Referrals - Your Answer To The Economy Crunch

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Lynchburg 0225227139

Today I went to a BNI meeting in Roanoke Virginia and the speaker was Dr. Ivan Misner.  For those of you who don't know Dr. Misner is the founder of BNI.  It was the first time I had the opportunity to meet him.  It was well worth the trip.

It has been said and most of us believe that we all only really six degrees separated.  We are all connected one way or another, just six degrees away.  Dr. Misner's book The 29% says that Six degrees Separation creates an Achilles heel.   He says only 29% of the people ( 1 out of 3) is really six degrees separated because in order to be connected you have to actively be doing something to connect.  It is not likely that someone new is going to walk up to you out of the blue and want to net work and build a relationship with you. 

One of the reasons this does not happen is because most folks don't know how to network.  Majority of people have no idea how to attract people to them.  Over 87% of college students have never had a class that even had a discussion about networking.  Yet 75% of business owners said referral marketing is important in building their business. 

Why is this?  Why aren't colleges teaching young professionals how to network?  I don't have a popular answer. But I think most professors have never been business owners.  Those older tenured professors are the ones that determine the curriculum.  The younger professors who may know more about networking don't have any control over the curriculum.  The younger Gen Y and Gen X know much more about connecting.  They are doing so via many medias and venues.

So what does networking entail? Friends, networking takes time.  In order to be successful you have to make a commitment.  Studies show successful business owners spend at least eight hours a week networking. Now I imagine many of you are saying eight hours, that is a lot of time!  "I don't have time for all that!"  Well, this may be true and my question to you is How is that working for you?  If you are not getting all the referrals you want than I would suggest you block out some time to network.

Diversifying your contact list could actually double your referrals.  All networks are overlapping.  This is good but the more variety of people you have in your referral sources the more referrals you will get.  You may think that the Mary Kay consultant could not possibly give you a million dollar referral but you just never know who they may know.  Diversity could be very profitable.

I am inclined to be a cave dweller left to my own devices. I have to make a conscience effort to get out and meet people.  I love people but I would not consider myself an extrovert.  I am more of an introvert.  But being an introvert has its advantages when it comes to networking.  As an introvert I am more likely to do more listening than talking whereas an extrovert needs to learn to do less talking.

Being a cave dweller is kinda like getting a hair cut over the phone.  Networking is a contact sport.  You have to show up. 

Have you ever heard of the 3 foot rule?  If you get within 3 foot of someone it is likely that you will start up a conversation. Some folks have a 5 foot rule and some have a 20 foot rule.  If the room is 50 foot long I know folks that will start a conversation with folks clear across the room!  My point is that you can't do that sitting in your cave.

Having an accountability partner has been good for me.  I regularly meet with my accountability partner and we talk about networking and what we have been doing to meet with people.  We help each other focus on goals.  Within your network it is likely that you are creating relationships and many of them are friends.  It is good and bad to be friends.  Friends don't like to hold friends accountable. Although I consider my accountability partner a friend we meet with purpose. As a result it is very helpful.

These are some simple ideas but not easy to implement.  You have to change the way you think about your business.  Working by referral means becoming visual instead of invisible.  It means becoming knowledgeable to gain creditability and profits.  It means being able to have more control over your business plan instead of allowing the economy to determine how you will run your business.  I believe it is referral business that will allow you and I to survive the economy and credit crunch we are experiencing.






Posted by

Nannette Turner Saunders, Associate Broker

Short Sales Coordinator

Keller Williams Realty

1709 Laskin Road

Virginia Beach Va


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James G. Pycha
James Pycha (R) - REMAX KAUAI - Princeville, HI
(R), REMAX Kauai Broker

Hi Nanette . . .   Well, I'm a long way from you but current market conditions are prevalent everywhere, right? What is the behavior of Buyers (assuming you have some) in your current market?  Thanks for your post. Keep up the good work.


James Pycha (R)


Oct 17, 2008 06:36 AM #16
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Nannette - This is something that I have been preaching to my agents for years.  Also, you can't depend on anyone else to network on your behalf - you must do it yourself!  This is an excellent and informative post, and I appreciated the points here.  Great job!

Oct 17, 2008 06:48 AM #17
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

Hey, Nannette. Great post. You are so right, we need to be doing everything possible and we need to leave every door open. The more we network the better we become and we are then able to provide better service to our clients. Better service = more business. Have a great weekend, Jim

Oct 17, 2008 06:49 AM #18
Steven Beam
RE/MAX Alliance - Parker Colorado Real Estate. - Parker, CO
Parker Colorado Real Estate

Referrals have saved my butt during this market down turen and so has past clients moving.

