With Stacey Brown Randall’s unique no-ask approach to referral generation, she’s helped clients grow from 30-40 referrals per year to well over 300. Here’s her five-step system for getting referrals without being pushy.

In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This spring, go Back to Basics with Inman.

Getting referral business this summer will be make or break for some agents. Asking for referrals is the only way to generate more referral-based business, right? Wrong! According to expert Stacey Brown Randall, explicitly asking for referrals is a bad strategy.

With her unique no-ask approach to referral generation, she’s helped clients grow from 30-40 referrals per year to well over 300.

Stacey Brown Randall

During a podcast interview, Randall outlined what agents can do to get more referrals without asking for them. She also shared how to make touches that are memorable and meaningful so that you’re always the top-of-mind choice.

For all that and more, listen to the podcast below. Or, for a quick overview of Randall’s five-step system for generating referrals without asking, read on.


Identify referral sources

If you don’t know who your current and potential referral sources are, it’s impossible to focus your referral-generation efforts in an effective way. That’s why, before anything else, you need to identify these sources.

To start, look at the referral-based business you’ve gotten over the past few years. Hopefully you’ve been tracking where your referrals have been coming from and can use this information to identify your business’ current referral sources. If not, now is a great time to start including this information in your customer relationship management (CRM); it’s important!

For potential referral sources, consider clients and contacts who regularly interact with members of the community. These could be other service-oriented professionals or simply people with large social circles. Include these potential referral sources in your plan as they have the reach needed to send a steady stream of referrals your way.

Create a follow-up system

Before ramping up your referral-generation efforts, it’s important to put together a follow-up system so that you’re able to track referrals effectively and so that you’re able to thank the right referral source each and every time.


Well, think about it like this: when you send someone a gift, how good does it feel to get a heartfelt thank-you in return? How frustrating is it to get no acknowledgement at all?

A referral is a gift, and it’s one that’s well-deserving of your thanks. So, when you get a referral, you need to make every effort to thank the person who referred you. Don’t just do it with a quick email either. Something personal, like a handwritten letter or a call, is much more powerful.

Make a referral-generation plan

Once you’ve identified your referral sources and put a follow-up system in place, it’s time to make a referral-generation plan.

Thanking referral sources can’t be your only touch — not if you really want to ramp up your referral-based business. Instead, you need to take some initiative and reach out to referral sources regularly in a meaningful way.

Randall, for instance, sent Wonder Woman mugs to the mothers in her list of referral sources last year for Mother’s Day.

Holidays, birthdays and life events are all opportunities for you to touch referral sources to help stay top-of-mind. Let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them on those special days, and they’ll be more likely to remember you when the time comes to recommend a real estate professional.

Use language to plant ‘referral seeds’

When interacting with referral sources, Randall uses language to plant what she calls “referral seeds.” This is the secret to generating referrals without asking, as it underlines how much you value referrals without the need to explicitly ask for them.

Essentially, you want to express how referrals positively impact your business and how much you appreciate them without crossing the line (like so many agents do) and asking, “Do you or someone you know want to buy or sell a home?”

One opportunity to use cleverly crafted language to generate referrals is when someone asks you, “How’s business?”

To that, here’s how Randall would respond:

“It’s great. Thanks so much for asking. You know, it’s funny. I was just reviewing my numbers for last year, and 80 percent of my business came from referrals. Aren’t referrals the best way to grow a business?”

For more examples of “referrals seeds” and ways to plant them when touching contacts, listen to the podcast.


Now that you’ve created your complete system for generating real estate referrals, the last step is to ensure that you’re able to execute it.

Randall finds that her clients do best when they automate as much as possible. Setting reminders for touch and follow-up opportunities is especially important.

Randall recommends automating your process for thanking and reaching out to referrers based on systems you already use. If, for instance, you rely on your CRM to remind you of daily business tasks, integrate your touch and follow-up processes for referrers into that.

The exact system you use doesn’t matter. As long as it helps you consistently complete touches and follow-ups, it will work.

By following this simple five-step system, you’ll be able to maximize your referral-based business. Even better, you’ll be able to get more real estate referrals without having to ask for them!

For more tips on generating referrals, listen to the podcast with Stacey Brown Randall.

Pat Hiban sold more than 7,000 homes over the course of his 25-year career in real estate. Now, he dedicates his time to helping others succeed as agents and investors. As host of the Real Estate Rockstars Podcast, Pat interviews real estate experts to explore what works in today’s markets. He also founded Rebus University, an online training platform for real estate agents and sales professionals.

After 25 years, Inman Connect is coming to you. We’re transcending our legendary events in a live digital event, Inman Connect Now. Get ready for the top industry leaders plotting the path forward, new business ideas and opportunities, networking like you’ve never imagined it, and tons of exciting new magic, all straight to you. It’s all part of an epic new Inman experience, Connect Now, June 2-4, 2020. Click here to save your seat.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription