Posts Tagged ‘Referrals’

posted by on Jennifer's Best, Prospecting & SOI

Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Jennifer? You can’t be serious!

Yes, I am.

If you’re asking the question “What is the best way to ask for referrals?” that tells me that something about doing it bothers you.

And if it bothers you, don’t do it. Your discomfort will be crystal clear to the person you’re asking, which is probably worse than not asking at all.

(If you don’t mind asking for referrals, it probably comes naturally to you. Keep up the good work and ignore the rest of this blog.)

Do YOU like being asked for referrals? I don’t.

When a friend asks me to refer business to her, I feel uncomfortable. What was five minutes ago a friendship suddenly feels like an obligation. If she asks me twice, our friendship may very well be in danger. I don’t want to have to explain to her why I haven’t referred anyone to her lately (or ever). I don’t want to listen to her sales pitch… again. And, frankly, if I haven’t referred anyone her way, there may be a reason. But I’d hate to lose a friendship over it.

When a business professional asks me for referrals, it lowers my respect for them a notch. Right or wrong, I assume everyone is as successful as they wanna be. So when I receive a marketing letter from my insurance agent or my accountant asking for referrals, I suddenly question their level of success… and therefore, just a teeny bit, their competence. Where five minutes ago, I perceived them to be a prosperous, crazy-busy professional… now they’re a … salesperson. Ick.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to refer. I’m a referring madwoman when I find someone I believe in. You don’t have to ask me to refer, I’m all over it! Aren’t you the same way? If you have the world’s best hairdresser, dog trainer, chiropractor – don’t you tell everyone you know? Do these people have to constantly ask you for your referrals?

Here’s a better way.

Be a friend first. If not a friend, then a reasonably competent human being. Be happy, excited and enthusiastic. Act as if your career is everything you always dreamed of. Practice saying “I’m a real estate agent and it’s the coolest job in the world!” with a huge smile on your face. Or how about “I had no idea how much I would enjoy selling real estate, I’m having a blast!” Followed up by a sincere “How are YOU doing?”

To ensure that every potential referrer in your life knows you’re a reasonably competent human being, make sure your self-promotion materials are professional and error-free. Return phone calls promptly, even social phone calls. Show up on time for appointments and lunch dates. Do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. No excuses. Dress appropriately. Watch your language.

It really is that simple.

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

A few days ago, I posted a blog about how my seller client recently asked me if it “was okay” if she gave my name to a few of her friends. I shared the blog with her and she was astonished that it’s common practice in our industry to actually pester our friends and clients for referrals.

Here’s what she said:toaster

“Referrals are kind of a no-brainer… I think that anyone who is happy with someone’s service is usually actually THRILLED to recommend them to people, and does so naturally — they don’t really need to be asked or reminded. I was so happy with Carrie our mortgage broker that I refer people to her right and left every chance I get — she’s never once asked me to, it’s just natural to tell people about someone you’ve enjoyed doing business with.  And I agree, when people do ask for referrals, it does sometimes come off as slightly desperate or could just make people uncomfortable.

People’s work should just speak for itself. If the clients are happy, you can be darn sure they’ll want to tell the world about it :)”

Anyway, she followed up this comment with a story about how a few years ago her boss was “rewarded” with a toaster from a Realtor he referred to a friend of his. A toaster? Sheesh.

Sorry, but I think this is hilarious. Do a great job for your clients. Stay in touch with them afterwards. Truly, that’s all it takes. If you really think you need a toaster to seal the deal… hmmmmm…. 

p.s. a follow-up to the toaster story – my client (referenced above) sent me an email yesterday with more of her thoughts on the matter. She said that when she was selecting the agent to sell her house (ended up with me), she asked for referrals from a neighborhood group she participates in. She got a ton of them (referrals) and then couldn’t help but imagine all the toasters flying through the neighborhood as referral rewards. Then later, she sent me another referral (her third or fourth so far) and asked when she’d be getting her toaster! (Then she stated the obvious – “Well, I actually already have a toaster.”)

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Does your spouse confidently and cheerfully refer you to everyone he knows who has a real estate need? Yes? Good for you! You can move onto the next blog on your list. You don’t need me today!

But if you answered “no,” do you know why he or she doesn’t? Do you know the real reason?

Neither do I. But I’m going to throw something out there that you are free to accept or reject.

Do you come home every night complaining about your real estate career? Do you… um… whine about how awful the market is, or about how little training you’re getting from your broker? Do you bemoan the fact that the last 10 FSBOs you contacted hung up on you before you could even begin your sales pitch?

Or, conversely, do you bounce in the door at night, bubbling with enthusiasm, ready to share your latest success story or lesson learned?

In my SOI* writings, I urge agents to prove to their friends that they are an RCHB, which stands for a “Reasonably Competent Human Being.” If your friends perceive you as an RCHB, they’ll be happy to hire you, or to refer business your way. If they don’t perceive you as such, they probably won’t. Makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, referring business to a friend is a risky thing to do – no one wants to be responsible for a referral that goes badly, so we’re all a little circumspect about who we have on our personal referral lists.

Here’s the thing… the cold hard fact is that your spouse is no different. He has a social network that is important to him. She doesn’t want to jeopardize her friendships and business relationships with a referral that goes sour. Neither does he want to be seen as “that pesky real estate agent’s husband” to be avoided at parties!

So, what’s the answer?

It’s up to you to prove to your husband or wife that you are an RCHB who loves selling real estate and is darn good at it. And you don’t “prove” this by telling him or her how great you are, you have to demonstrate it in your attitude and your enthusiasm.

Am I asking you to fake it? Well… not really, but… 

Frankly, if you aren’t an RCHB and you don’t have a fair amount of enthusiasm about your career, you’ll probably fail, with or without your spouse’s referred business. The question really isn’t “should I fake it?” but rather “how can I change my attitude?”

