Using Reverse Psychology with Your FAMILY SOI

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

I'm a fan of reverse psychology in real estate. I blogged about it a few months ago and have since made a long list of ways to use reverse psychology in our business. It's a fascinating concept, really.

But just last night, one more possibility occurred to me. I'm not committed to this position yet, so help me out!

As the self-proclaimed Master of All Things SOI, I encourage everyone to respectfully seek business from their friends and family. If done right, it works. And works beautifully.

Lots of agents argue with me. They claim to "hate to work with friends or family," for a variety of reasons. Most of their reasons don't hold much water, but I'm not here to argue that opinion right now (be happy to, later, though if you like!).

But I'm realizing something... Friends ... and... FAMILY are two different animals.

Seducing your friends for business and referrals is pretty easy. Family? Not so much.

I read a post yesterday on a different forum about how the OP (original poster) was furious with a relative for not hiring him to sell her home. OP said "THIS is why I hate working with family!" It made me think. Many of my consulting clients bemoan the fact that they're getting very little support from their families. Their friends are gung-ho about the agent's real estate venture, but not their blood relatives. Weird, huh?

Maybe - I dunno.

But anyway, (finally getting to my point) how about trying out this solution?

Howza'bout you send out a personal letter to your family members telling them the following:

1. You are a real estate agent (if they seem to have forgotten)

2. You love your job (show your enthusiasm)

3. You have made the decision not to work with family members (!) because of possible conflicts of interest

4. However, you would truly appreciate the opportunity to counsel with your beloved relatives and help them find the perfect agent for their situation. (referral fees are cool!), and would be available to them throughout their transaction for advice.

Here are some of the benefits I see in this strategy:

1. People want what they can't have. You might find your relatives actually begging you to be their agent

2. By showing your willingness to help your family without the possibility of a paycheck, you demonstrate your professionalism, which will probably result in referrals.

3. If a relative does take you up on your offer for help finding the right agent, you can always change your policy if it seems appropriate.

4. A lot of stress is relieved among family members that you aren't going to be bugging them for business.

What do you think? This idea is about 12 hours old, so suggestions and arguments (and of course, any commentary on my early morning brilliance) are welcomed!


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copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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David A. Podgursky PA
THE PODGURSKY GROUP @ Re/Max Direct - Boynton Beach, FL
THE PODGURSKY GROUP - Make the Right Move!
I agree wholeheartedly...I hear about friends and family doing things everyday without contacting me.  I lose trust in them one way or another... it really does show their true colors... but I'd rather just be a little mad, then get into a transaction where they really do something to ruin a relationship
May 04, 2007 12:44 AM #1
Colorado Springs Real Estate
Colorado Springs, CO


That sounds pretty good. I think once they come to you looking for a realtor they will probably just end up going with you if you can show competence.

May 04, 2007 12:46 AM #2
Jamie Carlson~Prince Albert, SK Real Estate
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd. - Prince Albert, SK
I think that by offering advice to family members, without any expectations, they will  feel as if you care about them for more than the $$$ that they could make you.  And, in the end, this just might get you their business (IF you want it!)
May 04, 2007 02:47 AM #3
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Jamie - you said that perfectly. Those were the exact words I was looking for (and didn't find).


May 04, 2007 02:52 AM #4
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I agree!  People do seem to want what they can't have! 


Bob Mitchell


May 04, 2007 05:31 AM #5
Freddie Aguilar

Nice Posted! Its so very informative and knowledgeable for your visitors or readers.
Thank You for sharing.. Keep up the good work..

More Power,
Freddie Aguilar
Investment Property

May 16, 2007 05:37 AM #6
Dennis Volz
State Farm Insurance - San Diego, CA
Like a Good Neighbor

Hi Jennifer.  New to your site here at AR.  Been here myself for just over a month now.

Honestly, the letter thing to family seems a little over the top to me.  Leaning toward Drama, i guess.  I don't do drama so that's probably why.

As far as getting 1st level business from family, there's so few of them compared to the rest of my database, it's really inconsequential as far as the potential commission goes.

My solution is simply, whenever they (family)asks about business (and the usually do when we get together) I say something like, "You know I LOVE what I do and business is great/awesoms/unbelievable. I'm still working exclusively by referral and you know I always appreciate yours, Mary"


  1. Let's them know I love and have passion for my work.
  2. Let's them know I'm doing well (so I must be competent )
  3. Gently reminds them that I still appreciate their help.

Now if that help comes in referrals or their personal business or NOTHING; Still the numbers are really too small to angst about mixing the whole FAMILY / BUSINESS thing.

That's my take....

I LOVE your writing and blogs and will be picking up your book very soon.  In my humble opinion, Working By Referral is the ONLY way to effectively to do business these days.


all the best...dv 


Mar 02, 2008 02:29 AM #7
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Good points, Dennis. I'm with you - I don't have enough local family for this to be an issue AT ALL for me, but I have heard from so many agents that they have a terrible time with their family SOI.

Perhaps the message for the less-dramatic among us is that we should never pressure our family members to use us and if we're worried that our families might be a little leery of being prospected to, find a way to let them off the hook.

Thanks for your comment!

Mar 02, 2008 02:46 AM #8

I just ran into a situation where my close cousin decided to purchase a home and he did not ask me to assist him.  He very well knows that I am a Real Estate Broker.  He should've at least asked me before going out to look at houses.

Him and I grew up together and were very close - I thought !?!

I would like to ask him why didn't use my real estate services and am trying to figure out how I can do that.  I do not want to break realtions with him - just need to find out if there is anything I can improve on.

Any suggestions?


Jul 07, 2008 06:52 AM #9
PilatesCoach 18954

You mentioned you and your cousin WERE very close. Do you guys maintain a close friendship, see each other once a month or every 6 weeks kinda deal?

After reading Jennifer's SWS, I realized that a lot of times its just not personal why people didnt think of our services and got someone else to help them. I know I tend to take family for granted sometimes, and that wouldnt work for referrals...In the "7 Habits" bestserller book by Stephen Covey, which I read maybe 15 years ago, he mentioned the concept of an emotional account. Where, like a monetary account, people make emotional deposits and withdrawals with each other .The more you put in, the more you can withdraw, or even gain interest...

So , what I advised my broker boss for his new campaign: Practice giving em free flexing a new muscle, until it becomes instinct. (He is also my bf, and he shot me a look and said to me, "are you doing all this to make me a better lover? I said ,No, but a better boyfriend/ friend, sure!"

Jul 10, 2008 04:34 AM #10
ep2JzO litmmfwavmja
Feb 12, 2012 10:59 PM #11
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