Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan

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What's the Best Way to Ask for Referrals? Don't.

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.

 

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www.SellwithSoul.com 

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Comment balloon 113 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • April 29 2007 02:55AM

Comments

Good stuff. I agree that I don't like being backed into a corner about referrals. I talk with Account Execs every day who are starving and getting desperate. I send my business to those who I hhave a relationship with and whom I know will get the job done at a price reasonable to my client.

The same with professional referrals. There needs to be trust first.

I like your approach!

Posted by Larry H Morris, Larry Morris, NMLS 150073 (Fairway Independent Mortgage) almost 12 years ago
Very nice Jennifer. We think alike. Be sincere-it will shine through everytime. Folks will refer you because they want to not because we ask them to.
Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) almost 12 years ago
It is hard to ask sometime - because it does not seem appropriate, but a nice laid-back way to do is tell the agent "I want to earn their bunsiness".  That way you have said you want to work for them and show them you say what you mean.  The statement is not too aggressive or harsh,nevertheless, you do not seem desperate.  But during the conversation, you must relay a message that you want to work for them.                       Persistance overcomes Resistance
Posted by Provadus Home Loans, Technology bringing you home. (Provadus Home Loans) almost 12 years ago
Very good post Jennifer.  I'm the same way, I don't like being asked for referrals, but I'll refer people to others until the cows come home if I believe in what someone has to offer.
Posted by Michael Hutchins - Consumer Advocate, Chicago (Michael Hutchins Ent.) almost 12 years ago
Jennifer, I'm with you...I hate to ask for referrals. Can't they see how hard I work and want to refer everyone to me. Good concept. I wish it were true! lol 
Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) almost 12 years ago
Jennifer- I completely agree. Asking for referrals destroys ones credibility. Be competent, do a good job, be happy and others will want to do business with you (or send you business). 
Posted by Debi Braulik, Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale (www.roundrealestate.com) almost 12 years ago
Build relationships first. The rest will come. I truly believe that my friends saw me for whom I am before they wanted to use my services, or for that matter, refer their friends to me. I'm shy, and I wonder if I'll always be.
Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) almost 12 years ago

If you provide exceptional service, you WILL be noticed and you WILL be referred to others.  I agree that there is an element of desperation when you ASK for referrals.  If you are constantly BEGGING for business people will avoid you.

The key is to I keep in touch with clients so when they have the friend that is moving or when they are ready to move again, THEY WILL REMEMBER TO CALL YOU. 

Build relationships, don't beg for them.

Posted by Richard Parr, Home Security Specialist - Greater New Orleans, Louisiana (ADT Security Services) almost 12 years ago

Richard... I LOVE that quote. Love it love it!!!

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, DON'T BEG FOR THEM. Beautiful.

I have a similar one...

"Stop Marketing Yourself... Start Building Relationships... Watch Your Business Explode."

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
I ALWAYS ask for referrals!  My clients know my business is built on their referrals!  If they love the work I do, they are happy to refer the family and friends to me!  My RE business is currently 90% referrals, 10% walk ins.  I don't even advertise for business anymore.  My past clients keep me very busy!                           
Posted by Betty Pierson (SendOutCards.com) almost 12 years ago
Betty I agree I always ask for referrals. I am not pushy but I explain to my SOI that they are on this list because of the relationship we formed. I enjoy them and like working with people like them. This is my business and when I call for business I tell them it's business and they are fine with it and excited to help out. Be proactive and go ask for the lead don't wait for it to come to you it might be too late.
Posted by Keith Zimmer (RE/MAX Results) almost 12 years ago

Betty & Keith - go for it! Like I said, if you're comfortable asking for referrals, then more power to ya. My business was also 90% or more SOI, but I used a different tactic for generating business and referrals. I like Keith's approach of saying "I enjoy working with you and so I know I'd enjoy working with your friends."

That's good.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer, Only ask if "your invited in" which means if the subject is brought up ( and not by you ) then really do not ask but let them know that referals are part of your business model. If they know of anyone .... well you know the drill. There are a lot of non offensive ways to ask that respect the people you are talking to. Besides if you are wearing a badge or the logo shirt etc. The people you are talking to know what business you are in. Probably thinking to themselves, I bet this clown will ask, So don't and surprise them.

Of course unless they bring up the subject.....

Posted by Doug Beaver, Corona Norco Eastvale Riverside Homes (Century 21 Olde Tyme) almost 12 years ago

Good points, Jennifer.  I have never asked for a referral, yet over 65% of the business I did last year was from referrals and past clients coming back to me.

I focus on servicing my clients to death both during and AFTER the transaction.  I want them to know that I will never forget them for helping me to get to the level of success that I enjoy.  One note:  YOUR level of success is different from everyone else.  Success may mean more money than you could ever spend, while for the next person it is just enough to allow them to do the "fun" things in life that they want to do.

I mail birthday cards and anniversary cards and CALL them on their special day to wish them well.  I have many times been told I was the ONLY person to call them on their birthday.  You can't put a price on that goodwill.

Simply put, treat your clients as well as you would lilke to be treated and it will pay the biggest dividends.

Posted by Steven Shewell, The Mortgage Maverick (Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.) almost 12 years ago
I agree that yes we should build relationships. I believe in doing my job and working hard. I don't ask my friends for referrals but I do ask my clients.  After the closing I send them a follow up thank you letter. I tell them that if they feel that I did job. Please recommend me to their friends, family or co workers. I include extra business cards. I also thank them for their business and express a desire to be their agent for life.  
Posted by Michelle Rosser, Atlanta Real Estate-South Fulton & Fayette (Maximum One Realty) almost 12 years ago

I can't believe what you are saying?  First of all they wouldn't be asking you for referrals if you were sending them some.  If they are asking perhaps they are in a coaching program that tells them this is what to do.  I took such a program and the way we were told was to ask "If you or a friend or family member needed a real estate agent, do you have someone you refer them to?  If they said no, you said,  I'd like to be that agent.

Now that does let people have an out because it does give the person a chance to tell them they have someone whether they do or no.  I don't like to call on my past customers in person or on phone but I stay in front of them with regular mailings, at least one a month, newsletter, tip, or personal note.

