Endless Clients System #6 – Referral Reward

By Craig Forte, Founder - Posted on
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Last Updated on April 24, 2017

Pavlov could get a dog to salivate just by ringing a bell.  How’d he do it? He trained the dog’s mind to salivate by giving it a food treat each time he rang a bell.  And within just a few repetitions…he could eliminate the treat, and the dog was still “programmed” to salivate when it heard the bell. How does this apply to your real estate practice? See…Pavlov learned that…

Behavior that Gets REWARDED… Gets REPEATED!

I’d like to think we’ve evolved beyond that of our furry canine friends, but the truth is…we behave in much the same way. And with a little knowledge and a few skills in this area, you can “program” your Power List to readily think of you any time they meet or hear anyone thinking about buying or selling. Instead of “salivating” you can program them to quickly “bark-out” your name when the situation dictates (oh, that’s really corny, isn’t it?). After all, according to the NAR…that’s how 73% of all clients are received by agents – by referral, directly knowing the agent, word of mouth or repeat business. Now…before we talk about strategies for getting people to actively think of “you” with referrals…there’s something very important that I need to review with you… A lot of agents think…if they hold out the right “reward”, people will stand on street corners proudly yelling-out the agents’ name. But this is naïve in two ways… First, it’s against the law to directly compensate someone for sending you a referral. And second, even if it were legal…

No One’s Going to Refer to You… If You Aren’t Referral-Worthy!

I mentioned this in an earlier article, but it’s so important, we need to revisit the subject. See…when someone refers a client to you, they’re not only putting YOU on the line for a good outcome…they’re putting THEMSELVES on the line too. Your referring-friend must first believe that you offer the most competent, professional and uniquely-superior services before they’ll ever send a close friend over your way. Why? Because referrals reflect back on THEM. And they don’t want to look bad by referring an agent who blows the deal. Make sense? So let’s talk about…

4 Specific Times to Acknowledge Referrals in Your Practice…

First, you should acknowledge the referral immediately when you receive the referral – even if the referral did not become a client. You want to send out a special thoughtful note acknowledging the action as quickly as possible after getting the referral. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, and you don’t want to violate any rules and regulations in the process. Second, make sure you keep contact during the transaction. Communicate frequently to inform the referring party how their referral is progressing, and how well you’re taking care of them. This shows you care about the referral and the person who referred. Consider giving a special acknowledgement at loan approval or some specific time like that (put this with your “task” systems throughout the listing process and it’ll be easy-as-pie to accomplish). Third, acknowledge the client and recognize their referral in your Service For Life!® monthly real estate newsletter.  Why?  Because people love to see their name in print – and by acknowledging the referral in public, you automatically program others in your Power List to refer to you. Fourth, recognize the referral at closing. A simple letter reporting the successful transaction will do. With that background, here are 2 simple systems for making a big impact when rewarding referrals…

Referral Reward System #1: The Perennial Reward Gift™

Do you remember in a previous article I talked about using a “perennial” after-sale gift in your practice? It’s a gift that keeps coming throughout the year and continues to REMIND your client of you – without you doing any additional work or expense (that’s what I mean by “leverage”). The gift I mentioned in that article was the annual magazine subscription, such as “Architectural Digest” or something the appeals to them.  The secret is to identify THEIR personal interests or passions and give a gift that shows you acknowledge their interests. That’s how you make a personal impression. Here are a few additional ideas to help in your practice (don’t violate any state laws or regulations relating to “value” in the process)…
  1. Donate to their Favorite Charity.  You make a huge impression by identifying the causes they love, and making a donation in THEIR name.
  2. 5 Free Car Washes.  Go to your local quality car wash and see if you can purchase a book of car washes.  Each time they visit the car wash, they’ll think of you.
  3. 2-4 Free Oil Changes.  Same as above, but go to a quick lube place and get them 2 to 4 quick lube oil changes to cover them for 6 months or a year.  Each time they go, they think of you.
  4. 8 Free Movie Tickets.  See if you can get an annual pass to a movie theater, or a booklet of passes so they can see a few movies.  Each time they visit, they think of you.
  5. Free Coffee.  Give a coupon for 10 free coffees – each time they visit their favorite coffee house, they’ll think of you.

Referral Reward System #2: The Give to Get™ System

Any time you get a referral from someone to your business, place their name, their business or occupation, and their phone number on a special piece of paper or in a file. Accumulate all the names of people who have given you referrals in the past on your sheet (or file). Then you want to do 2 things:
  1. Keep the list of referring people handy, and make sure you take the time to REFER BACK TO THEM at any chance you get.  Keep your mind awake for opportunities to give back.  Nothing makes a greater impression than when you refer BACK to a person who referred to you.
  2. Create a special “Personal Referral Sourcebook” and share the names and businesses with your Power List.  This way, they’re not only getting referrals from you because of the relationship, they’re getting referrals from others who know you.  In essence, you’re multiplying the “reciprocation” to them, by sharing the names of everyone who referred to you.  As always, be sure not to “endorse” the services of others.
Action Plan:
OK, as a quick recap… there are 5 easy steps to rewarding referrals and motivating people to keep sending more referrals. Step #1: Make yourself referral-worthy in the first place. Step #2: Acknowledge the referral and keep your referring party up to date on the progress and success of the transaction. Step #3: Make your referral rewards very personal.  You want to make a deep impression on the person who referred to you. Step #4: Make your gift “perennial.”  This way, you “leverage” your one-time gift into many reminders, and your referring party will think about you each time they use their gift. Step #5: Finally, you want to give referrals to others, and share services of your referring parties with members of your Power List.  This way they’ll see you as a valuable part of their own business. Think about employing all 5 steps into your business – and watch your production grow and grow.

Coming Up Next…

Over a short period of time using this system, you’re going to identify a small percentage of people who become…


These are people who send referrals, multiple referrals or do business with you many times over. Without a doubt THESE people are the most valuable asset in your practice – even greater than your general Power List. Most agents forget about these people entirely – they either never identify who they are, or never acknowledge their importance to the agent’s practice. And because of this…they harvest only a small fraction of the business they could get from these folks. But that won’t be the case with you. In my next article, I’m going to share with you a few amazing systems for acknowledging the “Top 20% Power Players™” in your practice. And in doing so, you’ll continue to automatically harvest more and more referrals and new clients from these folks. So watch your email in-box for my next article, coming soon…

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Craig Forte
Craig Forte has helped more than 32,000 real estate professionals over the last 22 years, helping them generate more clients, more referrals and repeats, and grow their production with less stress, time and effort – all by using innovative marketing training, systems and tools.
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4 thoughts on “Endless Clients System #6 – Referral Reward”

  1. I’ve been with the system for over ten years and this was a great refresher for me. I send out thank you when get referral , but forgot a few things like the keeping in touch during the referral. I always return to refresh and it is a great help!

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