Jan 12, 2018 by - Mike Cuevas

Three Proven Ways to Get Referrals from Your Sphere

How do you stay in touch with your sphere of influence and past clients without always feeling like you are “selling” something? I see many agents having a difficult time marketing their database because: 

  • They don’t know what to send them 
  • They don’t want to be annoying 
  • They don’t know how often they should be communicating 
  • They don’t want to feel slimy 

You know you need to do it, but just don’t know how. My goal of this post is to simplify marketing your database. 

If you want to get consistent referrals in your Real Estate business, you need to consistently stay in touch with past clients and everyone else you know! I’m not talking about boring them with market updates either. I’m talking about just keeping a consistent presence so you are not forgotten.  

I have concluded that the best way to market your database is to not really talk about Real Estate at all.  


Most people aren’t interested in Real Estate-related content when they are not in the market. Think about it. Do you like the financial estate planning emails you get from your financial planner friends?  

Referral marketing is all about keeping your name in front of your database in a “sell without selling” type of way. The only goal is being remembered so that when Real Estate comes to mind, that you are the first and only agent they think of.  


Because it’s impossible to be referred if your database forgets you’re in Real Estate. While you may think everyone remembers what you do for a living, they DON’T! I’m sorry we just aren’t that cool.  

Don’t believe me? How did it feel the last time you saw one of your Facebook friends buy or sell without you because they “forgot” you were an agent? If it has never happened to you, don’t worry, it will. Here’s the formula to why people refer Realtors. 

  1. They have to notice a conversation about Real Estate. 
  2. They have to think of you (THE IMPORTANT ONE). 
  3. They have to introduce your name into the conversation. 

Referral marketing is not rocket science, but it requires consistency and a system to do it the right way. The good news is that it’s really simple. 

I take a 3-prong approach to marketing my entire sphere very similar to how any major corporation does. I use social media, video email, and direct mail CONSISTENTLY to keep a presence amongst my network. You never know when your database will come across a referral opportunity, which is why my only goal has always been to nurture the relationship and stay on top of mind! 


10-15 percent of the people you know this year are moving according to Melissa Data (14.19 percent). 

At the same time, it’s a fact that 100 percent of the people you know this year know at least one person who is moving they can refer to you.  

Over 60 percent of consumers used a Realtor they were referred to, already knew, or did business with in the past.  

Make it easy to be referred!

This isn’t theory, it’s a mathematical fact. I don’t know about you, but I think the most important marketing strategy for any Realtor is first and foremost one that focuses on their most important audience! The numbers speak for themselves.  

I want to share with you my referral marketing strategy. This represented about 95 percent of my marketing plan in my career. Best part is that it is relatively inexpensive compared to the alternatives! 

Facebook Referral Marketing

Marketing your brand for referrals should be done on your personal page because your sphere doesn’t hang out on your business page. Your Facebook “friends” are your database! Don’t they live somewhere? It’s never a matter of “if” they will move, it’s a matter of “when” they will move.  

  • Roughly 10-15 percent of your Facebook friends are moving this year. 
  • 100 percent of them will come across a referral opportunity sometime in the next 12 months. 

If you systematically “reminded” your friends that you’re an agent, don’t you think you’d get some of that business? 

The proper way to market your business for referrals using your personal Facebook page is through storytelling. Let me ask you a question: is Real Estate a job or a lifestyle?  

I hope you said lifestyle because the truth is our job never quits. Facebook is a place where people share their stories, so start telling yours! Storytelling on Facebook is nothing more than just sharing your daily Real Estate experiences. 

Think about it! Real Estate agents see some crazy things that make perfect Facebook posts. Here are a few: 

  • Ugly houses 
  • Cool views 
  • Amazing kitchens 
  • Crazy showing stories 
  • Beautiful houses 
  • Amazing client journeys 
  • Case studies 
  • Final walkthrough and closings with HAPPY clients 

I recommend no less than six to eight Real Estate-related posts a month although that’s not a ton. There shouldn’t be any kind of rule to it other than it’s authentic. Regardless of what you post, it serves as a constant reminder of what you do for a living. The key is to keep disciplining yourself to be consistent at it.  

Once you get in the habit of sharing your daily Real Estate story on social media, you will be constantly “marketing” your brand. You never know who is going to see your post that day and if it will amount to anything, but knowing that each post has the potential to create business should motivate you enough!  

If you really want to up your game and start running some Facebook ads, create a custom audience out of your friends and email list. Then make sure you promote each relevant Real Estate-related post you make. I will gladly pay to keep my content in front of my database, as they are my largest source of business. I’d rather do this than spend $1,000+ a month buying leads. The reason I recommend doing this is because of Facebook’s algorithm; only a small percentage of your “friends” will see your posts (17-20 percent). Paying to reach your audience is worth it as the cost is inexpensive and you never know when your next referral opportunity will come. 