Oct 17, 2008 06:59 AM #19
Sean Wheelan
Qivana - Warwick, RI


   It takes commitment, but this can be the best way to keep your business in a positive direction. I haven't used a lead source in over 3 years. I made a commitment to be known and to connect other people and it has given me the privilege of staying in the mortgage business. In fact, my networking has positioned me better than any other time during my 9 year career as a Personal Mortgage Consultant.

Always a great topic, keep up the networking!


Oct 17, 2008 08:12 AM #20
Darrell Walters
W. Darrell Walters - Newnan, GA

Thanks for the post. I've just finished reading The Tipping Point and the author talks about that in the book.

Oct 17, 2008 08:55 AM #21
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Another thing they don't teach is finance or economics.

Oct 17, 2008 08:56 AM #22
Jenny Kipp
8z Real Estate + Expert Staging - Frederick, CO

I relate to the "cave dweller".  Every week I meet with an accountability partner and networking inevitably comes to the table - each week!  I envy those who are true naturals and I always look for ways to be creative in this department.  Thanks for the post!            

Oct 17, 2008 10:45 AM #23
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nanette, what a great post, Thank you for sharing. Very inspiring.

Oct 17, 2008 10:53 AM #24
Rich Ferretti
Rich Ferretti Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
ABR QSC Realtor/Broker, Charlotte NC Real Estate a

Hi Nannette

I've been a BNI member for almost 2 years now, it's a great organization. After being there for 6 months and going thru the time confidence curve, I started to receive referrals. It is a wonderful network.

Thanks for sharing


Oct 17, 2008 11:01 AM #25
Leigh Newport
Staged by Design® - Leesburg, VA
Northern Virginia Home Staging


This post was so very helpful and informative for me. When I began my business, it was with the hope that I could work strictly by referral. I was extremely fortunate to have the very first Real Estate agent I ever worked with become my greatest source of referrals. But as much as I love the business he refers to me, I have to be smart and continue and market my business daily. Although I'm an extrovert, I found it didn't come as easily to me as I thought it would. When you first begin, it almost feels like a high school dance. You walk in to a networking event and everyone is already engaged in conversation, so you end up standing alone, not trying to look too pathetic. So your statement of "Working by referral means becoming visual instead of invisible" truly resonated with me. Now I just need an accountability partner!



Oct 17, 2008 11:23 AM #26

I belong to By Referral Only.  All of my marketing is done to attract referrals... It still is a very slow market.  Networking is a way of life.  I agree with your post.

Oct 17, 2008 11:32 AM #27
Tijuana Evans

Great and very informative.  I am guilty because I haven't been networking like when I first started my real estate business.  I am going to start networking again.

Thanks for that reminder!

May your business continue to GROW.


Oct 17, 2008 11:43 AM #28
Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT

Nannette, Excellent!  I have been lucky to learn about BNI, through Brian Buffini.  It really is a core group that does refer business to eachother.  You did a splendid presentation on this, thank you!

It's a Good Life!


Oct 17, 2008 11:46 AM #29
Lisa Hill
Florida Property Experts - Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach Real Estate

Draw people to them? That could be just a matter of personality. That's one of the things I've been told by many people in my life. (I know this sounds really arrogant) People always tell me that there's just something about me that makes people want to be around me. Sorry. I can't explain it. I guess I could teach classes if I knew how to bottle it ,-)

Oct 17, 2008 12:44 PM #30
Lee Cunningham
Cunningham Team RE/MAX R.P. - Greenville, SC
Greenville SC Real Estate

Great blog. During these economic times the main stay of our business has been BNI, realtor and past client referrals. I liked your idea of an accountability partner! I'll try that. Thanks,

Oct 17, 2008 11:30 PM #31
Nancy Morgan

This is a great post!  I'm a cave person myself, but have forced myself to become involved in different groups to network.  And I have made contacts that I can develop.  Also, it's enjoyable and so are the new friends I've made.

Oct 18, 2008 08:08 AM #32
Alexsandra Stewart
Remax equity group - Portland, OR
Broker - Portland Oregon Real Estate

Nannette -- you are so accurate-- networking IS hard work.  Takes time -- and a plan, as well as listening to people at the  moment --and THEN following up.  Notes, calls, and taking what I heard and doing something with it. Thanks for a great post --

Oct 19, 2008 03:57 PM #33
Zeneida Moreno
ReMax Prestige Realty - Lake Worth, FL

Great post. Accountability gets you out of the cave. We are doing that in the office with our weight. Everyone is getting into the program "get fit", we weight in on Wed and as a result the whole office is loosing weight. It works the same with real estate. If we team up with someone we will make more calls and network with others to get referrals.

Zeneida in Loxahatchee FL

Oct 20, 2008 04:28 AM #34
Winter Baserva
Seasons Realty Group of Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA
Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA

I make it a point to talk to a minimum of 5 new people a day. EVERYONE knows SOMEONE who is looking to buy or sell a home.

Oct 30, 2008 02:33 AM #35
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Nannette Turner

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