10 Tips for Creating a Successful Referral Program for Real Estate Agents

Photo by Madison Oren via Unsplash

Real estate referrals might not be the lifeblood of a successful real estate business, but they certainly do fuel an agent’s ability to thrive and grow their career. According to the National Association of Realtors, 36% of sellers followed a referral from a family member or friend when choosing their agent. That’s a powerful number and just shows how important referrals can be for an agent’s success. Given the fact that NAR reports over 70% of sellers will continue on with the same agent, referrals are a critical link to prospering in the long-term.

But you probably already knew that a referral was worth its weight in gold. What you really want to know is how do you go about getting more of them! Referrals after all can feel like chasing an elusive gem. You can’t force them or even will them into existence. Referrals are actioned by others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put the odds in your favor for them to occur.

There are numerous strategies you can use to inspire others to recommend you and connect you to potential clients. Consider cycling through these tactics to test which resonates with your connections. Although it’s important to be conservative with your outreach (no one wants to feel nagged into referrals!) a varied approach can yield surprising benefits.

Start with Your Closest Contacts

Whether it’s family, friends or past clients who remain close to you, begin with asking your inner circle if there is anyone they know that they can connect to you. This can sometimes be an overlooked resource for new referrals. Begin by making a list of 15-20 close contacts. Use a communication method that you are mutually comfortable with and ask for a favor. Give a tangible goal, such as “I’m looking to increase my client size by 25% by June, I wanted to ask if you could help me with this.” Asking for help is a powerful strategy for inspiring action in those who care about you and your success. As the old adage says, “Ask and you shall receive.”

Incentivize Referrals

Who doesn’t love a free gift? Whether it’s an Amazon gift card, a dinner at a local pub, or a free massage at a regional spa, make your referral incentives fun and engaging. Be sure to be clear and transparent about what it takes to earn a referral gift. Does the referral need to sign a contract with you? Do they need to attend a consultation? Being clear of this can prevent any miscommunication or hurt feelings from contacts who put in the work to bring you referrals.

Consider SaaS Automated Referral Options

There are countless subscription programs that facilitate automated referral requests. It’s important to understand the pricing and test out the program of choice on a limited number of contacts before committing to a program. Ask for feedback from these contacts. Did they feel motivated to complete the request or was it an annoyance? What would they prefer if they had a negative reaction?

Host Exclusive Events

Since referrals can be such a strong way of gaining new clients, it can be worth the investment to host an elevated experience. Consider twice a year parties for past clients which offer something desirable for them such as an open bar, fine food or a date night out. Then, extend that invite to their friends and family as well. A costume party, spring fling or holiday soiree are just some of the ways to click with your past and current client base.

Show Off Your Personality Online

Have a passion beyond real estate? Maybe you love your dogs or have a side interest in tabletop gaming? Whatever it is, this can be the launching pad for unique content that brands you in a memorable way followers will remember. For example, if you have dogs and love to get outside with them, maybe you’re the local resource for the best dog parks, accessories and services in the area. Perhaps you give advice or discuss their life, adventures and even challenges. Connect it back to being a real estate agent and you may become the agent of choice when a follower hears that their dog-loving friend is looking to sell their home.

Forge Deeper Connections in Your Community

Everyone has a cause they are passionate about and there is a way to leverage this in an authentic way to grow your referral business. Explore local community groups like chambers of commerce and Rotary organizations nearby. Maybe your child wants to participate in scouts or a local sports team. Being a part of such organizations can become a good source of referrals. Of course, you’ll want to commit to these groups out of a genuine interest, otherwise it will be a frustrating waiting game for that referral. But it’s also important to remind your fellow volunteers that you are actively searching for leads and their referrals would mean a lot to you being able to thrive in your business.

Don’t Forget to Award Successful Referrals

Did a past client provide a referral which led to a new client and a successful close? Surprise that person with a special gift! It will make great content for social media and encourage them to post. The better the gift, the more they’ll share it with their circle!

Send Out Regular Referral Reminders

Direct mail is a great way to remind contacts about a referral program you have. You can provide information on a gift or sweepstakes you’re offering and provides an automated option that is outside of the digital noise of smartphones and social media.

Implementing a multi-prong referral outreach program is an essential way to drive growth, build relationships, and generate valuable leads. With the right strategy and execution, your referral program can become a cornerstone of your marketing efforts and contribute significantly to your success in the industry.

Check out our blog!

Get tips on all things real estate.


Market efficiently!

Start saving on your campaigns.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!