Any real estate professional will tell you that one of the best sources of business in this industry comes from past or current client referrals. While a few customers give referrals without suggestion, most will not think to do so, even if they absolutely loved your service.

  • Ask for real estate referrals often -- during the listing presentation, throughout the sales process, and after the sale.
  • It is the relationship you continue to foster with your client after closing that will give you the best chance at referrals.
  • Practice social listening techniques so that you can stay top-of-mind for your clients.

Any real estate professional will tell you that one of the best sources of business in this industry comes from past or current client referrals.

While a few customers give referrals without suggestion, most will not think to do so, even if they absolutely loved your service.

Here’s the bottom line rule for referrals: You have to ask to receive, and while the process may feel awkward or uncomfortable, it is extremely important.

You will find the most success if you ask frequently but respectfully, whether that be before, during or after the sale.

During the listing presentation and interview

When you are selling prospective clients on your exceptional service, also take the opportunity to ask for a referral.

Start to build their trust here by telling them you will follow through with the expectations you’re pitching, which leaves them wanting to tell others about their positive experience.

An example of how to ask at this point is:

“We will work very hard to make sure that this process is seamless for you, that your needs and wishes are heard and that at the end of the marketing and selling process you are delighted with the service you received. Our goal is for you to be so happy with our process and that you become an advocate of ours by sending us referrals so that we can continue to help families just like yours.”

Realtors offer different levels of service, and consumers want their loved ones to experience the largest purchase of their life seamlessly with someone they know, like and trust. Here’s your chance to plant the seed and prove you are that person.

During the sales process

The highest rate of real estate referrals comes from ongoing relationships with clients who are currently moving, so focus on continually fostering the relationship from the initial meeting.

Clients preparing to move have a heightened awareness of other people looking to do the same. If you provide your customers with an unparalleled experience, you will be at the top of their mind when they want to suggest an agent to their friends or family. Use successes throughout the process as an opportunity to ask for referrals.

Let’s say your clients’ loan was approved. Congratulate them and show your genuine interest in their well-being through your excitement.

At this point, you’ve positively guided them one step closer to moving so you can use this momentum to ask for a referral.

Take this approach:

“As I’ve done a great job for you thus far and you now understand better how we work, we could use your help in referring us to other people who want to buy or sell a home. Do you know of anyone that may be in need of my company’s services?”

After closing (the most crucial time)

Once the transaction is complete, it is even easier to ask for referrals.

Let your clients know just how much you appreciated their business and how it was a pleasure working with them.

Try this proposition:

“It is important to me to make sure that you have been happy with my service as I have built my business on customer satisfaction. How would you rate my service? If you have associates, friends or relatives who need real estate assistance, would you feel comfortable referring me to help?”

While most agents and brokerages will place all of their focus on the people they want as prospective clients, you shouldn’t discount the people who you have already done business with, as they could be future advocates.

A contact in your network who refers business to you is often worth more than a single buyer or seller prospect. But how do you keep those contacts in your network after you’ve helped them sell or buy their dream home?

Follow up after the sale

Post-sale follow-up is good business. It tells your customers that you are interested in their well-being, and it makes it easier to ask for referrals later on.

Three weeks after closing, once the moving boxes are likely unpacked, call to check in.

Ask how the move went and make sure they are setting in alright. Let them know you are there for them if they need anything else, from trusted vendors to design tips, and that you will check in again a month down the road.

Once that month passes, call again. This time you can ask for referrals, but make sure their prosperity and happiness is still your main priority.

Social listening techniques

Avidly pay attention to your past clients through social listening and continued communication.

See what they are up to on their various social media sites — if they just landed their dream job, send them a handwritten congratulations and relevant gift.

If they just welcomed a new baby into their family, send them a frame that they can put a new family photo in.

These little actions will further show your clients that they made the right choice when they chose you as their agent. They will also be far more inclined to recommend you to their friends and family.

Create content your readers need

Your previous clients may have settled into their new home perfectly, but now they are having trouble decorating their dining room.

It would be hard to know this without them telling you, though, so follow up with past clients regularly. As you discover any problems in their lives, you can be a resource.

For example, direct that couple needing inspiration for their dining room design to your company’s latest “Trending Home Improvement and Interior Design Ideas” blog post.

Help solve their problems, and they will want to give you referrals because they trust you. Writing relevant blog content that your current and past clients need will solidify you as their trusted source of all things real estate even after closing day.

Update everyone who gives you a referral

People love to be appreciated.

When you get a referral, thank the person who gave it to you and keep him or her updated.

Call and express your gratitude but also catch up on what’s happening in his or her life.

Continue to show interest in people who send you business, and they’ll send even more your way just because you showed you cared.

The idea is pretty simple: Ask in the right ways and you shall receive.

Asking for referrals from current and past clients is one of the easier prospecting methods, but it is sadly neglected.

Build a strong relationship with your clients from day one, truly invest in their lives, and they will want to invest in yours by providing you with referrals.

One of the most common complaints among homebuyers and sellers is that after the transaction is complete, they never hear from their real estate agent again.

Don’t make that mistake. Keep in touch with everyone you have helped, and it will be far less uncomfortable to ask them from time to time if they know of others you could serve.

This type of followthrough will pay dividends for a long time to come.

Mark Spain is the chairman and CEO of Mark Spain Real Estate in Alpharetta, Georgia, also serving Metro Atlanta and Athens. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Email Mark Spain

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