In my current life, referrals matter more than ever before because it is the part of the business I focus most on. That said, it has always been important to insure that referrals made are real, and that spending time making the right connection is crucial to insuring success. To that end it always begins with information: getting as much data as possible from the prospect about what exactly they are looking for, how ready they are to act and how qualified they are to move forward. Without that information any viable connection can not happen.
I have been on the receiving end of this kind of blind referral. I sometimes wondered if the sending agent had even met the prospect or spoken with them for more time than it took to get a phone number and an area. An unqualified referral is nothing more than a shot in the dark and I never played well in darkness.
So I am always mindful of insuring that referrals are real and workable. Another key factor is making sure the person being referred is amenable to the process.There is nothing worse than calling someone who doesn't know who you are and why you are calling them, because no one told them they were giving their information to someone.
Referrals are about relationships requiring and demanding both continuity and commitment. When I make a referral, I speak at length with agents who I have determined to be good matches for my client(s). If I already know someone I am going to refer to, I still make a call and insure myself that the agent is fully available and after describing the people who are interested in buying or selling. If this goes well, I follow it up with paperwork and ask to be copied on correspondence.
If I don't know someone personally, then my search begins with Active Rain and or the company website of the firm I worked for. I begin by searching for agents with experience (generally ten years or more) and with a website that has a photo and a description of how they work. My sense is that if any agent hasn't taken time to post a picture of themselves they are not committed to themselves and the industry. Once I find a couple of agents I have interest in, I call them. If an agent isn't available and doesn't call me back within 24 hours I scratch them. If I can't get a return call after leaving someone a message that I may have business for them, I can only imagine my client won't get a timely call back either. Once I get to talk with an agent I listen a lot. If I do all the talking I won't know if I have made a match. Once we both feel good about things, we exchange information and I ask the agent to wait a day for me to be able to call my client and tell them to expect a call or an email from a person whose name I give them. By doing this, I insure there won't be any surprises, which in real estate is generally are generally troublesome.
In sum, it is my view that time spent up front goes a long way to insuring that the referral goes well and smoothly. As in life, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince or princess.