Life in Portland Blog

The Fine Art of Making a Referral


I’m always struck by how many times I run into a past client and they will say “I refer all my friends to you.”  This is a wonderful thing for a realtor to hear because it means we’ve done a good job and our client is happy with their house and our service.  The not-so-wonderful thing is that in very few cases have we heard from that particular client’s friends and associates.  Now don’t get me wrong, our referral business is good and strong, thanks to support from our clients.  But I’ve realized over the years that I get more referrals from a few clients than many referrals from a lot, even though a lot are doing their best to send people our way.

So it has gotten me to thinking, what’s the key to giving a referral that sticks?   Is there a way to make an introduction that ends in a new client and, if so, what is that way and how do I get that across to our clients?


After many years of considering these questions, I’ve decided that there is a fine art to giving a referral and it’s not as easy as it sounds.  One good way to start is to have a stack of our business cards in hand, or maybe not actually in hand but in a small pile in your desk at home so you can grab one easily to hand off to a friend.  Another way, perhaps the best way, is to make an introduction in person – like, “Hey Rachel and Holly, can you meet me and my friend for a glass of wine?”  This is a super fun way since we get to reconnect, have a little vino and talk houses.  You can also bring a friend to one of our Wine & Pizza Parties!  We love meeting new people and are happy to share the party with anyone you’d like to bring.  Or follow in the steps of a brilliant client of mine who once brought together a group of her friends to meet me and have a session of Real Estate 101.  It was fun, interesting and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with three of the folks who attended that get together.   Some clients tell their friends about this website – – and help them sign up to receive daily listings.  That works well since the new person gets a chance to check us out on-line and see what we have to offer in the way of houses and service.  And finally, a tried and true method is what I call an email introduction.  That means you send us an email, copying your friend (or course this has to be okay with them!) and introducing us via email.  From there we can quickly take it to the next level and invite the buyers out for Real Estate 101 or make a date with a seller to check out their house and give them a market analysis.

So, if you need more business cards, let us know and we’ll send a few your way.  If you have someone you think could use our help give us a call and we’ll set up a time together.  Or give them our web address, set up a group Real Estate 101, or make an email introduction.  The bottom line is we love helping people with real estate and if you’ve enjoyed working with us as much as we’ve enjoyed working with you, we don’t want to miss an opportunity to help the people you are sending our way.

We love your referrals.  Keep ‘em coming and let us know if you have any other great ideas to add to the fine art of making a referral!