These 3 Steps Will Help You Gain Referrals

Luke Acree

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When you’re a service-based sales professional, there’s no denying the power of people you already know.

According to NAR’s 2023 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, referrals remain the primary way that most homebuyers and sellers find their Realtor®.

Whatever industry you’re in, more referrals mean less time and energy spent chasing leads. But how do you get enough referrals to keep your business afloat?

First and foremost, the key to getting referrals is to become referable. Provide your customers with incredible service. Go above and beyond, so you’ll be that much more memorable.

In many cases, simply going the extra mile will be enough to get you a glowing recommendation. But, should you find that those referrals aren’t rolling in on their own, you’ll need to be more proactive. Here’s how.

Stop procrastinating and check in with your customers

If you’re serious about creating lasting client relationships that will bring you more business down the line, then following up with your customers should already be a part of your process.


Make following up with clients a routine part of your sales process.

Ask your clients how their experience was. If they’re satisfied with the service they received, see if they’ll provide you with a testimonial. A positive review from a satisfied customer will go a long way in helping you close more deals.

These conversations are also golden opportunities to let your past clients know how much you appreciate their business, and how you’d love to meet more great customers like them. It’s crucial that you ask for these valuable introductions, because they won’t necessarily happen otherwise. This brings me to my next suggestion . . .

Remind people of how they can help you

As Bill Good would say, you need to create referral consciousness. Lead with exceptional service, but also make sure people are aware that you’re looking for new clients.

One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents make is assuming people will use and refer them, simply because they work as an agent. While it’s true that your friends and family will probably be more willing to use you than someone they don’t know personally, they won’t use you if they aren’t thinking about you.

Index finger with a string tied in a bow around it

You MUST remind clients, family, and friends that you rely on their referrals to grow your business. Don’t assume they’ll remember.

I used to work a job with my college roommate, Stephen, where we earned commissions selling mobile phones. I eventually moved on from that job, but Stephen stayed. When my wife’s birthday rolled around, I bought her an iPhone. Unfortunately, I didn’t use Stephen—not because I didn’t like him or didn’t want him to get a commission, but purely because I didn’t think to buy from him. Shame on me for not using him, but shame on him for not creating referral consciousness.

You can create referral consciousness by having frank conversations with the people in your circle. Your uncle knows you as his nephew or niece, not his nephew or niece the real estate agent. Talk to your uncle. Ask him if he knows anyone who might be looking for help with real estate. Most importantly, let him know what your goals are, so that he becomes invested in your success.

Encourage reciprocity

Once someone gives you a single referral, they’ll most likely be willing to give you a second, third, or even thirteenth. The way to encourage this behavior is by triggering the reciprocity effect.

In business, the reciprocity effect refers to the idea that we want to give to people who have given to us. Once you’ve triggered these feelings in your clients, they’ll be more likely to reward you with not just a single referral or repeat transaction, but also many more in the future.

To let your client know how much you appreciate their referral, you could send them a handwritten note or thank them publicly on social media. Many salespeople also like to send along a token of appreciation, like a bottle of wine or a gift basket. Another great gift you can send is a customized, branded magazine from ReminderMedia, which is full of articles and recipes your client will definitely enjoy.


Click here, and we’ll send a free copy of our most recent issue to your inbox.

Ultimately, the gift or gesture is not as important as the thought behind it. Your customer wants the feeling of knowing they made a difference in your life. The knowledge that your client helped you put food on your table will encourage them to refer people to you again and again—far more effectively than any gift basket or bottle of wine ever could.

At the end of the day, the key to your future success lies in the transactions you close today, as well as the people you already know. When you tell people about your goals, remind them how valuable their referrals are, and reward them when they give you what you want, you’ll be amazed by the growth you see in your business.

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Written by Luke Acree

Luke Acree, President of ReminderMedia, is a sales fanatic, a marketing evangelist, and an expert team builder. Luke has worked with tens of thousands of agents over the years, helping them understand how to connect with their client database in a way that generates leads, secures repeat clients, and captures referrals.