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“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” is probably one of my favorite quotes when it comes to building a referral-based business. As real estate agents, we think our job is to sell homes, but in reality, the house sells itself. Our primary goal should be an intentional focus on networking and creating lifelong relationships that extend to family, friends and other real estate-related industries.

This isn’t the first real estate article you’ve read that stresses the importance of having a Top 50 and staying in flow with those you’ve done business with—and those you hope to do business with. However, have you considered the reach of those people in your Top 50? Who do they know? Can they help you grow your business? And what about individuals and companies that you give business to?

The two areas you should consider if you truly want to maximize a referral-based business include a referral network and referral reciprocity. A referral network is made up of other business owners or businesses, real estate-related and not, that come together and exchange referrals. Now, in return for being in my referral network, there’s a requirement, and that’s where the word reciprocity comes into play.

If I give a lender my referrals, at some point, I expect that lender to refer me a lead. If I give an insurance agent a ton of business, there’s an expectation that they also send me people who want to buy or sell a home. Far too often I see agents giving industry affiliates business, which of course we have to do, but they never ask for the business in return. If you’re in sales and giving business to others, you need to consider asking for referral reciprocity.

After a transaction closes, my goal with the client is to be their go-to for all things real estate-related. I want them calling me for a recommendation to anything they need when it comes to their home, which covers a lot of areas in a person’s life. And this brings me back to the quote at the beginning of the article: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

If I’m able to refer an insurance agent who saves them a ton of money when their child turns 16, or a trustworthy pet sitter for when they finally take that dream vacation, or a qualified estate planner when their parents move to assisted living, I’ve done more than just help them with a home purchase or sale; I’ve impacted their life. And this is where the magic happens—and how you create lifelong relationships in a referral-based business.

Bliss_Sarah_MichelleSarah Michelle Bliss is a coach with Workman Success Systems. She has been in the real estate industry since 1995 and is an original founder at RE/MAX Professionals, where she has been a part of the Nate Martinez Team since 1997. Over the past 20 years, she has taught locally and nationally, coached and influenced her peers through team management, agent development and training. She is currently the director of Agent Development for RE/MAX Professionals in Glendale, Ariz. Contact her at For more information, please visit

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