Video E-Mail Referral Marketing

It’s VERY IMPORTANT to have an email list comprised of all the relationships you have. This includes friends, family, past clients, or anyone whom you would be upset to learn they bought or sold a house without you. 


  • Roughly 10-15 percent of your email list is moving this year. 
  • 100 percent of your email list will come across a referral opportunity sometime in the next 12 months. 

If you systematically “reminded” your entire email list that you are an agent, don’t you think you’d get some of that business? 

Your referral marketing email list should be comprised of RELATIONSHIPS ONLY. No Zillow leads, strangers you met at an open house, or expired listings you tried prospecting. Keep it simple. We are just setting up a communication channel with your relationships to build your brand and stay on top of mind. Joe Girard once famously said, “Anyone you would invite to your wedding or funeral.” 

The key to email marketing is not having the largest list, but one made up of quality relationships. The second most important thing is that your emails need to be authentic. 

There are many services that “Automate” email campaigns, but the problem is that they’re not very engaging and people are over getting another turn back your clock email. Most people can tell they are pre-written and automated because they lack authenticity.  

The entire point of sending an email should be to nurture the relationship, which is why it’s important to avoid sending spammy emails. Spam-like emails don’t get opened as much and your people are more likely to unsubscribe or even be annoyed. 

It was reported the national average open rate for emails is only about 13 percent. That means 87 percent of your audience is not opening them! If you want to have a better strategy, you need to independently write your emails and make them personal. Don’t forget the main point of sending an email to your in the first place. 

There’s not a better way to get personal with your emails than with video email. We’ve seen open rates average over 45 percent using video-based emails and the right subject lines.  


Video is a superior communication strategy. When you breakdown how communication is perceived, it comes down to this:  

  • 60 percent of communication is based on tone 
  • 30 percent of communication is based on your body language 
  • 10 percent of communication is based on what you actually say 

Text-based emails don’t really allow you to express your tone or body language, does it? The exception is emojis, and they work great, but for referral marketing it’s all about connecting. 

Video allows you to communicate more effectively, which therefore nurtures your relationships with your database much better than traditional text based emails. 

Quit marketing your database with boring spammy emails and start creating entertaining content via video to nurture your email list. Video has a more powerful impact! Don’t forget the goal in the first place. It’s about nurturing your relationships and name brand recognition! 

If you sent out 15-21 video emails over a 12-month period, do you think you could generate a few more referrals and direct clients who may otherwise have forgotten what you did for a living?  

I’m telling you, yes, you will. It’s a mathematical equation! 

Direct Mail-Referral Marketing  

This is my favorite of the bunch! You should have a direct mail list of ALL of your relationships. We essentially farm our relationships. If farming a neighborhood could create a positive ROI, imagine farming your relationships!  

Here’s why it works: 

  • Roughly 10-15 percent of your direct mail list is moving this year. 
  • 100 percent of your direct mail list will come across a referral opportunity sometime in the next 12 months. 

Your direct mail list should also be about quality and not quantity. Direct mail is the most powerful list of the three because everybody will receive it and physically touch it. Don’t forget the goal here. It’s to remind people of your existence and nurture the relationship consistently! 

You cannot say the same thing about social media (only roughly 17-20 percent of Facebook friends see your posts) or email (national open rate is 13 percent, but if you create consistent valuable content you can average 40-50 percent). There is no other communication channel that can provide a physical marketing piece that will reach near 100 percent of your audience. 

To be honest with you it doesn’t really matter what the content on the mailing piece is, just as long as it’s entertaining and informative without coming off like you are trying to close someone. 

I set up an automated system that sends out 21 postcards a year all without me ever lifting a finger. This kept my brand at the forefront amongst my most valued relationships while quietly transforming them into my sales force. Much like direct mail farming, it’s the consistency in content that built my brand and kept me on top of mind. 

Tying It All Together

In summary, setting up a referral marketing campaign is all about consistent communication with your database. Here’s why it works: 

  • Roughly 10-15 percent of your sphere of influence is moving this year. 
  • 100 percent of your sphere of influence will come across a referral opportunity sometime in the next 12 months. 

We use direct mail, video email and social media to essentially farm our relationships with entertaining content so we can nurture the relationships and establish name brand recognition. When your brand becomes the known agent among your sphere, you WIN! 

When you: 

  • Make 6+ Real Estate-related posts a month reinforcing to your network what you do for a living on your social profiles, and; 
  • Send 15-21 Video emails a year to your database with entertaining and engaging content, and; 
  • Send 21 Direct Mail touches a year to your database with entertaining and engaging content,  

You begin building a brand people know, like, trust, and REFER! 


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