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  • Aliso Viejo, CA February 5, 2009 Good advice has been around for a long time but it’s often overshadowed by circumstances. Take for instance the subject of referrals. Everyone in the industry has talked or written about their importance for years but when the market was hot, and folks just showed up at the door, most agents focused on the front burner. But those that took the advice and continued to work on referrals find themselves in a better position today.

    One of our mentors at iSucceed, Mark McKee in Las Vegas, is one of those that never lost focus. With the major shift in focus today on consumer-centricity, I thought it would be a good idea to pass along some of his thoughts on the subject.

    Mark boils it all down to one basic fact: the products that we sell are not houses; they’re the information and service we provide. If you handle a sale for a client and there are no major problems and the deal closes, is that client going to rush out and tell everyone about you and start referring business to you? The answer is probably no because people expect good service.

    Most agents agree that referrals are good, but that begs the question: so why do very few agents get referrals on a consistent basis? Quite simply, they don't ask, they don't communicate and they don't provide any value to their network. You have to have a plan; a plan you work consistently.

    It’s a Business – Your Business

    Working referrals ties in perfectly with your goal of running your operation like a professional, organized and systemized business. The whole key is abandoning the single transaction mentality and focusing on the lifetime value of each customer.

    Good service is just the starting point. You need to go the extra mile and make sure that your client's perception is that you did an incredible job. And the focus is on perception because you could give the best service in the world and do things for your clients that most agents wouldn't even think of, but if the client doesn't realize or isn't aware of that, their perception may actually be that you did a lousy job. Remember, “reality” does not matter – “perception” can become reality.

    So, you need to make sure that they know all of the great things that you're doing beyond the call of duty. No matter how religiously you cultivate your network and work for referrals, if you give poor service, are incompetent or are difficult to work with, no one is going to refer others to you.

    Cultivate Your Relationships

    Communicate and provide value. The two main reasons that agents fail to get referrals on a consistent basis is that they don't communicate enough with their network and don't provide any value.

    How do you provide value to your network? Realize people are always looking for way to make their lives better, easier and more enjoyable. So you need to play a part in that process. The key is to provide value, and that means not just sending them communications blowing your horn. Provide information that has value and interest to them such as copies of articles concerning their community, neighborhood, the economy or items specifically relating to their hobbies and interests.

    Reciprocity & Consistency

    A key principle that you need to understand to become a master at working your network and getting a continuous flow of referrals is the principle of reciprocity. It's the law of human nature and it's extremely powerful. The law of reciprocity quite simply states that if somebody gives something to you, you are going to feel obligated to do something in return – at a deep emotional level. And the key to making sure that happens is to systemize your entire process. Get organized and have checklists and procedures for everything you do, and that means your referral business.

    You can find an interview with Mark on this subject as just one example of the tips and strategies iSucceed provides from it faculty of over 200 top producing agents. For more information just take a quick tour inside iSucceed, the nations #1 Self Help Coaching site.