I've been doing a lot of referring these days. Both of my own leads to other Denver-area agents, and also coordinating agent-to-agent referrals around the country (see below if you wanna play, too!).
I'm seeing some distinct differences in how my referrals are handled by the refer-ee, and I tell ya, the ones who handle them better are far more likely to see more from me than those who don't!
Remember that the refering agent probably has some concerns about you. He's worried that you'll forget you owe him a referral fee. That you'll make him look bad by treating the client poorly. That you'll drop the ball with the client and cost the refer-er his referral fee. That you'll resent paying the referral fee when all is said and done. Stuff like that. Reasonable? Maybe not, but I promise you, it's going thru his head.
So, if you'd like to ensure that your first referral from an agent isn't your last - here are some tips...
1. Be appreciative! I mean, sincerely, enthusiastically, over-the-top appreciative. As if this referral is the most generous thing anyone's ever done for you.
2. On the other hand, if you aren't the right (wo)man for the job, disclose that upfront, and offer the name of someone who is. Your helpfulness will be remembered.
3. Contact the client right away - duh!
4. LET THE REFER-ER KNOW YOU CONTACTED THE CLIENT (right away) and share all the juicy details of the conversation (within proper privacy limits, of course).
5. Tell the refer-er how much you enjoyed talking with the client and thank him or her again for the referral.
6. Keep the refer-er updated on your activities with the client. Let him know when your listing appointment is scheduled or your first showing takes place. As you make progress toward the closing table, let the refer-er know. Be sure to contact the refer-er as soon as the transaction closes.
7. DO NOT complain about the client or imply in any way that you're working harder than you usually do for her (which might be interpreted as the beginnings of referral-fee-resentment).
8. If it turns out the the client isn't ready to buy or sell right now, don't fuss about wasting your time and stay in touch with her, and the refer-ee.
9. Sign and return the referral agreement immediately. No excuses.
10. And of course, knock yourself out impressing the sox off this referred client. Not only will this bring you future business and referrals from the client, but also from the refer-er.
Speaking of referrals, I just fired up my SWS Referral Network, which is an agent-to-agent referral resource for those who have bought into the Sell with Soul philosophies. It's been live for a few weeks now and we've already placed a dozen or so referrals.
What, exactly, is a "Sell with Soul philosophy"? Ahhhh, glad you asked. Here's an excerpt of the announcement that went out to my mailing list that should give you an idea:
"The SWS message is getting around. That's sweeeeet. Not only for me (yeah, I'm an ego-maniac), but also for those who believe in that message. That real estate agents should be respectful of their clients instead of insulting to their intelligence. That real estate agents should take care of their current clients before pursuing new ones. That real estate agents should <gasp> know a thing or two about selling real estate before they pursue and accept payment for doing so.
And, to cap it all off, if real estate agents respect their clients, serve them well and know what the heck they're doing, they'll be rewarded with plenty of business for years to come.
I've created a directory of SWS'ers so y'all can happily refer to each other and keep the karma flowing. If you're interested in being a member of the SWS Referral Network, go here to read more. It's not a slam-dunk-fill-in-your-name-and-contact-information and you're in. No, I feel pretty strongly about keeping the network honest, populated only by true SWS'ers who have drunk the Kool-Aid. Yeah, I can discriminate - it's my network. That doesn't mean you have to agree with everything I say, just the most important stuff!
And, while I can't force it on you ;-] it's helpful if you've read my book(s). (which, by the way, are all 50% off this weekend - see below)
Can I guarantee you a steady stream of business if you join the Network? Nope. You may never see a dime from your participation. So, I'm not charging upfront to join. However, in keeping with our industry's contingency-based compensation model, I am asking for a 5% piece of the action if an SWS-inspired referral goes to closing. Hope that's cool with you. If so, please go ahead and check out the details!"
p.s. I'm having a huge sale at my bookstore this weekend that will not be repeated or extended. If you're interested in picking up some SWS stuff at a steep discount, shoot me an email and ask for the SECRET CODE. The sale starts today (Friday) and goes through next Wednesday.