I'll be happy to refer you as long as it's my idea... (that is, please don't ask me to)

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

I got a facial the other day. Some fancy schmantzy European Spa Facial with a massage. Yummy. It was really good. And, I swear, I look ten years younger.

So, I'm lying there trying to enjoy being cleansed, exfoliated, moisturized and massaged. Yet, I'm tense. I'm waiting for the ... facial-ist(?)... to ask me if I'd be willing to send her referrals. Maybe I just have referral fever on my mind ‘cause I've written about it so much lately, but I was truly upset about it! Seriously, I could hardly relax preparing myself for the inevitable sales pitch.

I pondered this behind my moisturizing mask. Why was I so opposed to her asking me for referrals? Not because I wouldn't refer her - she was definitely refer-worthy, and I was actually kind of excited about handing out her business card to my friends.

But I wanted to refer her on my OWN terms, not because she asked me to! I wanted to surprise her with my referrals. I like thinking that this wonderful facial-ist doesn't desperately NEED my referrals; but she would certainly appreciate them, as one professional to another.

This story has a happy ending - she did not try to sell me anything - not an expensive cleanser or moisturizer or serum; nor did she beg me for my future business or referrals. And... I grabbed a handful of her cards on the way out!



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Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Hi Jennifer, Your post really made me think.  I've been in the real estate business for 23 years.  I am still uncomfortable asking for referrals.  Don't get me wrong, I do ask for referrals.  In Brian Buffini's 100 days to greatness, he tells us to ask for referrals all the time.  Do you think that the general public would think to refer us if we didn't remind them that we would like them to?  I think that sometimes people assume we are so busy we don't need referrals. I'd love your thoughts on this.

May 18, 2008 12:51 AM #1
Dan & Michael Nathanson
RE/MAX Services - Boca Raton, FL
Nathanson Brothers

Hey Jennifer,

I understand how you feel about people asking for referrals.  Occassionally, they ask for referrals when they haven't provided great service.

One way that I've found it easy to ask for referrals, specifically with people who provide me service, is, when they're done working for me, if they've done a great job, I ask for some of their cards.  I tell them that I'm going to refer them to my SOI and client base (and I do!), and all I ask in return, is that they do the same for me.  Maybe I can leave a counter display with our brochures or cards, and ask that they refer us to their SOI and client base as well.  I've found that we get a great response, AND referrals!

Just a thought.


May 18, 2008 01:10 AM #2
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Hi Susan - Oh, I have written thousands of words on this concept. I am adamantly opposed to the BB method of constantly pestering people for referrals. Why? Because when someone asks me for a referral, I automatically think less of them. 1) I wonder why they're desperate for business (that's how it comes across to me) and 2) what was five minutes ago a friendship now feels like an obligation. I don't like that. I happily and frequently refer to people I admire, respect and know will treat my friends like gold. No amount of pestering, reminding or even bribing will change my referral patterns - well, that's not true - if someone DOES bug me to refer them, I very likely will NOT.

Here are some links to other articles I've written about this...





May 18, 2008 01:14 AM #3
Shaun Wren

If you make people happy, They will want to tell others. Like you writing this post.

May 18, 2008 01:16 AM #4
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Jennifer,  thanks!  I'll look these up.  Have a wonderful day...and by the way.... just kidding.

May 18, 2008 01:33 AM #5
Bob Cumiskey
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL
US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor

Jennifer, I agree with you completely.  I really know I've done my job right when they ask for a couple business cards. 

May 18, 2008 04:52 AM #6
Ashley Drake Gephart
Drake Intel Group - Albuquerque, NM

I am completely uncomfortable asking for referrals. My clients know I am in real estate and if they like the service I feel they will refer without me pestering them. I just received a listing that was a referral and without any prompting after a closing my, happy, client told me he would send others my way. I even had his out-of-state lender give my name to a client of his who is relocating here because he was happy with the way I handled the transaction. No pestering needed.

May 18, 2008 06:54 AM #7
L. Wayne Denton
Denton Properties, Inc. - Loganville, GA
I have a handle on your market!!!

I like the way you think.  If someone asks for a referral, I will normally tell them no.  I really like the surprise idae of saying thanks without them asking.  I will acknowledge anyone who has done a great service in any way except when they beg for compliments.  I have learned to listen and respond to my wife when she asks, though.  Not that I don't compliment her as much as I can anyway.  Really nice post and glad you look like a kid now that you feel ten years younger.  From you picture, you could not be more than 19 or 20 anyway.

May 18, 2008 08:40 AM #8
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC

I have to agree that sometimes I get very up tight when I met people waiting for them to do the sales pitch on me. 

May 18, 2008 11:31 AM #9
The Dave Ruwe Homes Team
Re/Max Lakeshore - Grand Haven, MI

Jennifer, thanks for the blog. Made me think how I come across at times. I'm not pushy, but I do ask people to refer me when I know they have been really happy.


May 18, 2008 01:44 PM #10
Bob Edwards
Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc. - Appleton, WI
Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI

So Jennifer, does this mean that the next time you go for a facial you'll be able to relax and actually enjoy it?

May 19, 2008 04:40 AM #11
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I disagree with you on this one BIG TIME!  I'm in business to make money and the best way for that to happen is through people referring me because they were happy with my service.  The best way for that to happen is to let the people know that I would appreciate anybody who they might be able to send me.

I'm not pushy about it, I might mention it once or twice while I'm working with them and the very last thing that we deal with at closing is when I hand them some business cards and ask one last time for their referrals.

I've never had anybody react badly, but I have had people get a sudden look upon their face and say something to the effect of, "Yeah....cousin Jimmy is going to be selling his house....I should give him a call!"  This tells me that people don't always think, "Wow, I've just experienced great service....who can I refer to this guy?"

It's kind of like asking for the order...way too many sales people are too shy about it...just my thoughts..

Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc.

May 19, 2008 09:41 AM #12
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Bob - unfortunately I find that we disagree A LOT these days! But I still like ya.

May 20, 2008 11:03 AM #13
Kris Hansen
Coldwell Banker - Golden, CO
Coldwell Banker

I have to agree that I don't like to be "sold".  It is hard for me to ask people to refer me.  I've been fortunate enough that most of my clients have voluntarily asked me for extra cards. 


May 20, 2008 11:57 AM #14
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