Dec 12, 2017 by - Gayle Zientek

144 Referrals: Who you surround yourself with matters

Recently I attended a surprise 60th birthday party for a dear friend hosted at the home of one of my besties. It was so much fun. I’m convinced that 60 is the new 45. I’m pretty sure my grandma was not partying like a rock star at age 60. My friend is a biker chick and she’s hot! There is something else about my friend Sheree…she believes in people and makes everyone around her feel good. Her eyes twinkle when she smiles and her laugh is infectious. No wonder so many friends showed up at this party to celebrate her life. Everyone would be better off with a Sheree in their life. Attending this party inspired me to write this post.  

144 Referrals: Who you surround yourself with matters.

I chose this title for a couple reasons: 1. Even I am pleasantly surprised at this number of referrals we’ve received in 2017, and 2. As I look back over this year, the people we associated with has mattered.  I’ve learned that who I AM as well as who I surround myself with makes a big difference. If we are the sum of the people we associate with and the books we read, it’s important to pick our reading material and our friends wisely. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an avid reader. I do, however, spend quality time with amazing people. I mentioned that attending the birthday party for my friend inspired me to share. There were 40 plus people at this party. I had the opportunity to catch up with a few good friends.  

Ann and I had a powerful conversation. She had just finished her 29th round of radiation. She is battling C for the second time. We sat in front of the fireplace and talked about life and health and future. She told me about her daughter’s wedding, the death of her mom and this second run of treatments. We shared travel stories. Mostly I just listened. I took a selfie with her as well as other pictures of her with our friends. She asked me to send them to her.  I text them right then, making sure she was programmed in my phone. I also created a card and sent her a message of health and happiness. I thanked her for taking time to share her life with me.   

I had a conversation with Kristen, one of my friends from golf league. She recently started a new job working with developmentally and emotionally challenged youth. I think it was good for her to talk about it. She also shared that her daughter tore her ACL playing Volleyball. Kristen made the best salad at the party. Her eyes twinkle when she talks and she’s a lot of fun to hang around. I let her know how much I love being around her and thanked her for loving the kids God put in her life. She reassured me that it was she that felt blessed by the children entrusted to her care. 

It had been awhile since I’d seen Maridee. Maridee and I golfed together for many years. Several years ago, she shot her first hole in one. I took pictures and sent a card which has become a keepsake. As we talked about that memory, Maridee mentioned she found a box with the card, the ball and her score card from the hole in one and she wanted to do something to display it. I mentioned my friend Char who belongs to our BNI group. Char happens to do framing. I asked if I could refer her to Char. Maridee was delighted that I brought that up in conversation and said she was ready to do something right now. Two things happened in that instance. I brought value to both Maridee and Char with the referral. Look for ways to bring value to others.  

Becky was also at the party. She and I have been friends for years! We play Euchre once a month with six other ladies. When we get together we talk about the lake house she is remodeling. It’s a labor of love and as you can guess sometimes a frustration. When the lake house is complete, Becky plans to sell her current home.  

During the party, Real Estate came up in conversation several times, not by us but by others. You see…our friends know who we (my husband Steve and I) are, they know what we do, they know how to find us, they trust us, and when given the opportunity…they refer business to us.  

We all have two ears and one mouth. There are times when people just need our two ears. I connected with people I don’t see regularly face-to-face at this party. I listened. I took a ton of pictures and posted them to Facebook tagging my friends. I created cards with those pictures and sent them out thanking my friends for being amazing lights in my life. I brought value by connecting people together. If you do this on a regular basis, you too will be top of mind and attract more business to your life.  

I set an intention in January of 2017 to attract 200 Real Estate referrals. As of November, my husband Steve and I have received 144 referrals. We have put 50 homes under contract in 2017, 100 percent by referral. Since 2012 we have not had to worry about where business comes from. We’ve received a tremendous amount of business from our Past Clients, Sphere of Influence, and our BNI (Business Network International) Networking Group. 

Do you desire a referral business?

Ask yourself these questions. What can I do to deserve the referrals? How many referrals do I need to thrive? Remember, your success is different from anyone else. Don’t compare yourself to other agents. Comparison is the thief of joy. Decide what it is that you want to accomplish and go for it.  

How do you get to where you want to be? Identify where referrals come from. Sources in our profession include family, friends, past clients, Realtors outside your market, and people you network with on a regular basis. The best way to attract referrals is:  

  1. Be knowledgeable 
  2. Do a good job 
  3. Be visible 
  4. Be memorable 

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and who they know.”  There is some truth to that, but you better be on your “A” game when it comes to working with clients. How do you stay on top of your game?  

Be Knowledgeable  

Stay up to date on industry trends. In a world filled with instant answers, it can be both easy and overwhelming to stay up to speed on what’s going on in our profession. Listen to your broker. Find a mentor or be a mentor. Agents often turn to online sources, especially social media and YouTube. I suggest attending conferences outside of your market. Great information is shared and you meet agents who could provide you with future inbound and outbound referrals. Get involved in your local association. Earn your designations. Knowledge is power. It allows you to serve your clients at a higher level. 

Do a Good Job  

When you do a good job for people they are likely to recommend you to others. Refrain from over promising and under delivering. Be the BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF. You become the best version of you by investing in yourself. Attend personal development training. Read books that inspire you to be a better person. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll do a better job for your clients. 

Be Visible

Don’t be a secret agent. Share your experiences on social media. Keep in mind it’s “Social Media” which means follow the 80/20 rule. Keep your visibility 80 percent social and 20 percent business. I recommend reading the book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. The quickest way to be unfriended and unfollowed is by constantly selling. Find hobbies outside Real Estate. Share your personal life. Take pictures everywhere you go and post regularly. This keeps you current. Engage with people on social media. Like your friends’ posts, comment and send private messages. When you engage, it gives you visibility with them as well as those they are connected with.  

Be Memorable 

Attending social gatherings at the holidays can springboard your first quarter. How? Face-to-face interaction and conversation! The holidays create opportunities to spend time with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Be inquisitive when you are with others. Ask questions and listen intently for their response. How you leave people feeling after an encounter with you will determine the speed at which you reach top of mind awareness. Follow up after the party. Send holiday cards. This will allow you to be remembered.  

I’ve been a card sender for 10 years. It’s been instrumental in gaining top of mind awareness.  My daughter shared a story with me recently. She bumped into clients of mine at the store. These two ladies (sisters) told my daughter to say hello to us and also mentioned to her how much they appreciate the cards I have sent over the years because they are the only pictures they have of their children in print. Perspective: Over the past six years, this family has provided over $70,000 in income through the homes sold and purchased.  

Once you know how people like to be communicated with, it makes it easier to connect on a personal level. Do they like phone calls? Text messages? Email? Social Media? Cards and gifts? When you achieve TOMATO (Top Of Mind Awareness Through Others), you achieve long term success.  

It’s the holidays. Attend parties. Take lots of pictures. Get good at selfies. Laugh a lot. Listen intently. Give generously. Celebrate others. Post to social media. Tag your friends. Send Cards. Give to give. Be Kind. Be the best YOU. Have fun. SMILE.

Support for Lab Coat Agents, and the audio version of this article, comes from Elevated Real Estate Marketing and Travis Thom. Elevated R.E.M. provides Facebook advertising coaching and ad agency services for Real Estate Agents across the globe. Visit for more information.  


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