Stop Asking for Referrals

Dec 04, 2017

The Floyd Wickman Team blog by Mike Pallin

Some of the people we train and coach don’t like talking to people they know and asking for referrals, especially past clients, friends and family. Some love it and rely on it and get up to 90% of their business every year from their Book of Business.

Some don’t like talking to strangers, like fsbo’s and expireds. Some can’t wait to get out there and mix it up. Some don’t like networking and socializing, and some take to it like a duck to water.


I guess it’s true, as Floyd says, “Different strokes for different folks.”


The only real problem with a one-dimensional business is that it’s limited. You can only get so many referrals out of a Book of Business. There are only so many fsbo’s and expireds. You can only join so many groups and go to so many parties. What, then, is the key to getting out of a familiar, but limiting, comfort zone and expanding your business? It’s simple, really. Stop asking for referrals.

OK, I’m sorry. Take a deep breath. I know it sounds like insanity to say stop asking for referrals after 15 years of teaching you to ask everyone for a referral.

Floyd taught us this question, “If I asked you to, would you be willing to refer me?” Almost everyone says yes, they would, and then it all stops right there. Because we are uncomfortable asking. Because we feel like we are asking for a favor. Because we feel like we don’t deserve it or haven’t earned it. Because it feels like an imposition. Because it makes us sound weak.


Let’s change all that and start getting business leads darn close to automatically. Here’s how.

1. Be clear about what you do and who you want to work with.

Let’s face it. One-and-done leads are OK, and they are welcome, but they aren’t the foundation of a long career and a healthy business. We are looking for people who own a house, want to move, and need to sell it so they can buy another one.

Lots and lots of North American families live in a home that is not what they want or need any longer. Their home is either the wrong size for their family; or in the wrong location for their family circumstance; or in an undesirable price range for their family. For whatever reason, many more of these families are deciding to stay put for the time being, rather than consider a move. These families are the real shadow inventory.

FSBO’s, expireds, death, divorce and transfer are the low hanging fruit. Getting those listings just takes skill and persistence. You can even buy the leads.

The people we want our friends, family and clients to help us find are in that first category, that shadow inventory, the discretionary prospect, the Looker who has to be a Seller before they can be a Buyer.

Think about your dialogue, write it, rehearse it and make it second nature. “I work with families who want to transition from one lifestyle to another, from their current home to one that’s more suited to their family circumstance.”


2. Ask “Who do you know…” and be specific about who you are looking for.

Who do you know that lives in a house that is the wrong size for their family, either too big or too small? Who do you know that would like to live in a different location? How about a different price point?

Instead of just asking people to refer you, ask them to join forces with you in finding families for you to help.

One of my earliest real estate coaches taught me, “Your job is not to have something for everyone. Your job is to know what you have and find the people who want it. That way, you are always working with people who want what you have.”


Always made sense to me.

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