I’ve written before about how much real estate agents appreciate referrals.  I would say that most agents rely on referrals more than any other source of leads.  Do you know how to help your real estate agent with a referral?  After all, who would refer someone to their friend, associate, or family member who is awful?  There are different types of referrals as well.  Because we have so many people who want to refer us, I wanted to go over the right way to give a referral.  Here are some key points.

  1. When you are referring, you are actually making an introduction. A lot of times, someone will tell me that they’ve mentioned my name to someone.  That’s great!  Unfortunately, just throwing names around doesn’t usually help.  You have to give the referral some context.  Here’s an example.

Friend:  “I’m thinking about buying a new home and selling this one.”

You:  “Do you have an agent?”

Friend:  “No”

You:  “I know a real estate agent who helped me sell my home quickly.  His name is John Schink, from Deerwood Realty.  His contact information is 314-667-4343.   Would you like me to have him call you?”

Do you see what happened there?  You’ve made an introduction.  You’ve told your friend who this referral is, what they did, how to reach them, and made some attempt at action.  That’s a referral.

Let’s go over some instances that aren’t nearly as effective.

Friend:  “Hey John, the neighbor died and the house will be up for sale soon”

What’s wrong with that?  Well, that’s a tip and not so much a referral.  You see, just because someone dies and might need a real estate agent, that doesn’t really help anyone.  What am I supposed to say to this person’s family?  Hey, so and so died, I’d like to list their house”  The chances of closing the sale are not great.

Friend:  “Hey John, my friend is going to move”

Me:  That’s nice.  Did you tell your friend that I am a real estate agent and I’d like to help them find a place to live?”

Friend:  “No”

Can you see the problem here?  You told me about the person moving, but you didn’t tell the person moving that you had a solution to their problem.  This is another instance of a cold introduction.  What am I supposed to do with this information?

  1. When you are referring, you are vouching for the person. You are saying, I have used this person before and they did a fine job for me.  This is one of those areas where I think a lot of people mess up referrals.  When you are referring someone, you want to do it with confidence.  When you don’t have confidence, the person whom you are speaking with can pick up on it.  Let’s look at how this plays out in everyday life.

Friend:  “I need a real estate agent”

You:  “I have used a real estate agent before”

Do you see what happens here?  This isn’t really a referral.  You haven’t made an introduction (point 1) and you certainly aren’t vouching for the real estate agent’s abilities.(point 2) Here’s how that conversation should have gone.

Friend:  “I need a real estate agent”

You:  “I use John Schink as my real estate agent.  He did a fine job marketing my home for sale.  I’ll text you his contact information.  I can also have him call you.  When would be a good time?”

In this case, you are giving a referral.  You have made an introduction, and you’ve vouched for the real estate agent.

  1. When you refer a real estate agent, you are actively looking for a connection. You don’t want to be pushy with your friends and family.  After all, just because you had a good experience with a real estate agent, it doesn’t mean that they can’t find a similarly talented agent to represent them.  There is a key difference between just throwing out a name and looking for a connection.  Let’s go back to a dialogue.

Friend:  “I am considering putting my house up for sale in the fall”

You:  “I listed my home for sale with John Schink, who is the real estate broker for Deerwood Realty.  We sold our home quickly and it wasn’t a hassle.  Here is his contact information.  Should I tell him to give you a call?”

Two weeks later

Friend:  “How have you been?”

You:  “I’m doing swell.  Say, how did it work out with John Schink?  Will you be listing your home with him soon?”

In this case, you are showing that you actually do care about your friend and are looking to help solve their issue.  This is much better than mentioning something once and never discussing it again.  What kind of a friend are you?

  1. When you are referring a real estate agent, you are qualifying the referral first. So many times a friend of mine will give me a name with no contact information and no background.  I’m not able to do much with that.  Watch some ways to qualify your referral so you aren’t wasting anyone’s time.

Friend:  “I’m going to buy a new home in St. Louis”

You:  “Have you found a real estate agent yet?”

Friend:  “No, I have a name, but I’ve not reached out to anyone”

You:  “I know a great real estate agent.  His name is John Schink, and he helped my brother find a home in South County that was a great deal.  His contact information is 314-667-4343.  I will tell him to expect your call, or would you like me to have him call you?”

Can you see how much different this referral is than just throwing out a name?  Do you see how you qualified the referral?  Some people get freaked out if the person already has a real estate agent.  Here’s how to handle that.

Friend:  “I’m currently listing my home for sale but the real estate agent listing it is pretty awful”

You:  “I’m sorry to hear that.  I used John Schink of Deerwood Realty to sell my home and it went really well.  I can give you his contact information if you’re having second thoughts about your agent.”

In this case, your friend already has an agent.  By statute, I can’t contact this person directly about their real estate needs because they have an agreement with someone else.  I can talk to this person if they initiate the contact, however.  This is why it’s important to qualify referrals as you can get your favorite real estate agent in a lot of trouble, and that’s the last thing you want to do for an agent who did a good job for you.

I hope you can see that there is a difference in how you give a referral, and the difference between just throwing out a name and actively referring a person.  The next time you know of someone who is thinking about making a move, you will be much better prepared to help out your friend, and your favorite real estate agent.  Truly a win/win!