If I overhear conversation in beauty parlor, drug store, or grocery, etc... and it feels right I ask if they need a great real estate agent or if they already have one.  I have lost business not asking for referrals, but everyone knows someone who does most jobs in the world, so if they pick the neighbor down the block instead of me because I haven't spoken with them about referrals, its my fault.

And one final point, don't you ever have a slump?  Or choose to push your business to a higher level?  Maybe someone needs to start paying college tuition for their kid and wants to make more, and in addition is maybe feeling a little empty nest and needs to get out and work more.  Or someone whose property taxes skyrocketed and need to earn more.  Or maybe just someone who feels their retirement account balance will have them eating cat food in their golden years (if they are that lucky) and feels the need to increase their income.

There are many reasons to ask for a referral.  You can always say, I'll keep you in mind, but I don't get those requests often.

Posted by Melissa Deputy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 12 years ago

Nearly all my business comes from referrals; past clients or professioanls I do business with (title companies, mortgage officers, home inspectors, etc.). I can honestly say I have never asked for a referral! I make myself approachable, my clients and associates become friends and I leave myself open as a resource to my clients long after closing. A first time home buyer recently relocated to AZ hasn't a clue which pool cleaniing service is realiable and delivers good service for the price. They may need an exterminator, roofer, landscaper, interior designer, chiropractor, or veterinarian closeby. They feel comfortable asking for referrals. My clients know that I know and work with area services. I have used many of them and my past clients trust my recommendatons. They have seen how I do business so they know I can be trusted to give them the objective info they seek. You'd be amazed how good it feels to have a newly relocated client call you and say "thanks for telling me about......I had no idea who to trust." Same goes for info. They call me to ask all sorts of questions; they have no one else to ask. "who can I talk to about..."

I agree completely with Richard, Let your level of service speak for itself and referrals follow you. You won't need to ever ask.

Posted by Tina Furtado, Realtor Tucson, AZ (Moving to Marana - Tierra Antigua Realty) almost 12 years ago
Good points. I'm not comfortable with asking for referrals, since it reminds me of the time I got ambushed by Amway "friends". But I do give and receive them, when the situation feels comfortable.
Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) almost 12 years ago
Jennifer,  I really don't think asking for a referral is a bad thing.  I do believe everything has a time and place.  What I do is when a file is closed and after the client receives and thank you gift.   I always followup and ask if they where complete satisfied with me and the process.  If they say yes then  I ask for a referral.
Posted by Matthew J Blum - (retired from the business) almost 12 years ago

How about a compromise?

Instead of ASKING point blank for referrals, what if we come up with a way to tell people we prefer to work on referral without putting them on the spot? Maybe by telling a funny story about a referral (make one up if you have to!) you received? Or how about this one (a true story from my days): "I do almost all my business by referral, but one day I was sitting at the office and {Famous Person} just walked in off the street and asked me to help her find a house! I was too star-struck to answer her intelligently."

Any other ideas?

 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
Lisa - AMBUSHED is the word I was looking for!
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer I really don't think anything is wrong by asking...As long as its done in a tasteful manner. 

I used to work in  a very high end car dealership in west palm.  We used to get a lot of famous people in.  Funniest thing happened to me when Jimmy Buffet walked in and I did not recognize him...  (Talk about embarrassing)  But you try it he was wearing a big baseball hat and ray bans.  By the way he was very nice.

Posted by Matthew J Blum - (retired from the business) almost 12 years ago

Funny!

Well, as I said in the original post, if you're comfortable asking for referrals, knock yourself out! But a lot of us aren't and we beat ourselves up because we can't bring ourselves to do it. If we DO ask, we're so uncomfortable that we make our "target" uncomfortable too. It's like any form of prospecting - if you like it, you'll probably be good at it. If you don't, you'll probably suck at it.

I'd be the world's worst cold-caller. But I do a fantastic elevator speech.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

Oh I hate cold calling.  Introduce me or bring me on the close and I am all in....

Posted by Matthew J Blum - (retired from the business) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer I agree with many of the things you pointed out and I also believe in asking for referrals.   If you feel uncomfortable doing it that may work against you, but there are more subtle ways to accomplish the same thing.

I spent 15 years in the stock brokerage industry before becoming a real estate agent and in that business most of the business I did was from referrals.  I think it comes down to building a good relationship based on trust.  At the same time, when people are talking to their friends and clues are dropped about getting ready to move etc.  you want people to keep you in mind.  A subtle way is to make sure you keep in contact with all of your past clients every so often.  I would send out articles of interest and periodically call to check in and see how things are going.   This may prove to be a great way to keep in their radar and it is showing that you are thinking about them.

The other thing I learned through the years is that the more you ask for referrals the more comfortable you become with it. 

Posted by Ana Connell, Burbank Real Estate Agent (G & C Properties) almost 12 years ago

I honestly do not have a problem referring, as long as I know that the person is credible. In my case, I'm very lucky to have a good network of business partners in different areas. They've never done me wrong. If one of my customers need something and I can't help them, then I have a friend, who will. The same thing, occurs with my business partners.

Posted by VERONICA MEJIA (Home Loan Preservation) almost 12 years ago
I don't enjoy asking for referrals, but really, who does?  I do enjoy referring people that I know will do a quality job because I then come across as knowledgeable and connected, and that will often lead to referrals for me.  What goes around comes around...
Posted by Amy Bergquist, ABR, GRI (RE/MAX Premier, REALTORS) almost 12 years ago
It's all in the presentation.  I ask for referrals up front because I expect them and I will do the work necessary to earn them.  I don't think it makes me any less professional.
Posted by Timothy Schwartz (Century 21 Mack Morris Iris Lurie) almost 12 years ago

The flip side.  I've had 2 VERY CLOSE friends/clients tell me about their friend or family member that was buying or selling something (without me)!  I was awestruck!!  When I finally found my voice, I politely asked why in the world were they working with someone other than me. 

Here were their responses:

1)  I didn't think you worked in "that" price range.  It was just a little condo.

