Asking for Referrals

Mortgage and Lending with Infinity Financial Group

Too often, people are frightened of asking for referrals. Is it the fear of rejection, or are they concerned about annoying their prized clients? If you're providing truly exemplary service, you shouldn't be ashamed to ask for the opportunity to provide that same service to other people your clients know! In fact, it should be the next natural step after asking a client how the service was.

The way you ask this question, however, is very important. Open-ended questions help people to brainstorm, instead of giving them the chance for a simple "Yes" or "No" answer. Instead of asking, "Do you know anyone else who could use my services?" ask, "Who do you know who could use my services?" The difference in how they respond is amazing!

It's also critical to expect the referral. When your tone or facial expressions show that you don't really believe your client will have a good answer, they won't have one! Don't let your body language change your question into, "I don't suppose you have any referrals for me, do you?" Instead, expect the referral like it's the most natural thing in the world. With enough practice, it will be!

If people seem tentative, or they say they'll think about it, tell them you'll get back to them, and set a specific time to do so. Keep the appointment, even if it's just a phone call. Remind them that this is the way your business model works. You "get buys" with a little help from your friends.

You can also use this language in the signature of your email, below your name and contact information. Every email becomes a mini-billboard, even when you're out of the office and have your auto-responder set.

One of the best referral generators I've heard of is simply a delicious fruit basket. Greg Frost, one of the nation's top loan originators, pioneered this technique. He sends a fruit basket to his client after the close of a successful loan. Unlike candy, which tends to get hoarded by the recipient, fruit has a built-in expiration date, so people keep it on display to share. He sends this fruit basket to his client's place of employment, which makes them feel special. When co-workers ask where it came from, the client simply says, "My loan officer gave it to me." This opens the door to many subsequent referrals.

Comments (4)

Don Carter
All Star Mortgage, LLC - Haverhill, MA
Successfully getting referrals is a process that begins with your initial consultation, and continues through the enitre process as you plant referral seeds, and take the opportunity to orchestrate referral moments.  Using specific language when asking for a referral increases your results.  For example, if you've just helped a person sell their home in order to downsize to a condo, you might ask, "Of all the people you know, who would be the one most likely to want to sell their house to move into something smaller, just like you did?"  This will help them to focus on specific people and circumstances, rather than in a general sense.
May 22, 2007 12:50 AM
Cynthia Tilghman, RealtorĀ® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
I agree with you and Don.  Why would you not ask?  What is the worst that can happen?  They refuse.  What is the best?  You get one or more referrals and perhaps a sale!  Thanks for a good post.
May 22, 2007 01:32 AM
Flemington, NJ
Good points!  I often feel uncomfortable asking for referrals, but know you have to break through the "comfort zone".
May 22, 2007 01:42 AM
Darcy Rockwell
eMortgage LLC - Latham, NY
Mortgage Consultant

I also agree with you and Don and now Cynthia. Why would you not ask.  This how a mutually benefical relationship will be established.



May 22, 2007 02:23 AM