Real Estate Agents: How to Ask for Referrals

by Lois Leonard

2 min read

Referrals drive real estate business. You might shy away from asking your clients for referrals, because asking feels like you’re bothering them. In reality, however, clients who are satisfied with your services are happy to send referrals your way, but they won’t know you want referrals unless you ask.

Direct Approach

There’s nothing wrong with being direct when asking for referrals, as long as you do it politely. Just after you’ve signed a listing agreement or filled out a sales contract are opportune times to ask. At that point, it’s reasonable to assume that clients view you as an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor, since they’ve entered into a legal and binding contract with you. Consider being upfront with your clients – let them know you make your living from referrals, and ask them if they know anyone who will be buying or selling a home in the near future. After closing is also a good time to ask for a referral, since in most cases, your clients will be happy that you helped them buy or sell homes successfully.

Creative Approach

You don’t always need to be sitting across from your clients in a meeting room to ask for referrals. Instead, brainstorm creative ways to ask for referrals. For example, giving a gift is a great way to ask for referral business. Consider sending inexpensive gifts to your clients — such as calendars around the new year, or note pads. When sending your clients gifts, it’s a good idea to include a handwritten note thanking them for being your clients and reminding them to send you referral business. You might also ask for referrals in your email newsletter and add referral requests in real estate tips you share with your clients in social media.

Giving Advice

Some real estate agents generate leads by holding homebuyer or home seller workshops in their communities. Giving advice in these types of settings establishes you as an expert, which can prompt workshop attendees to send referral business your way, if you ask for referrals. You can also include a request for referrals in homebuyer guides you distribute and even on your business cards and other print marketing materials. In any print materials you distribute and in online content you share, remember to include a blurb stating that you appreciate referrals.

Following Up With Past Clients

Time flies when you’re helping people buy and sell homes, and it may have been a long time since you followed up with your past clients. Consider calling to ask them how they’re doing and to remind them that you’re still in the real estate business. If you ask for referrals after some time has passed, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out from your former clients that their neighbors are moving and need good listing agents, or that a relative just got married and is ready to buy a home. Asking for referrals can feel awkward. if you ask for referrals consistently, though, you’ll have a steady stream of clients to serve year-round.

References & Resources

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