Do You Feel Weird Asking for Referrals?

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Last Updated on October 28, 2020

Do you feel weird asking for referrals, or even business directly? Does it feel like you’re a telemarketer or in used car sales when you do?

I hear from agents all the time who, for one reason or another, feel weird when it comes to asking for referrals. I totally get it. There’s something about asking people for things that just doesn’t quite feel natural. Whether you feel like you’re bothering someone, or maybe that you don’t even deserve it, sometimes asking for business can be tough. However, it doesn’t have to be. 

Get in the Right Headspace

Normally, this is where I would reveal some wiz-bang script you can adopt in your business, and we’ll get to that part, but I want to start by talking about the mentality of asking for business, because this is where I see most agents fail. Even really successful, driven agents with the perfect scripts fail if they don’t have the right mindset when asking for business. 

If you don’t feel comfortable and confident when you’re asking for business, you aren’t going to do it in a way that makes you successful. Fear and doubt will make you fall victim to all of the classics like procrastination, mediocre work, a failure to launch marketing campaigns entirely or even worse, never asking for the business in the first place. 

Does any of this sound familiar to you, when it comes to cold calling or past experiences asking for referrals? 

I’d like to change your mindset by asking you 2 simple questions:

  1. Do you do a great job for your clients?
  1. Do the people you work with genuinely need your help?

I assume you said ‘Yes’ to both questions… you wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for your ability and passion to help others when they need it, and I know you surely go above and beyond for them as an Agent Inner Circle Member :).

So, if people out there need help and you do a great job providing that help – why do you feel bad about asking? 

People Naturally Want to Be Part of Something Great

If anything, try looking at this from the other perspective. Would you be remiss to not offer help when people might need it? Further, if you knew you could help someone be successful – and how – would you not be inclined or compelled to do so?

I wish I started thinking about this topic years ago the way I do now, because it has surely made a difference in my career and the careers of countless agents I’ve worked with and coached. If you have the right mindset, the rest becomes so much easier, and clearer. You’re no longer calling to ask for money, you’re calling to remind them that you’re always there to help them, and you’re a reliable source they can also trust their friends and family to. 

We’ll get into the specific tactics of asking for referrals below, but successfully making ‘the ask’ starts with one thing, and that’s your mindset. Take some time to really think about, and internalize the notion that you are doing a great job helping people who really need it.

Say it out loud – “I’m doing a great job helping people who really need me.”

Referral Programming System

Once you have the mindset, there are a few tricks to make sure your offer to help doesn’t go unnoticed. This comes down to developing a Referral Programming System with a few core components that you can use over and over again. 

Make Referrals Part of Your Initial Conversation

Whenever you start working with a new client it’s important to set the stage and let them know that you’ll be asking them to refer their friends or colleagues, and your goal is to do such a great job serving their needs that they’ll send all of their referrals your way. Make sure you note that you’ll be taking care of them long before ever asking for other business.

Determine Your Offer Points

I’ve seen a wide range of recommendations for where and when to ask for referrals. Everything from business cards and billboards to directly asking at the closing table, or over a phone call in the weeks following.

Personally, I’m not a fan of any of these methods. Directly asking someone – ‘hey, do you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home?” certainly can work… however, if you’ve been following our blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me talking about reciprocity. If you set your system up correctly, asking for a referral can be as easy as a passing comment.

Let me give you an example: Most agents I talk to give closing gifts to their clients. This creates some sort of interaction where the client is saying thank you, and is a perfect opportunity to add into the conversation a very specific ask, “oh, by the way, do you know anyone getting married this year who might be looking at homes?”

This is just one of the reasons why staying in touch frequently and consistently is so critical, especially when you are building a referral business with reciprocity in mind. It gives you the opportunity to present a helpful offer in an unassuming, non-salesy way, over an extended period of time.

Phrase Your Referral Offer

You might have noticed above that I drastically changed “Do you know anyone looking to buy/sell… blah blah.” (by the way I used “blah blah” there, because that’s exactly what clients hear). The type of messaging that goes in one ear and out the other… 

By changing your script to focus on life events, you make it a lot more likely that people will draw a connection, remember it later, and offer your help going forward. These life events I’m referring to are things like, weddings, babies, kids leaving for college, job changes… and the list goes on! 

Your goal is to match up the most likely scenarios for the individual client you’re working with (i.e. a young couple might know other young couples getting married). You might have even learned of key things as you were having conversations while working together. The more you know about people, the more likely you’ll be able to very specifically offer your help.

Are You Ready To Ask For Referrals?

If you haven’t already, take some time to focus on the mindset we discussed above. And even if you’ve been a fierce and confident agent in the past, I want you to say it again – “I’m doing a great job helping people who really need me.” If you believe this at your core, the rest will come just as naturally. 

In the end, it  all comes down to having a referral discussion at the beginning of the transaction, and creating moments to make your offer, using the best phrasing to get the response you’re looking for. Easy, right?
If you’re still struggling with the mindset of asking for referrals, please reach out to me directly. I’m always happy to help our community of agents overcome any big hurdles, and you can easily book a 15 minute session with me to discuss what’s going on.

Alex Camelio
Throughout his career, Alex has personally guided over 15,000 Agents and Brokers, including some of North America's top REALTORS®. With a deep passion for marketing, technology, and business development, Alex has spent more than a decade at the forefront of innovation in the real estate industry. As the CEO of Agent Inner Circle®, a thriving community of 40,000 real estate agents, Alex is dedicated to providing education and actionable strategies that help agents grow and optimize their businesses. His efforts have played a pivotal role in building some of the most successful careers in real estate today. An internationally recognized educator, Alex has delivered insightful and dynamic presentations to numerous National Associations and industry organizations. His enthusiasm for sharing knowledge and expertise continues to inspire and elevate professionals across the industry. Alex is always eager to help others achieve their full potential and is excited to share his insights with everyone.

3 thoughts on “Do You Feel Weird Asking for Referrals?”

  1. So true! Often, the biggest hurdle is our own mindset. It becomes the one objection that we cannot refute. It takes an article like this to consciously change our mindset. The words will follow naturally.

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