Now, if you don’t need or want your spouse’s support in your real estate career, then feel free to use him or her as your nightly sounding board to vent your frustrations on. It’s okay, really! We all need someone to cry to. Just know that doing this puts your spouse in a difficult position when it comes to drumming up business for his beloved…

*SOI = Sphere of Influence = People Who Know You

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

To all my self-employed friends out there…

A great way to receive referrals is to give them. Become a referring machine. Be on a constant look-out for people who need referrals to other people.

Do you have the world’s best hairdresser? Dog-sitter? Handyman? Spanish tutor? Knock yourself out building THEIR business through your referrals!

How does this help you?

Oh, let us count the ways.

  • You become known as a resource among the people you know. Not simply as a fabulous real estate agent (accountant, financial planner, restaurant owner, etc.), but also as the Keeper of the Referral Directory. As they say, “no publicity is bad publicity” – every time your name crosses the mind of another person on this planet, the potential for getting business or receiving a yourself just increased, if only a wee bit. If the person actually contacts you to get the name and number of your dog-sitter, BAM! A rapport-building opportunity is delivered to you on a silver platter.
  • Think about how wonderful it feels to receive a referral yourself. Don’t you feel incredible warm fuzzies toward the person who thought enough of you to send their friend your way? Evoke those feelings in others and they WILL return the favor.
  • What goes around… comes around. It just does.

There’s not much to it. Simply keep your antenna up for people who are deserving of your referrals… as well as people who need your referrals.

Casually gather business cards of the people you feel good about referring, or simply memorize their website or phone number. BONUS! That way you can write down THEIR contact information on the back of YOUR business card!!

Get in the habit of sending business to others and they will quickly get in a habit of sending business to you!

posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense


I’ve been putting agents together left and right (or east and west?) for the last several months via the SWS Referral Network (Network? What Network?). Some of the referrals have come together, but many haven’t.

Why haven’t they? Oh, the usual reasons – the client found an agent on his own, the seller didn’t have as much equity as he thought, the buyer’s lender decided it wasn’t the right time to buy(!), the job transfer didn’t go through, or the client decided to rent for awhile before buying.

Of course, these are all perfectly valid reasons for a perfectly good referral to crash and burn.

But… but… but… I’m thinking there’s another reason some of these SWS referrals haven’t resulted in a client for one and a referral fee for the other.

As I’ve been checking in with the agents who have used the Network to see how the referral is going (or not going as the case may be), I’ve been told more than once that “I gave the contact information to my client.” In other words – the referring agent (the guy or gal with a client to refer) simply passed on the names and numbers of the agent(s) in the referring area to his or her buyer or seller, and called it a day. That is – THEY NEVER MADE CONTACT WITH THE AGENT(S) THEMSELVES.

Do YOU make contact with someone before you refer to them? If so, why? And what do you say or ask? If not, why not?

Please share your thoughts!

RELATED BLOG: Ten Tips to Being a Good Refer-ee


posted by on Random (Un)Common Sense

I got a lead today off the Internet. Not sure where she came from; just one of those inquiries that shows up every once in awhile. We chatted back and forth… and on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a sure thing, this was probably about a 2. No worries. I’m happy to cyber-chat. Well, after 5 or 6 exchanges, I realized that the prospect was interested in a part of town I don’t “do.” I suppose I could find it if I had to, but I’d really rather not.

So I, rather abashedly, contacted a Stefan Geyer, a fellow local agent who, as I recall, lives/works in that part of town. I warned him upfront that it was a high-maintenance/low-probability prospect, but could I send her his way? He responded immediately “YES and THANKS!”

I sent him the prospect’s contact information and she’s now all his. He thanked me again.

Here’s the thing. I promised to find this prospect someone who could pick up where I left off. Stefan did that for me, cheerfully. Made me look good. And hopefully, he’ll see a few dollars in his pocket as a result, but probably not.

But I tell ya’… just his cheerfulness and willingness to help meant the world to me. And who do you think I’ll call next time I have a buyer or seller on the “other side of town?” And what are the chances of that happening? Uh, pretty darn good!

So, thanks Stefan… and know that your good cheer was truly noted and appreciated!



posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Okay, okay, you are all tired of me ranting and raving about the sins of Referral-Begging and Referral-Bribing, which in my opinion, just annoys and irritates your friends. Oh, and a nice side-benefit; it advertises how desperate you are for business.beg

Of course, I hear all the time; “There’s no harm in asking!” or “You gotta ask for what you want if you expect to get it!”

I disagree. I think there’s all kinds of harm in asking, and no, I don’t believe you always gotta ask for what you want. But I’ve written thousands of words on this topic already

So, allow me to be a little more helpful today. What should you do instead of Referral-Begging?

Well, today, I had a listing appointment with someone referred to me by a current client. During our conversation (notice I didn’t say “presentation“), I took the opportunity to toss out two comments about how I Work By Referral… without implying that they were in any way obligated to participate…

Watch how I slipped it in…

#1:          Me: “You guys are so cool. This is what I love about working by referral – I get to work with the nicest people!”

#2           Me:  “Did Jane (the client who referred me) tell you the story about the toaster (click here to read about it)? So, if you ever refer anyone to me, don’t worry, I won’t send you a toaster!”

It’s really not hard to let people know in a non-threatening way that you enjoy a referral-based business. See how I worded that? That you “enjoy a referral-based business.” That sounds a whole lot more professional than “I {HEART} Referrals!” or “Oh, By the Way… Do you know anyone…?” or “The Greatest Compliment I Receive is….” doesn’t it? Kind of like it just happens naturally, without effort… ‘Cause You’re So Darn COOL!”

Which you are, aren’t you?