2)  Wow... I would've never thought you had time for "new" clients.

You see... as I was out making sure everyone knew how fabulous & busy I was, I somehow gave them the impression that I had "moved on" past a certain price range or was "TOO" busy to take on another client.

Well.... I have learned my lesson.  I try to ask for referrals now any chance I get.  I'd rather lose someone because I asked - rather than lose them because I didn't.

By the way... I would love your referrals for LAS VEGAS!!  <wink>

Posted by Sue Nelson, Broker/Associate Las Vegas Real Estate ~Team Rhino~ (ERA Sunbelt Realty) almost 12 years ago

Sue - wow what a revelation! I guess in my world, I would rather talk about my business and let my friends & family know how I work and how excited I am to get new clients, rather than to pointedly ask for referrals.

But that's just me.

JA

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
Hey Jennifer, this is very true. I didn't really think about it until I read this post. I would feel much different if someone asked me to refer people to them. I think the best thing to do is have a little note on the back of your business card or something like that.
Posted by Luther Harrity - Saint John, Rothesay, Hampton, New Brunswick Real Esate (Royal LePage Atlantic/Harrity Real Estate Services) almost 12 years ago

Maybe we can come up with a business card blurb that is unique (instead of I heart Referrals!) that gets the point across in a cute, fresh way...

Hmmmmmm

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

After reading all the posts I feel that all of the points have been addressed. That being said that my sole purpose of my business is referral. Obviously the more you become comfortable asking for referrals the less needy it will sound. A great way to ask for a referral is after you have solved a problem for them. 90% of the time our clients have no idea what value we have for them so why not let them know?

As an example in the course of a recent buyer transaction I negotiated and saved them $15,000, saved them an additional $150 from picking the wrong inspector, and saved them an additional $800 from catching a mistake in their settlement statement at closing. I called my client and gave him the good news of the money we had saved for him. Then I asked for his help only if he was comforatble. If you ask permission for their help it takes the pressure off the person you are asking for the referral and you have shown your value before asking. He was very receptive and I asked if there any friends, family members or people at work that were looking to do what he just did. I asked  very specifically and he answered " My daughter's friend is looking to buy a home." At that point it was just a process of asking additional questions and scheduling a specific time to meet.

I agree with Jennifer and the other posters that if you aren't comfortable or ask at an awkward time then it is detrimental to your relationship with that client. However if you clearly orchestrate those moments by showing your value and having them acknowledge your value then ask for their help then it becomes a different dynamic. Just my 2c

Posted by Bill & Fran Jenkins, Your Home Selling Team! (Nevada Realty Connection) almost 12 years ago
I'm not comfortable asking for referrals from my friends...strangers I have no problem asking. Does anyone else have that problem??  I guess I'm afraid, like Jennifer, they'll think of me a notch bit lower. I would rather like them to notice how excited I am about helping people solve their housing situations. I love what I do and I would hope it shows. Jennifer, I agree that if I like a service someone renders I'm all over the referring part and they didn't even have to say a word about my telling others about them.
Posted by Linda Scanlan (A Fan of AR) almost 12 years ago

I definitely prefer my clients/friends that refer me because they think I've done a great job.  But, wow was I shocked to learn that I had somehow given the impression that I'm "too busy" or "don't work in a certain price range". 

I've been told that it's not so much how we perceive ourselves as it is how others perceive us.  I guess that it's pretty true!!

Here's hoping we all get all the personal referrals and repeat business we can handle!!

Posted by Sue Nelson, Broker/Associate Las Vegas Real Estate ~Team Rhino~ (ERA Sunbelt Realty) almost 12 years ago

NOW WAIT A MINUTE!  If you saw a great movie or went to a fabulous resturant, wouldn't you want your family and friends to know about it?  Would you keep a great electrician a secret?

QUIT hiding your light under a bushel basket and let your friends and family know you are a good real estate agent/Realtor and would always have time for them OR their referrals.

Brian Buffini has a good training program for using the referral system.  If you aren't too stuck in your ways, it is very good and will help.

Posted by Melissa Deputy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 12 years ago

Yes..Melissa and others, you  have hit it on the head...we spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on lead generation. Your Past clients Love you and think you're wonderful.

 I used to be a sales manager, and I recommended to my Realtors to go and have a coffee with their last Sale's clients, they'll be in the mood to tell you about people they know who are buying or selling. The best time to ask is be with clients.... is right after a sale, you know everything about each other and are now New Friends. Most of my clients are my friends and I make reference to them talking with new clients, it helps with relationship building.

 Stay out of the office, go have a coffee with your last sale, they think you're wonderful and may still need input from you, gently say, if you hear of anyone thinking or buying or selling I would appreciate your referral...They'll gladly say.... oh course we'll refer you to our friends and family...Now keep in touch with newsletters, drop by and say high, keep past clients informed about houses values(very effective), and keep a smile on your face when you greet then in person or on the phone !

Need help, sign up for Brian Buffini, he has built an empire of coaching Realtors how to build a referral only business,...just think what would happen to your income if 25 people referred 2 clients to you every year...do the math...in my world that's $5,000 Average Commission x 50 = $250,000 not bad for just getting 25 clients to send you 2 referrals. Possible Goal ?...go have a coffe with your last sale!

 Cheers, have an awesome day!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Thanks for the suggestions Jennifer, however don't you believe you should at least as for testimonials?

Jordan M. Mackey

http://www.jordanmackey.com/

Your Overland Park and Leawood area real estate specialist...

Posted by Jordan M. Mackey, Overland Park Real Estate :: (Overland Park Real Estate (No association with Inc)) almost 12 years ago

ok I must admit you got me with the headline but after reading the post in it's entirety I see the point you're making and I agree with it to the degree that yes, a professional who exudes confidence, success and enthusiasm and has a track history of past success and competence will automatically continue to get referrals because people who had a great experience with him or her will share that with their friends etc.  But here's where I disagree...I don't think asking for referral business makes someone a lesser successful professional.  At KW a lot of the training material as well as other real estate coaching material centers around the theory that you have to ask for the business.  I have and since I have I've enjoyed an increase in my business and that was well worth asking friends, associates, networking groups, past clients and when the referrals came in to me automatically without asking for it I've been humbled.

Cheers,
Uzi Husain
Arizona Realtor, serving Goodyear & The Phoenix metropolitan area 

Posted by Uzi Husain (Keller Williams Integrity First) almost 12 years ago

Hi Jennifer.

Great post, I agree.  Referrals will come pouring in as long as you present yourself well. 

Posted by Christy Avila (J and C Realty) almost 12 years ago
I did not read the rest of blog. The art of asking for referrals is like riding a bike its going to be hard at first but you must practice to get better.  
Posted by Michael Lewis (Elite Realty) almost 12 years ago
Good though, as always.  Now, here is my question:  How do you get your FAMILY to mention to people that you're in the business?
Posted by Christina Lackey, Syracuse Central New York Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Prime Properties) almost 12 years ago

Family is tough!! Sometimes your family can be much harder than friends. I'm not sure why, really.

My best advice would be to include them in your general SOI campaign. It might take a little longer for them to feel comfortable referring you, if they aren't doing it upfront. Don't push, don't ask, they'll come around.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
I ask for referrals that in no way puts anyone on the spot. Asking for referrals is a good way to build your business and does not make you look less professional. If you don't ask, someone else will.
Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) almost 12 years ago
Jennifer, I wholeheartedly agree!
Posted by Laurie Manny (Long Beach CA Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
I have to admit that I like where your coming from with this kind of thing. So many of the folks in this business get the typical heavy handed sales training that breaking the mold can be tough. It's good to see someone taking up the opposition to the standard practice in a way that works.
Posted by Robert Whitelaw, Broker, CEO, Realtor , ePro (Whitelaw & Sons Real Estate Services) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer, I'm not sure I entirely agree with you.  The best time to ask for referrals is after you have done something good for your clients, for instance, right after a good settlement. If you don't tell them then that your business depends on referrals from good folks like themselves, then you have blown an opportunity that is not likely to come again.

Sue, I have also had prospects, even friends tell me that they listed with someone else - "I thought you were too busy", or "I didn't think you worked in that neighborhood."  The lesson I took from that is, you don't get what you don't ask for (and not always then, either).

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) almost 12 years ago

Thanks, Jennifer.  I never really thought about it that way, but you make a lot of sense.

Regards....Jay

Posted by Jay Burnham, The Coldwell Banker Guy (Coldwell Banker) almost 12 years ago
I think the word "referral" is the problem- I'd much rather have someone ask me, after I've had a good experience with a vendor, if I know of anyone else in need of the product or service, not because their livelihood is dependent upon "referrals" (who cares- it's about me, the customer, not you, the vendor)- just a simple, "If you know of anyone else that needs a Realtor, let me know- I'd love to help them."
Posted by Laurie Mindnich almost 12 years ago

Thanks for a great post.   I ask but don't ask.. sort of kind of.   I'll send out a hand written card with some cards... just saying don't be strangers... I think thats as passive as it gets... when asking for referrals

 

Posted by Desiree Daniels (RE/MAX Tri County) almost 12 years ago
It is about relationships and doing an extraordinary job first!  However, I do ask people if they know anyone who might be purchasing a home -- I often do it by "inviting" anyone the past client knows to attend a seminar.  We also have a form we send out to give us feedback and as if the past client knows anyone who would like to get information about our firm.  It works very well.
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) almost 12 years ago

It's a complete picture that has to all come together.

  • being referrable
  • planting the referral seeds in the minds of your clients
  • consciously orchestrating referral moments

Then you have earned the right to ask for a referral and no one will feel awkward.

Joe Stumpf of By Referral Only and Brian Buffini are masters at this. 

I like to remember to always say "Don't keep me a secret" after I have done something worthy of a referral.

Many people really want to help.  If they already think that you have all the business you need, they won't bother you with new business.  If you tell them that a big part of you staying in business is getting referrals from satisfied clients, then they'll begin to think of ways that they might help you.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) almost 12 years ago
Jennifer, I agree asking for referrals is tuff! I prefer to build relationships first and the referrals seem to come naturally. Good post!
Posted by Suzanne Sands, Somerset MA Real Estate (Pavao Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer:  When I think of  you I think "QUEEN OF SPHERE" in the very best way!  I love your tips to th enth degree!  I love your technique and I do it similar to you.  Just being who you are and keeping in front of them without being pushy will give you repeat business like you have never imagined.  

Selling with soul is a great concept and someday when I get my stuff together I need to get your book! 

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) almost 12 years ago
Excellent post and great reading. It's so true. I have yet to ask for business from anyone. I just do my thing the best I can. If someone sees that and appreciates with a referral, that's icing on the cake.
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) almost 12 years ago
I go for the past client's who referred me because I did such a fabulous job!  The majority of my business last year were referrals from past client's and I tell you what...that feels good!
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 12 years ago
Awesome...I do the same.  I'm number 3 nationally iwth my company and do exactly what you do.  Hate the "used car" feel with asking.....
Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer... I haven't read any of the comments as of yet and I will do that later.

But on another note, I will have to disagree for several reasons:

1...    yes, I don't always like asking for referrals, but does that mean I am not as good or successful even if I do?  

2.  If I don't sound aggressive or confident when asking for them, does that mean I am not deserving of them or that I now sound like a sales person?  My take on this... gee, I am actually sincere and genuine when asking, because it doesn't sound natural. Natural to me sometimes could be that sales person that sounds too good, who is just that good at selling themselves. I would rather have the person that is real and I can sense this.

3. Last reason.... even if you are very good or great at what you do....many people are either not loyal or just don't think about passing your name around as you and I do or put ourselves out there. I have found this out also. Some people just move on. It's the me me syndrome. And if you don't ask or send them a card or a newsletter asking... you will never know. I would have to bet that your percentages tend to be better if you ask, if they really thought you were that good from the beginning. If by asking is going to deter them from sending you a referral, then in my opinion, you weren't as good to them as you thought you were. To me, that is reality. 

