009, 12:13 PM
Post: #1
asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Ok, as I mentioned in the previous post, I'm new to this and have never, ever been a good at sales.  Anyway...

I'm taking this coaching class at my new office (it's required).  I won't mention who it's through, but he recommends sending your soi an item of value every month, calling them every month and asking for a referral, and then dropping by their house every month, which would lead to you asking for a referral--yet again!  There's no way in h*** I'm going to do this!!  If one of my friends did this to me, I'd be ticked off big time, and would NEVER refer them just because I'd be annoyed!  I actually asked one of my husband's friends the other night that if he didn't have a real estate agent that he refers to people then I'd like to be that agent, and his response was basically, "yeah, yeah, I know you're an agent, not leave me alone."  Never again.  I was sick to my stomach after doing it.  I'll let people know I'm an agent, simply by telling them about my week when we're out hiking or biking together or having coffee together.  Hopefully they'll refer me because they like me and know that I'll take good care of their friends.  Ahhh...thanks for letting me "vent"!  Any thoughts to this?  Does anyone else feel sick to their stomach at the thought of soliciting (which is what it really turns out to be)? 
11-07-2009, 12:41 PM
Post: #2
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Hey Bean,

Apparently there's a problem with the forum so I'm the only one (?) who can post... so if you're not getting responses, it's not for lack of interest!!!

I need to figure this out, but I shall return.. and WELCOME! I already love your attitude...

J

"The Secret of Joy in work is one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." Pearl S. Buck
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11-07-2009, 04:51 PM
Post: #3
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Bean!!!  I too am HORRIBLE at sales and if I was required to cold call or pester people I would have been long gone out of this biz.  I am still a rookie but am following Jennifer's advice to the letter.  What you are doing is exactly what I do....getting the message out that I am a realtor by just being a good friend and by sharing about my day. 

I am adamant about not doing business with my "inner circle" at this point....and you know what....something about the principle of least interest....but I am finding my friends are now actively pursuing me and my advice.  They are much more confident that I know what the heck I am doing and trust that I am going to give them honest, helpful, non-pressure-y information.  They are very very appreciative of me and I know they are blapping about me to others without me saying a word.  I do think this approach may take a bit longer to make money because you are not aggressively going out and dragging someone kicking and screaming to your RE cave....BUT, I honestly believe it is how to build your career for the long run....and in a way that you can sleep soundly at night.  Welcome to the program.  Take all the JA training you can....it is sooooo helpful. 

Regards,

Maggie ;D
11-07-2009, 06:38 PM
Post: #4
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Bean- you are SO in the right place. None of us (as far as I know) would feel comfortable implementing those methods - and I would fully expect any friend of mine (or friends of friends of mine) to react the same way your friend did. UGH!

So, don't do that again, but know that you have GREAT judgment and DO NOT second-guess yourself even though your broker will try to make you feel guilty about refusing to comply. Blows me away.

There are plenty of ways to inspire the people you know and the people you meet to think of you as a competent real estate agent - and begging for business is NOT one of those ways. What don't these people understand about this very simply concept???

Your friends can be a tremendous source of business for you as long as you approach them right. Keep reading this forum (and do check out my SOI blog - http://www.sphere-of-influence.net) for ideas on how to do that.

BTW, - don't rush to make your Big Announcement. Wait til you're a little more comfortable in your skin before you start pursuing business.

Maggie - is "blapping" a Canadian thing?

"The Secret of Joy in work is one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." Pearl S. Buck
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11-07-2009, 11:06 PM
Post: #5
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Welcome Bean!  Sounds like you've run into some Buffini training... 

I suspect we all share your queasiness at this and so many of the other techniques taught as the only way to succeed in real estate.  That's why we're here!

Lately I've been finding myself wondering where all these things that feel so cheesy and tacky come from and why people think they work.  I've come to the conclusion that a lot of them -- the Buffini stuff for instance -- have as their foundation the idea that if you let people know you care about them consistently and share helpful stuff with them consistently they will contact you when they or someone they know has a real estate need.  Not a bad thing.  The problem -- at least for me -- comes when it becomes more about getting the business than caring about people.  Or when we set up some great "system" to make it happen!  I've been selling real estate for a little over 4 years now and have been struggling with how to develop business from my sphere without doing all that stuff that seems so pushy and salesy and so not me.  Self promotion has never been my strong suit...

Sometime last fall I happened across our fearless leader and since then have been really focusing on finding my own way of staying in touch and letting people know that I really do make my living by selling houses.  Every now and then I'm tempted to set up some "system" to make my life easier.  I can't remember where, but someplace I read JA say that automating things like sending our sphere birthday cards is a bad idea.  Afterall, I must be pretty darn busy if I can't take time to sign, address and mail a birthday card to someone I care about and have to pay someone else to do it!  So I'm focusing the system stuff on creating to do lists and automatic reminders for myself -- As an introvert I need TopProducer to remind me to call a friend and ask them for coffee or lunch this week!  (Besides, it feels more like I'm working if I can check something off my list!)

Anyway, I had been thinking about sending out an email to my sphere about the tax credit extension.  Being a perfectionist, it could be a while before I get it sent.  In the meantime I decided to send a quick email to a couple who I thought might really find the "experienced buyer" tax credit valuable.    I met them through a friend.  They were thinking about selling their cute little house a couple of years ago.  We met and chatted.  I did a CMA and they decided that it really wasn't the right time for them to sell.  They contacted me earlier this year and I helped them with some info to protest their property tax appraisal.  I sent them a quick email this morning and within minutes got a response back thanking me and expressing amazement that I would remember the few details I mentioned.  They promised to call me if they needed more info or decided now was the time to make a move.

I write all this because it reinforced my belief that people want to know that I really care about them and they are not just a line in my database.  A few systematized things are probably okay, as long as there is some personal stuff mixed in.  It takes me a few more minutes, but I feel so much better about it!  I'll probably still send a general message with details about the tax credit, but in the meantime, I'll scan through my database and see if there is anyone else I think might really benefit or be interested and send them a quick PERSONAL note!

None of this directly has to do with the referral question, but it's given me a new lens to look at the various training/ideas out there that I thought you might find helpful as you go through required training.
11-08-2009, 09:29 PM
Post: #6
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Maggie - is "blapping" a Canadian thing?

LOL.  No, Jennifer.  It is a Maggie thing.  It is a mix of blabbing and (gums) flapping.  Welcome to my world!  (Hmmm....I hope it doesn't mean something offensive where you are from!!)

And, as a side note, I am back from hosting an open house for another agent....such a great way to observe how other agents interact with their buyers.  I am soooo glad I found you Jennifer.  Watching high pressure sales tactics by some agents on newbie buyers makes me cringe.  I like how SWS-ers approach things....mainly because it is such a good (and decent) way to do business. 

Have a great night.....m:-)
11-09-2009, 09:06 AM
Post: #7
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Thanks, Maggie... I love seeing other agents in action... it SO validates how I feel about our career!

"The Secret of Joy in work is one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." Pearl S. Buck
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11-09-2009, 09:28 AM
Post: #8
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Carol: I could have written your post word for word! I want to take my business to the next level (or two) and at times have been tempted by some of these programs. I've seen people in my company use these programs and they clearly work...for them. I truly believe that those types of programs are simply not for everyone. You really have to have the personality/charisma to pull it off. Not all of us have it and that's okay.

Bean: one thing I know for sure is this: make sure that whenever you are chatting with your SOI about your career that you always put a positive spin on it and that you sound confident in what you are doing. It's one thing to grouse that you're having a bad day because the lender screwed up and the closing is postponed (because at least you showing that you're working!), but it's another to complain about losing a listing or losing a buyer, etc. It will take time, but eventually your SOI will see you grow and develop into a great agent. It's at that point that the referrals will flow.
11-09-2009, 09:38 AM
Post: #9
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
Chicago - you said something I must comment on  Wink

"I've seen people in my company use these programs and they clearly work...for them."

This is a very true statement... sometimes. But not nearly as often as you might think. Real estate agents always always always exaggerate their production and results. Especially if they're committed to a specific prospecting program. I was always intimidated by the other agents in my office - by all their activity and my perception that they were closing deals left and right - and then was always shocked at the end of the year when I was the top agent. WTH??? I truly felt as these guys were running circles around me with all their cold-calling, door-knocking, SOI-pestering... and that there was something wrong with me that I wasn't doing those things (turns out I was too busy TAKING CARE of my clients) - and every year I blew them away in production. Like, more than double.

Yes, there are agents who succeed using creepy methods. But not nearly as many as claim to...

"The Secret of Joy in work is one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it." Pearl S. Buck
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11-09-2009, 09:45 AM
Post: #10
Re: asking friends for referrals--yuck!
I think there are definitely far more agents who attempt these programs than who actually get the desired results.
I'm at a company of several hundred agents. I'd say 2 of our top ten use a Ferry-esque program, but the others don't. Interesting.


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