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Food for Thought – How to Amplify Your Referral Base

By Rebecca Chandler

ReferralBaseLast week, as we finished up the National Association of REALTORS® Convention, I made an observation.

Some people think they absolutely need to market themselves, their listings, and their businesses.

Some people do not. They say they rely on referrals.

It’s not quite that simple, but almost.

I heard one say last week that they received ALL their business from referrals. And, I think that’s a testament to the level of professionalism and service they provide their clients – that they become confident to refer their friends and family. But, I think that as the sole source of business, it’s extremely risky. There are times when your referral base may just not know anyone who is buying or selling – or another good, professional, agent could also be considered and may begin to erode your referral base. Let’s assume that you are not the only reliable real estate professional in town.

From time to time, we have all liked a product so much that we would refer it to our friends. For example, I like my new Skechers boots. They look sharp and they are extremely comfortable. I would recommend them to my friends. However, not all my friends are in the market for boots, my tastes may not be theirs, and there are just certain times of the year when you are less likely to buy boots and we’ll all be less likely to be talking about buying boots. Some may take my recommendation and shop for Skechers boots, but, in the end, they will make their own decisions. Skechers certainly shouldn’t rely on me as a consistent source of business.

I wonder how many times someone in your sphere of influence is asked about a real estate transaction, and they don’t recommend you? It just didn’t occur to them. Or – they did recommend you and the prospect chose differently? Or they did recommend you and another agent crossed their path before they contacted you? There could be a multitude of reasons why you did not get the referral. Truth is, you may be getting a good number of referrals, but it’s highly unlikely that you are getting them all.

Let’s think about this a little differently. You are a very good, highly professional real estate agent who leaves a trail of happy clients. If you were to consider that for every piece of new business you gained through advertising or another lead generation activity, each of those would refer even more new business to you, your referral base would be amplified. If you are very good at getting referral business, just think how good you’d be if you also advertised.

Food for thought.

For More - Is Your Listing Presentation Missing Something?

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3 Comments
  1. I certainly agree with what you are saying. Referrals are great and they happen quite a bit but sometimes more than others. Having several sources of business seems to be the prudent thing to do. I always try to be on the lookout for new ideas and sources of business. We can each improve our marketing plan with good ideas and suggestions from others.

  2. I agree about referrals and I listen to my friends and what they say. Ultimately.. I make my own decision after I visit the store. I’m finding the new younger agents are a breath of fresh air.. attitude, BRANDING and marketing skills are very very important to them.. If established agents who are just waiting for business to come to them by referrals. they just may lose new business.

  3. Referrals are important, and we most certainly pay great attention to WOM we get, but in our digital era it is vital to be online and to promote online, no matter what your business is. Recently read an article on smbd doing business on airbnb – 1 bad online comment could kill your business (well, also “referral”, bad, in a way).

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