In this weekly series, David Friedman shares the five keystones for effectively prospecting the affluent, distilled from over a decade of advising global leaders in luxury. This week, learn how to turn generic referrals into introductions by avoiding open-ended requests.

In Part 3 of WealthQuotient co-founder David Friedman’s five-part series on the keystone habits real estate agents need to effectively prospect wealthy potential clients, you’ll learn how to transform referrals into introductions by avoiding open-ended requests. Check in weekly on Fridays and on Agent Edge for your next strategy-turned-healthy-prospecting habit to add more affluent clients to your database.

Catch up on the series here:

Habit No. 1: Avoid ‘hope marketing,’ and decide to shift your mindset from being reactive to proactive about building your business through referrals

Habit No. 2: Take an inventory of your relationships and clients, and identify the key sources of both your past and future referrals

Habit No 3: Avoid open-ended generic referral requests, and transform referrals into introductions by being specific

Many people migrate across the rubicon from reactive and ad hoc “hope marketing” to be more proactive in building their businesses by asking for referrals. In other words, many agents hope that if they serve their clients well enough the referrals will continue to keep rolling through the door. 

Those agents with this mindset often believe that asking for referrals can be perceived as being pushy, off-putting or abrasive. There are a few challenges with this view. 

One, your clients are busy and you are not top of mind for them and its wrong to expect that just because you are serving them well, you can count on their referral. Serving your clients well is table stakes. 

If you are the kind of agent that gets many referrals organically without asking, this raises the second issue:  Waiting on referrals leaves you out of control and at the whim of your client or relationship to make them when they have time or energy. 

The third issue with asking for generic referrals is it puts tremendous pressure on your client or relationship to come up a referral. 

I have written previously about how customer surveys can be a great way to not only better understand your client’s view but can also offer the foundation for referrals by asking a key question: “Would you refer me to a family member, colleague or friend?”

But the key habit to develop here is to not waste a referral request by asking for it the wrong way. 

Many agents are proactive in asking for referrals but fall off at the end by asking for an open ended request like, “Do you know anyone that needs [some real estate service]?”  To which the response a majority of the time is:  “Let me think about it and get back to you.”  

Open-ended generic requests lead to the “black hole” of referrals and put to much pressure on your relationship or client to assess their own network, qualify a prospect and then deliver it to you. 

A specific request increases the probability that they can react and action the request or in some cases decide they can’t help.  Often times, the specific request prompts someone else that was not part of the original request.  The key is to avoid short circuiting the process with a generic request.  

Either way, its better than an endless chain of e-mail following up to see if they have come up with anything.  

Baby step activation

If you are going to ask for a referral, to ensure you actually get an introduction, don’t make your relationship do the work — always have a group of potential individuals you are trying to build relationships with that you believe are connected to someone you know.

Take someone from habit #2 and find the bio page from their company or LinkedIn profile and see if you can identify three to five people to which they are connected and next time you are with them, ask for an introduction to a couple of them.

Weekly resolve

Make sure that if you are meeting a referral source or client, invest a small amount of time before the meeting to identify at least two to three individuals connected to that person that you might be interested in cultivating as relationships.

Even if you don’t ask for the introduction, this is a great skill to inculcate any time you are meeting with someone. Building this mindset will help drive a behavior shift in how you grow your business.

David Friedman is the co-founder of WealthQuotient. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter

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