Referral How-To's

Referral How-To's

Every day, people refer their friends to other friends for professional services. Rarely do these referrals lead to a conversation, let alone business. Yet, all the major statistics outlets show that personal referrals are a top factor when people choose who to work with. With so many falling flat, and business relying on them more and more, what’s the secret sauce to making referrals work?

The general steps of performing a referral are the same in most professional settings. It starts with identifying a friend with a need, then moves into getting their permission to share their contact information, followed by performing the referral, then waiting to hear how it went.

In the world of Real Estate, referrals are the lifeblood of success. Roughly 90% of my business comes from referrals. I like to work with people who want to work with me, and it’s always better to help friends of friends with their real estate needs. When you introduce me to a friend, family member or neighbor, I will always respect the confidentiality of our relationship, and I’ll never share anything about your private business with them.

Helping out by introducing friends is always appreciated, even though not every referral turns into business. And that’s OK. When you introduce me to a friend who needs my help, my #1 goal is to make you the star for referring me; not closing a deal. The introduction is already a lot, and I appreciate each one greatly. Everyone is always welcome to work, or not, with me.

Join me this week as I go through some examples of when you might want to refer me, and how to do it to actually help your friends.

Scenario 1: A friend asks for advice

The most obvious example of providing a referral comes when a friend asks for one. In today’s world, where the word of a friend means more than the jabber of commercials, it’s pretty normal to be asked for a recommendation for X, Y, or Z professional. When I’m asked for such a recommendation, I see it as a perfect opportunity to help two friends with no skin off my back. But, with so many referrals falling flat, what’s the best way to introduce two friends?

That’s where having a plan helps.

The first step, identifying a friend with a need, is already taken care of in this example. Your friend, “Mr. Doe,” has asked you for help finding a real estate agent. The good news is that you can let Mr. Doe know you’ve got a friend in real estate and start getting their permission to put us in contact.

Even if a friend directly asks for a referral, always get their permission before sharing their contact information. It's both important and polite to ask before sharing a phone number, email, or any other personal information. For my part, you always have my permission to share my work email and cell phone number far and wide.

After getting Mr. Doe’s permission to share his information with me, that’s when the handshake part comes into play. Send an email, text, or group chat to both me and Mr. Doe introducing the two of us just as you would at a networking event. You could also give me a call and let me know Mr. Doe is expecting to hear from me. We’ll then chat and see if I can help your friend Mr. Doe with his needs. Later I’ll come back to chat with you to let you know how it went.

That’s it! In a few quick steps, you’ve helped two friends.

Scenario 2: A friend seems to be in need

When you're out and about—at the Wawa, a sporting event, or another public function—and a friend, let's call her Ms. Doe, mentions she’s looking for a real estate agent, it’s a perfect referral opportunity. First, figure out what Ms. Doe needs. Is she looking to buy or sell locally, seeking a referral for an agent elsewhere, or looking for advice on building an ADU? When friends don’t directly ask for a specific referral, it can take some effort to determine the best person to introduce them to.

Once you’ve identified their need, it’s time to get permission to share their contact details. Simply chatting with Ms. Doe about her plans to move does not mean you’ve gotten her permission to share her information with me. I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s very important to get permission any time you’re sharing someone else’s contact information, especially in today’s world.

With permission to connect Ms. Doe with me, it’s time to do the introductions. Just like the earlier example, this could be via a group text or email, a game of phone tag, or an in-person meetup. I’ll always make time for you and your friends who may need my help. By organizing this much, you’ve already done a ton to help both your friends. Ms. Doe is benefiting from a first-hand recommendation from someone she trusts (you) and I am potentially getting business from a source I trust (again, you). From there, you get to wait to hear back from us both about how it went.

Scenario 3: Social Media

Social media, like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, has become a normal way of meeting with people. It seems like every week one of my friends tells me they referred me in a social media group post or forum discussion. While I appreciate the inclusion, rarely, if ever, do these referrals reach out to me. But, with social media being such a prevalent place to meet and introduce people, how can we use it to better help our friends?

Once again, we begin by identifying who needs what. When you’re in a neighborhood group and someone mentions an interest in meeting a real estate agent, find out if they are looking for someone around Chester County, or a referral for somewhere else.

Replying in the thread with something like “You should talk with my friend, Jon Ivins, about that. I’m sure he could help you out” does little to help. Rather, reply with something like “I have a friend in that industry who could probably help you. Is it OK for me to give them your contact information?” This both obtains consent and verifies their need. This is also a great time to ask your friend for their preferences around the introduction. Would they like to chat on the social media platform, through email, or maybe even in person?

After getting permission, introduce us using their preferred method. Say something like, “Jon, this is my friend Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith, this is my friend Jon. I believe Jon can help you with what we’ve been talking about.”

Then, wait for the feedback. Maybe I can help, maybe not. Regardless, I appreciate what you’ve done, which is already a lot.



Thank you for joining me on another exploration of the real estate industry! Referrals are a vital part of matching your friends with real estate agents like me who can help them find their place in the world. Taking the extra step and getting your friend’s permission to put them in contact with me really goes far. Whether they ask for advice, seem to be in need, or you see an opportunity on social media, these small steps ensure a smooth and respectful referral process. While this advice is as true in any industry as it is in real estate, referrals are an important way for me to keep helping you, your friends, and your family. I appreciate each introduction and look forward to continuing to support your real estate needs.

Referral How-To's

Work With Jon

His extensive knowledge of Chester County and broad experience in real estate is an invaluable advantage to his clients. Representing and consulting with clients either buying or selling new or resale homes, residential investment properties, building lots, and raw ground, he is dedicated to accomplishing his clients’ goals ahead of all others.