Now... when you have a friend that has asked you several times and you don't want to ruin that friendship. What I would want is honesty and someone to be upfront and not just say... well, maybe... or when I get someone....or I'll think about it. Gee... get to the point. If they were your friend, they would understand this.

My conclusion... do you sit on the one side of the fence and just not ask?  Or do you attack the bull by the horns?  Remember, there are different ways of doing this. Maybe it was just a few ways that others that went about it, that rubbed you the wrong way?   Just curious.... 

So...overall, you make some valid points. It's a good post and I am curious to what the other comments have mentioned. But I am on the other side of the fence.  

                                                                                                        jeff belonger

 

Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) almost 12 years ago

Jennifer, I can understand where you and many others are coming from.

I do this...I send out a personal note to my buyers, sellers, and those on the opposite side of the deal (of course once it is all over).  I do this every other month. It is just a "Hey, thinking about you. I hope things are going well.  Should you ever need me or know someone who does, please give them my card."

In each card is another business card.  People appreciate the cards, and it works.

Those on the other sides of the deal, enjoy them as well because their agent has been long gone and never heard from again.  You get those referrals too.

Hmm, reminds me it is time for some note writing.

Posted by Brande Bradford, Realtor (Keller Williams ) almost 12 years ago

I LOVE all the differering opinions!

What I hoped to accomplish is to offer a fresh perspective on the business of asking for referrals. It's OKAY if you don't want to! It's OKAY if it makes you uncomfortable! You can stop beating yourself up!

I sold a heck of a lot of real estate in my career and I never asked for a referral and at least 90% of my business was SOI.

There are many paths to success!!! Take the comfortable one - it's waaaay more fun!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
Great post Jennifer. I really struggle asking people for referrals, therefore I don't. Because as you, I don't like to be asked. Treat others as you want to be treated.
Posted by Keith Jeppson - Salt Lake City Real Estate (Everest Realty Group) almost 12 years ago

Yet another excellent, bookmark-able post.  Thanks for sharing your insight with the rest of us.  :)  Sometimes I feel comfortable asking folks to refer me, but sometimes I feel awkward too - and I have found that if I am feeling awkward it's probably because i'm reading the person right: they are going to be weird if I ask them for a referral...I ignored that feeling and "stepped out of  my zone" anyway and asked her to remember me if she has any friends needing a REALTOR, and she had the classic "deer in headlights" look.  who knows why...maybe it's  cause she doesn't know me all that well yet, maybe it's cause she has a close friend who is a realtor...whatever it was, I disobeyed my instinct and then made a comfortable situation "strange."

Other times I have no problem saying "here's my card!" and it seemed like the "right" thing.  

I think that a lot of times we do not like to listen to our senses, which I believe are truly built in warning systems, trying to alert us to the "danger" ahead. 

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) almost 12 years ago

Hello.  I must say that I was very taken aback by this particular post.  Rarely do I ever respond to blog spot, so this one must have set me on fire inside.  The notion of not asking for referrals ever, I think is ludacris.  Mainly because if you "appear" to be doing so well in whatever your job is, then people will say to themselves more times than not "Oh, she doesn't need my business or my referral." or even worse, they simply won't think about giving you one at all( if they haven't had the chance to work with you personally).

Of course, I'm speaking from the other side...the side of the table where someone has asked me for a referral.  Instantly when they do that, it re-solidifies in my mind, how important it is to ask for what you want.  Ask and you shall receive.  Also, in my neck of the woods (the Nation's Capital), referrals and networking are almost an inate characteristic for every business person that lands here.  If you are not one to network or set up and ask for those referrals, one of the many other 50,000 agents (literally) and millions of other service providers will capture your business instead. 

Sure, I've had a chiropractor who I've absolutely adored and referred to everyone who needs chiro work (www.dkdc.com) because I was pleased with my results.  But imagine, how many other people I do business with who I never think to refer.

Another interesting story, was a gift shop owner I met.  It was my second stop into her store in the 3 years I've lived here - which I told her.  And she politely and quickly told me, that she can't stay in business if I only come in once every 3 years (that was after we'd established some rapport).  Now, as a customer, I probably would have thought "why should I care?", but as a business woman, a light bulb went off inside and it totally made sense.  We have to let people know, clearly and honestly, what we need from them to remain successful in business, in addition to what we can do for them to make sure they remain successful in their life.

But what do I know.  I'm just speaking from the viewpoint of a business woman who makes every attempt to connect with and support other local business women so we can build mutually-referring businesses and all be successful together.

 

Posted by Tami Nutall, The Busy Womannulls Realtor (REMAX 2000) almost 12 years ago

Renee - Thanks! I call myself the Master of all Things SOI - but I like Queen too!

Tami - I love it when my blogs "take people aback". Much more interesting that way. Thanks for your comments - you make very good points.

Karen - You gave me something to think about. I wonder if I DID "ask for referrals" during my career, but didn't realize it because I intuitively knew the other person was open to my request. So, it didn't feel awkward or uncomfortable. I bet I did. VERY perceptive observation.

Keith - Bingo! Being a real estate agent doesn't mean that you should abandon the Do Unto Others idea.

Brande - that's exactly what I did, too. Worked beautifully.

Jeff - Happy to agree to disagree. Regarding my friend who I don't want to refer to - I don't really WANT to tell her why I wouldn't refer - it's not relevant to our friendship. I have plenty of friends who haven't ever referred me and I'd rather not know why (if there's a reason). I enjoy their friendship and I know they enjoy mine.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

Great Responses means a Great Article.  Congratulations, Jennifer!

My Thoughts: 

Unless you are NEVER doing follow-up with past clients...you're asking for a referral.

Every contact with a client post-transaction...you're asking for a referral.

Any time you cause your name to be brought up in thought or conversation w/ a past client...you're asking for a referral.

Basically, "asking for a referral" doesn't mean sending a postcard that reads, "I welcome your referrals". (Even though that is, indeed, one way)

Post-transaction contact/actions are meant to keep you in the forefront of a client's mind...that's why we do it...for future business and referrals.

