Not Getting Referrals? It's NOT Because You Aren't Asking for them!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Okay, so if you’ve been around SWS any time at all, you know how we feel about Referral-Begging. Don’t do it. Ever. Just don’t. Ever.

But, but, but…

Yeah, I’ve heard all the but but buts. No need to reiterate them here. (But feel free to search the Referral-Begging tag cloud here.)

Here’s the thing. If you aren’t enjoying a referral-based business, I promise you, I swear to you, I give you my solemn oath on a stack of Sell with Souls that it is NOT because you aren’t asking for them.

So, um, Ms. Smarty Pantz JAH, why is it so, then? WHY am I not getting the referrals I so fervently desire?

I dunno.

(Real helpful, right?)

No seriously, I don’t know why YOU aren’t getting the referrals you want, but here are some far more likely reasons a real estate agent might not get a steady stream of referrals than a lack of asking for them:

1. He doesn’t know enough people to generate enough referrals to live on (shoot for at least 200);

2. She doesn’t stay in touch with the people she does know on a reasonably regular basis (and rest assured that doesn’t mean every 35 seconds);

3. His stay-in-touch materials are cheesy, predictable, unmemorable and/or boring (aka Dorky)

4. She doesn’t provide refer-worthy service, but rather focuses on prospecting for new clients;

5. His friends know him primarily as a party animal, career-switcher or just a generally likeable but flaky guy;

6. She pesters her friends constantly with reminders to send her referrals which a) annoys them thus inspiring them to avoid her and b) makes them wonder why she’s so desperate.

Of course there are those who protest, saying “But I’ve always asked for referrals and I’ve always gotten them!” And if that’s the case, keep it up if you choose.

But I will challenge you to consider this: How many MORE referrals might you get if you do NOT ask for them? Because I’ll bet you that the referrals you’ve gotten you’d have gotten anyway, without asking for them… but maybe, just maybe your Referral-Begging strategy has pushed people away who otherwise would have been happy to refer…?


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Comments (10)

Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308
Stake Your Land Realty, Inc. - Eustis, FL
Broker/Owner, GRI,SFR, REALTOR®

Good morning Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn,

You make some interesting points, I do receive them without begging. Just like junk mail, customers can consider one as the same. All proceed with caution. Great Service does not need to beg

Jun 03, 2015 10:21 PM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I think I tend to fall into this category Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn , I don't do the hard sell well.  :)

Jun 03, 2015 10:33 PM
Nancy Robinson Ranked #6 in MI
Century 21 Town and Country - Royal Oak, MI
#11 Century21 Realtor in the US, #16 in the World

By far the best Clients and customers will come from referral and past customers or people who trust and like you.  Buying random leads which we all do,  Right,,,   Are fine but there is no connection,  So much better to get a referral.   Past that become   repeat clients is the goal rather than hunting for new business.   Really that is like recreating your business being a new agent over and over again.... Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn,  agree with everything you said in this blog.

Jun 03, 2015 11:05 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I am of the school that if i do a great job people will refer me without me begging for them. I keep in touch with a highly engaging short and sweet email that is delivered every 3 weeks. No surprise "pop-bys" ... or other swarmy tactics.

Jun 04, 2015 12:30 AM
Debi McKamie
McKamie Real Estate Services, LLC - Meridian, TX
Realtor®/Property Manager

Very good tips here and and definately an area that I need to work on. 

Jun 04, 2015 12:39 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thank you for your comments! I see a lot of confusion in our industry between "staying in touch" and "asking for business" as if they are one and the same. They are NOT! You can (and should) stay in touch with the people you know on a reasonably regular, non-annoying basis, but you can do that without ever breathing a word of your desperation for, oops, affection for referrals. 

Jun 04, 2015 01:35 AM
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Las Vegas, NV

Hello Jennifer ... wonderful post my friend and featured to the group:


Jun 13, 2015 06:37 AM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thank you Robert!

Jun 13, 2015 10:13 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jennifer, You make a great point. I NEVER ask for referrals but most of business IS referral. It sure seem to work for me.


Jun 16, 2015 03:28 AM
Jon K. Judd
Keller Williams Realty - Central Delaware - Dover, DE
GRI, e-PRO, SFR, Delaware Homes

Maybe I need to take another look at things...

I have the books, maybe I need to take another read...

All I hear in the office is ask, ask, ask.... ???

Aug 31, 2015 12:27 AM