How to Ask for a Client Referral


How to Ask for a Client ReferralSo you’ve built a great relationship with a client or affiliate and you really want to ask them to refer their friends and family to you. You feel hesitant to ask and you’re not sure how to bring it up so you go with a casual approach and say, “Hey, by the way, if you know of anyone looking to buy or sell real estate, let me know. I would love to help them.” And then you hand over five of your business cards.

Been there before? I know what that can feel like. I would dread asking people for business, feeling apprehensive about extending myself into people’s treasured network of friends and family. I didn’t want to come across as being cheesy or sales-y. Worse, I didn’t want to come across as an opportunist, pouncing on the occasion to drum up more business. So, I would make the request casual, to ensure comfort for all involved. Phooey!

What I’ve learned is that when you do this, you’re not giving yourself or your clients the full attention and honor that the conversation deserves. Instead, you minimize how important it really is to you. Essentially, you are not acting from a place of authenticity but rather from a place of fear.

Set some special time aside to have a conversation with your clients about how to refer business to you. When I was part of a business networking group, the members would meet up one-on-one for coffee to get to know each other and educate each other on how to spot a good referral for the other person. The time together helped to build trust, which is needed for people to refer you on to their valued friends and family.

Give your clients specific clues on how to spot someone who is thinking about buying or selling real estate. Often, people will refer when they know that someone is purchasing for certain, and in some cases, that can be too late for you. Instead of asking, “Do you know anybody who wants to sell their house?” ask questions that train people to be able to spot the life transition clues in their network of friends and family.

Help your client brainstorm their various networks. Spend a few minutes talking about the people they know including work colleagues, school, sports, and social networks, neighbors and any clubs or associations where they are members. When you help them go through their network database, you are in fact helping them visualize the people they can approach.

Express your gratitude. Show your appreciation when people are willing to send referrals your way. When you go the extra mile for your clients and affiliates, they will do the same for you.

Who are the people you should be meeting with?

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  • Dal Sohal, Success Strategist for Real Estate Agents
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