QUOTE: 

 "Family is tough!! Sometimes your family can be much harder than friends. I'm not sure why, really"

If the family member does not perform to the friend's expectations, it is far more difficult to complain about it.  So, if the friend can not vent to you about your crappy realtor/mortgage broker/home stager because they're family....well, makes things awkward and the undercurrents are potentially damaging to friendships.

It's far easier to commiserate & join in on the bashing if you've made a referral of someone who didn't perform...when they're not family.

 

Posted by Lisa Rapose (ReDesign To Sell (TM)) almost 12 years ago

Great article - and I agree with what you wrote.

However, there is one time I make sure I do ask for a referral - right at the time of closing.  After the last signature has been completed, I always turn to my customer and say something like - can I ask you for a favor?  Since they've just received their keys and/or check, they're very happy and ready to oblige.  When they say yes, I ask them to please remember me and refer me to their friends as I want to make them as happy as they are feeling now.

That is generally the only time I really ask for a referral.  It sets the idea in the customers' head at the exact moment they think you are wonderful, in a completely non-threatening manner.

Posted by Al Zaidi (ZipRealty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

Very good counsel.  I have a related question.  I usually communite with my friends and family using by real estate cards.  It is a silent reminder that I am in real estate. I have thought of returning to another type of card that just has a giant first letter of my last name (like I used to do before I ran out).  You have a thought on this?

Posted by Bill Osburn, Your Maryland Real Estate Guide (Long & Foster - Rockville Centre) almost 12 years ago
Bill - please explain what you mean by "real estate card." Do you mean a business card? Or a greeting card?
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

a folded 4x5 card stock with our company's logo on the front.

Posted by Bill Osburn, Your Maryland Real Estate Guide (Long & Foster - Rockville Centre) almost 12 years ago

Does it work for you?

I think you can probably do better. An SOI campaign needs to be personal and about YOU, not about your company. So, yeah, a notecard with a big letter would be cool, but not enough (unless you write personal notes in all of them - that would be terrific).

Switch it up... send a newsletter one time... a Mother's Day card (next week), a personal email. Don't get so caught up in "communications" that you forget to communicate! The personal touch wins hands down.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
I always ask for referrals.  I think there are too many people out there who don't realize that a good chunk of an agent's business comes from that source....and I educate them to that point...
Posted by Kaushik Sirkar (Call Realty, Inc.) almost 12 years ago

I completely agree. People who are good at what they do get referred without asking for it.

I've never liked the conventional wisdom that says you should ask anyone you're talking to who else you should talk to. And when someone calls me and says, "Joe said I should call you," I'm usually left feeling that "Joe" had better stop doing that! Which is why I don't like the BNI thing... their members who know me are constantly giving out my contact information and I end up feeling spammed by sales pitches.

debra

Posted by Debra Gould, The Staging Diva (Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.) almost 12 years ago
I'm the same way about those BNI groups. I get "spammed" all the time and frankly, am rarely impressed with the service I've gotten when I do hire the people referred to me. I've always felt that the people were depending on their co-horts' referrals instead of their own competence.
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
I'm the same way about those BNI groups. I get "spammed" all the time and frankly, am rarely impressed with the service I've gotten when I do hire the people referred to me. I've always felt that the people were depending on their co-horts' referrals instead of their own competence.
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

I couldn't agree more. Pressuring people, whether friends, family, business associates or past clients, into referring business to just just doesn't work. The fact is some people are customer evangelists and other people are not.

Some individuals absolutely love telling other people about the book they just read, the restaurant they just ate at and the real estate professional they just used.  For other people, making such a recommendation never crosses their mind.

If you provide customers with premier customer service, the evangelists will spread the word. 

Posted by Richard Rosa, Exclusive Buyer Agent (Buyers Brokers Only, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Richard - you said that really well! Can I steal your term - "customer evangelists"?

Barbara - I agree that the general public doesn't know how we work, but I think there are better ways to let our friends and clients KNOW how we work without "begging" for referrals. Just a casual conversation about how you got a referral from someone you only met once... or maybe you could say "Because most of my business comes from referral, I never have to cold-call anymore". Use the opportunity to demonstrate your success and professionalism instead of ... well... asking for business.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

2 proven referral techniques:

1) Its all about timing. Ask for referrals after the client expresses satisfication with your services. With the right script, it's a breeze.

2) Forget about asking them for business referrals. Instead ask them who they use for their other financial needs. "I am creating a strategic network of financial professionals, and I was wondering who you use for...." ( RE agent,LO,CPA, RIA,insurance agent,etc.). They will be happy to share with you these names. The next step is to contact these other professionals, to create an alliance.

 It works very well!

If you do it right it's the only marketing program you will ever need. There is too much to cover here. If you want to know more about this technique and the scripts, let me know.

leverage is the key!!

Posted by Dan Matheny (1st Priority Roofing LLC) almost 12 years ago
Jennifer, I actually stole the term myself. I first heard it from Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of "Creating Customer Evangelists," a fantastic book.
Posted by Richard Rosa, Exclusive Buyer Agent (Buyers Brokers Only, LLC) almost 12 years ago
I find that my past clients like to hear from me, but only in moderation.  I don't touch them more that once a month.  I don't ask for referrals directly but always ask for them to think of me (which means with their family & friends, I hope).  I've been considering being more specific - this post has helped.
Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 12 years ago

Dear Jennifer,

Your last paragraph really sums it up well.  I agree, with the idea that if they like you'll they work with you and tell others to work with you.  It does feel car salesman-ish to constantly ask for referrals.  Offering things of value, like a monthly newsletter for my neighborhood works so much better than going door to door and asking for business.

Thanks for your insight.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Shannon

Posted by Jennifer Lewis (Jennifer Lewis Homes) almost 12 years ago

One amazing guy in our office is overrun with referrals. And yes, he is the top producer! Yet I made the observation he never asks for referrals, even when he sends his client a  letter. How does he do it? He GIVES REFERRALS all the time to anyone and everyone. He is a walking, talking referral source. This must train his potential clients to return the favor.

Thanks for an interesting dialog.

Posted by Janet Guilbault, San Francisco Bay Area Direct Mortgage Lender ( Guild Mortgage) almost 12 years ago

Janet - OR, perhaps, just gives evidence that the old adage is true..." What Goes Around, Comes Around!"

