Above and beyond: how 3 real estate leaders earned a referral

As a customer, there’s nothing better than when someone goes above and beyond for you. It might be at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or the bank. The location doesn’t matter. What matters is that when people genuinely care about what’s best for you and strive to make you happy, it’s a great feeling — so great, you’ll probably tell people you know about it.

For real estate agents, providing this level of excellent customer service is crucial to earning the referrals that help your business succeed. The National Association of REALTORSⓇ Research Group’s 2019 Trends Report flags referrals as the way the majority of buyers connect with an agent, while 63% of sellers use a referral or the same agent they’ve worked with in the past when listing their home. Word-of-mouth remains the best way for agents to connect with new clients and meet their sales goals.

Here are three leading real estate professionals on how sound advice, smart networking, and simple acts of kindness led to lucrative new opportunities.

Sammy Dweck

I met Shira at an LGBTQ “Night OUT at the Nationals” baseball game in 2012. We hit it off right away, and I helped her purchase a studio condominium. As I advised her to avoid changing her credit profile during the mortgage process, she waited to buy an engagement ring for her girlfriend until after settlement. At her request, we went straight from the settlement table together to the jeweler, where I had the privilege of helping her select a ring. In the following year, she sent me $4 million in referrals.

Sammy Dweck, Broker Associate
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty — Downtown Office

Robbie Briggs

As the CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, I don’t represent individual properties. Our 425-plus agents across North Texas are the absolute experts for that. Rather, I spend my time traveling around the U.S. and the world developing referrals and business. I once traveled to Dubai and met with investors who are developing 60 acres in North Texas, and now we will be selling highrises and townhomes for them. I’ve traveled to California — and we often advertise there — which has led to referrals and business from the CEOs of Tenet Healthcare and Toyota, when they moved their headquarters from California to North Texas. I’ve traveled to Mexico City, Asia, Europe, and throughout the U.S., developing relationships that have translated into real business and real referrals. Getting out there and getting visible is key.

Robbie Briggs
President and CEO
Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty

Leslie S. Modell

Understanding who you are working with and maintaining their trust is key to earning a constant stream of referrals. I once renovated a customer’s bathroom after there was a leak in her apartment while she was away overseas. That was five years ago, and I still speak to and keep in constant touch with her.

I have three rules of thumb for referrals: excellent customer service that goes beyond the basics, confidentiality that respects all levels of privacy, and trust and empathy. We use the hashtag #WeGetItDone. Our many referrals come from a vast range of people: wealth managers, attorneys, and of course past customers. Putting your best foot forward at all times and always giving it 150% keeps your customers happy and your referral base strong.

Leslie S. Modell
Senior Global Real Estate Advisor/Associate Broker
The Leslie S. Modell Team — Sotheby’s International Realty

Your style of going above and beyond may not involve traveling great distances, sharing in a client’s monumental life event, or overseeing a renovation, but it’s this kind of investment that makes an everyday interaction into one worth talking about.


About Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.

The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.