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referral_agent_coupleAsk any real estate agent what’s the best way to gain new business and they’ll probably say referrals. Above all, earning referral business begins with delivering stellar and memorable service to your clients, but that is rarely enough to provide a steady stream of opportunities. You also need to be proactive and take steps to make referrals happen. Follow these 10 rules to keep your referral engine moving forward:

  1. 1. Old is better than new. Earning new business from past clients—including their referrals—is much easier, and less expensive, than finding brand new clients. Never neglect your best and most established relationships.
  1. Slow and steady wins the race. Generating referral business doesn’t happen quickly. Top producers know that a consistent, ongoing effort pays major dividends over the long haul.
  1. Put it on your calendar. Set aside blocks of time exclusively for cultivating referral business. These appointments may initially be devoted to creating a referral plan, then executing it.
  1. Always mention what you do. You never know when you’ll cross paths with someone who has a real estate need, so make a habit of mentioning your work in all friendly conversations with others.
  1. Don’t forget to ask. Too often, agents assume that people will connect the dots and think of them when a real estate need arises. Don’t forget that most people are busy and distracted with their own priorities. Help shortcut the process by making polite, specific requests for referrals.
  1. Use social media effectively. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are all excellent ways to augment traditional referral-building efforts. The key is knowing how to use them.
  1. Focus on specific tactics. Don’t try to use every referral-building tool. Instead, concentrate on doing a limited number of things really well. Your efforts will likely yield better results.
  1. Create systems. Whenever possible, simplify routine elements of your referral plan, including a contact management system, complete with a sequence of activities and standardized messages.
  1. Track and evaluate results. The only way to know what works—and what doesn’t—is to compile and review your results. Simply knowing the source of every lead would be a key starting point.
  2. Get creative! Unique referral strategies are always more memorable, and more effective, than familiar techniques used by many other agents. Study non-real estate businesses for inspiration and let the creative juices flow.

For more information on the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council and the ABR® Designation, visit