Great observation.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly that my trusted service providing professionals (I.E. my hair dresser, restaurants, etc...) don't have to ask me for referrals.  These people have given me excellent service for years and the referrals do just come naturally.

The other day I was having my hair cut and talking to my hair dresser when the topics of growing our businesses through referrals arose.  The woman who has cut my hair for years has already helped me by displaying flyers of mine in her lobby.  Today was different though.  As the topic of referrals was fresh on her mind, she immediately began asking customers around the room not only how their mortgage situations were but also about those of their friends and family....

I was being advertised, in a powerful way because these customers trust this woman as much as I do, and she is touting my abilities and character!  Obviously this woman knows the type of person I am and has her trust in me but....bringing up the topic of referrals served as a catalyst for what then became the best type of advertisement I can recieve.

So the moment was made possible because of our trust in eachother, but it only took place because our discussion of the power of referrals lit the fire...Remember to cultivate those relationships where the trust is already established, you may be overlooking a valuable resource you've already worked hard to develop!

Posted by Joe Long, Purchase Perfect (Waterstone Mortgage) almost 12 years ago
Great points!  I never ask for referrals and they just seem to keep coming.  I know of agents who are always calling and asking for referrals and they come across as being so desperate....
Posted by Jay Agoado, CRS,GRI,SRES Mercer Island, WA (Windermere Real Estate) almost 12 years ago
Thanks! But I'm new to my city, and my SOI is VERY SMALL,....it's hard to to slip it out to friends that I need their help!!
Posted by Denise Sproull, Prince Albert, SK Real Estate (Century 21 Prestige Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

Wow, great comments. 

I believe it depends on the individual agent and the relationship you have with your clients. I have clients who often send me referrals without me ever saying anything.

I do not say to my clients, do you know of anyone who may be buying or selling a home. I am not saying you should not, but it is not what I do.

Now, I will often let my clients know that I am never too busy to share my advice and assist anyone that they feel could use some professional guidance about real estate or simple have a question about real estate. I will say this to my clients, because many times when I have received referrals it sounds something like this: I know you are busy, but do you mind helping my co-worker? She is thinking about selling her home or my aunt has a question about purchasing a home and is curious about the current market, could you take a moment to give her a call?

Also, on a few occasions, referrals have told me, I know my house is not an expensive home and you will not make much money with the sale, but would you consider helping me sell my home? I reply, of course I will help them. (Believe it or not, this is how some of my investor clients have approached me).

When you work with a high volume of clients or you are an agent who simple puts their heart and soul into helping their clients, current clients may sometimes perceive you as too busy to take on a referral. I do not want my clients to think I am so successful and busy, that I have no time for additional clients. So I always remind them, do not be afraid to call me or share me with others that have a question pertaining to real estate. I am here to help you or anyone that may need some assistance with real estate.

Posted by Frank almost 12 years ago

Wow, great comments. 

I believe it depends on the individual agent and the relationship you have with your clients. I have clients who often send me referrals without me ever saying anything.

I do not say to my clients, do you know of anyone who may be buying or selling a home. I am not saying you should not, but it is not what I do.

Now, I will often let my clients know that I am never too busy to share my advice and assist anyone that they feel could use some professional guidance about real estate or simple have a question about real estate. I will say this to my clients, because many times when I have received referrals it sounds something like this: I know you are busy, but do you mind helping my co-worker? She is thinking about selling her home or my aunt has a question about purchasing a home and is curious about the current market, could you take a moment to give her a call?

Also, on a few occasions, referrals have told me, I know my house is not an expensive home and you will not make much money with the sale, but would you consider helping me sell my home? I reply, of course I will help them. (Believe it or not, this is how some of my investor clients have approached me).

When you work with a high volume of clients or you are an agent who simple puts their heart and soul into helping their clients, current clients may sometimes perceive you as too busy to take on a referral. I do not want my clients to think I am so successful and busy, that I have no time for additional clients. So I always remind them, do not be afraid to call me or share me with others that have a question pertaining to real estate. I am here to help you or anyone that may need some assistance with real estate.

 

05/08/2007 by Frank

Posted by Frank Harris (Keller Williams Realty Centre) almost 12 years ago

This is the first Blog I've read since joining and if they're all like this, I may not get any work done anymore!  Thanks for some great insight Jennifer (and all other posters).

I mention to most clients when we first meet that the majority of my business comes from my clients and, therefore, it is vitally important to me that they are very pleased with our relationship.  This seems to imply enough that if they are happy, then they should refer me because that's how I stay in business.  After 20 years, it's the only "script" for asking that I am comfortable with and it works pretty well. 

Posted by Kevin Wallace (Merrimack Mortgage Company) almost 12 years ago

Kevin - that is a great suggestion!!! Thanks for sharing it. I'm adding it to my list now....

 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 12 years ago
The reason most people feel uncomfortable asking for referrals is that they don't know how to ask for referrals.  There are numerous resources you can turn to for coaching on this but it is an important skill to learn - remember that over 65% of buyers use an agent they were referred to!  I think it's dangerous to assume that your clients and friends know that you work by referral.  You need to remind them.  Also, when asking for referrals, it helps to be very specific about what you're looking for.  Avoid things like "Who do you know that wants to buy a house?"  Instead, ask "Of all the people you know, who's the person most likely to be looking for a condo in _______?"  And again, if you've been planting referral seeds all along, and have done a great job for your client, they'll be expeting you to ask!
Posted by Don Carter (All Star Mortgage, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Hi Jennifer..Sorry I have to disagree, asking for referrals is good business and giving our clients a chance to be involved plus helping them, They may need a Realtor to help a family member or employee moving. If you call your Database a couple of times a year(Past Clients and Sphere) they do not mind, in fact many times you are helping. I suggest be right up front when you call and ask these :

  1. First Do you Know anyone thast is planing or buying or selling Selling Real Estate ?
  2. How is every thing with your home ?
  3. Let them know about the current market and any questions they may have

PS: Once a year offer a short CMA of their home , mail them. Clients like to know what their home is worth even if they are not planning on selling, Stand out as their source of Real Estate information.

 

 

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) over 11 years ago
WOW!  That is a perspective I hadn't considered.  That's why I'm looking at your blog and joined your group and am fascinated by your approach.  Thank you!
Posted by Sharon Filbig, San Diego County Real Estate (Prudential California Realty) over 11 years ago
Sharon - if you haven't already, you should read Ten Ways SOI is like Dating and SOI & the Single Gal - both talk about the same issue (referrals). I'm glad you joined the group!
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 11 years ago
Great post Sharon. I prefer asking how I can find THEM referrals or help in some way.
Posted by Nancy Moeller (Seven Gables Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Thank you for emailing me the link to this post Jennifer, I'm on board with you.
Posted by Bob Edwards, Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI (Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc.) almost 11 years ago
thanks for all your comments, Bob! I think this particular blog is my all time favorite (of mine). I'm glad you're enjoying my ramblings.
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 11 years ago

Again Jennifer..I responded earlier above. It's a Good Idea to Ask For The Order, see Zig Ziglar's books and tapes on sales. It's how you ask that makes us look professional or not. There is nothing wrong with asking for referrals, people love to Help. Say Can You Help Me...I am expanding my business, and I'd love to have New Clients Like you as Customers if you hear of any friends or family members that need a great Realtor to Help them Find or Sell their Home, Call Me I'd be pleased to call them and look after them for you.

People love to Help and People Love to Refer you to their friends, it how you do business, nothing gets you more business like referrals, work on how or what you are going to say, be sincere when talking to clients...ask them if you can help them with anything, like refer a good painter or carpenter etc to help them.

 Make a Goal of have 25 Clients send you two referrals a year...do the math, here it's $250,000.

Cheers, have a great day!

Posted by Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation, Accredited Real Estate Consultant (RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate) almost 11 years ago

Excellent points...serve, don't ask!

Posted by Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate, SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL (RE/MAX Unlimited Northwest) over 10 years ago

Agree with you. We recently were invited to a "party" where we were asked to bring our Rolodexto send out some post cards to our contacts for the person throwing the party -- huh? honesly we don't need a BBQ hamburger that badly.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

OMG - that's hilarious!!!!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 10 years ago

OK, a different perspective.

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) over 10 years ago

I agree wholeheartedly - communicate and the rest is best on your credibility and reputation in my opinion.

Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) over 10 years ago

I know you posted this article a million years ago but I am slow to read these things. Just wanted to chime in. AMEN. Referral-begging agents are pests. It is smarmy to beg your friends and clients for referrals. I do think it is important to stay in front of them and available to all potential referrals, however, constantly reminding them that you need their help in growing your business is annoying. Thank you for the post.

-Brian

Posted by Brian Langley (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

Tons of comments on this one!  Too many to read.  Like you, I don't like asking too agressively and I find that people will tell you what you want to hear just to get rid of you.  But I do think it is important for people to know that referrals are important to our business and many people need to get our permission to promote us due to their self-confidence too so we need to do that too.

So, at the least, I would share your enthusiasm like you do and use the 'herd behavior' by mentioning some recent successes and throw out a story about a referral you got from another friend that you really appreciated.  This indirect way might help your referral base send more leads your way. 

Also, always mention the good news about the market when talking to people like the low mortgage rates, 1st-time buyer tax credit and great home values.  This prompts people to think about real estate and might help them tell you about people in the market...

Posted by Sam Thompson, BIC Services, LLC (BIC Services, LLC) over 10 years ago

This post caused me to think about the people I do business with and how I react when they ask for referrals. I hate it. Strangely enough, no matter how great I thought the service or product was I am less likely to refer them once they ask. But every person is different. Some people react very well toward being asked to give referrals.

Posted by Carl Pruitt, http://FHALoanAdvice.com (FHA Loan Advice) about 10 years ago

I don't ask for referrals out right. I let my enthusiasm and work ethic sell me, myself and I. If I hear a friend say that they know of someone needing a realtor I will let them know that I would love to talk with that person and see if I can help them myself or refer them to someone else for their needs.

Posted by Anonymous about 10 years ago

That's it EXACTLY!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 10 years ago

Jennifer, I am so enjoying your insight and perspective. I have been indoctrinated with asking for referrals. I need to re-assess. Thanks and I will continue to enjoy your writings.

 

Nanette Bauer

Posted by Nanette Bauer "Helping Families Since 1984" (Remax Suburban, nan@nanbauer.com) about 10 years ago

Hi Jennifer~instead of saying "I HEART Referrals"  I say "PLEASE DON'T KEEP ME A SECRET!"  It is just another version of the same ol' thing...I usually get a comment about it....anything to be remembered right?

Cindi Evans 

Posted by Cindi Evans over 9 years ago

I've been licensed less than two weeks now and already have two listing appointments this week because I've been excited about my new career but I haven't had to ask anyone for business.  My appointments are both friends and are happy to have someone they know to help them sell their homes.  If I had used the approach my company taught in my first company training class, I would have already turned them off by calling and asking if they or anyone they knew was considering buying or selling real estate.  BLECH!  I am so grateful to you and SWS to help me build my business by being myself. 

Posted by Melissa Katzenberger (Crist Collins Realty) over 8 years ago

I ma so with you on this one Jennifer!!! I've got a unique sphere of influence in town - about 100 property managers..of apartment complexes.  I used to be the crime prevention coordinator in town, teaching all property managers about crime free housing program...

I am sending them out an information gathering letter - and I am going to offer a first time homebuyer workshop at those locations (the club house) for all those tenants who are interested.

 

Whaddya think?

 

Brent Cain

Posted by Brent Cain (Century21 McDaniel & Associates) over 6 years ago

I am so pleased to read this! I am a new-er  realtor and am feeling frustrated with finding my first client! Any tips on just getting going? I've sent an intro letter and have put my mug out there, but feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.

Posted by Lori Olivet about 4 years ago

Practice articulating the value you bring to a transaction. Ask: ''Who do you knwo that I can help?''

 

Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA (Barcode Properties) over 1 year ago

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