Reaching Deep Into Your Goldmine: Shifting From Reactive to Proactive Referrals

Reaching Deep Into Your Goldmine: Shifting From Reactive to Proactive Referrals

Reaching Deep into Your Goldmine Shifting from Reactive to Proactive Referrals by Cynthia Greenawalt

{4:00 minutes} Referrals can be grouped into two categories: Proactive and Reactive. The value of categorizing referrals is so we can study them to become more masterful. In my experience, 90% of referrals that people receive are reactive in nature. Consider this example: 

Karen is a residential realtor with 20 raving fans—referral sources who are willing to risk their reputation by bringing her into their network. If Karen could put a camera on the shoulder of each of her fans for one week, and witness conversations that her fans are having with friends, clients, neighbors, etc, she would be shocked at what she saw. 

If I happen to be one of Karen’s 20 raving fans, she might see me talking to a neighbor who says he’s excited that his sister is moving from Colorado to Manhattan with her family. This neighbor didn’t ask if I knew a good realtor; he was just sharing his excitement over the news. In this moment, I might celebrate with him and talk about how lucky he is, because I hardly see my brother’s kids who live in Philadelphia. 

Karen, watching the video footage, is wishing she could have been there next to me to give me a little nudge, indicating that this is exactly the kind of introduction she would love. If I, as the fan, had mentioned to my neighbor that I knew a great realtor to take care of his sister, it could have brought business for Karen. Because I didn’t recognize this “life event” as one of the triggers for Karen’s expertise, that business will simply pass Karen by. 

The challenge for Karen—and for all of us—is how to train our raving fans so that they recognize our ideal potential client before that person even knows they need our servicesbefore he or she says, “Hey, can you refer a good realtor to me?” (which is a reactive referral). Proactive referrals only happen when our raving fans are aware of the 3-5 “precursors” that indicate a person’s need (or future need) for our products and services. 

When Karen’s referral sources are unaware of these precursors, business will slip right through her fingers. So it’s Karen’s job to not only determine what the precursors are but to train her raving fans to recognize them. 

Though I teach many tools on this process, my favorite way to turn raving fans into educated, sophisticated, and productive members of our volunteer sales force, is by creating and sharing a “Client Story” that showcases those very precursors. For Karen, she might share a Client Story about Bob, her doubles tennis partner, whose best friend from Dartmouth got a new job in New York, was moving from Chicago to Manhattan with his wife and 2 kids, and how Karen found them a beautiful 3-bedroom apartment in the Upper East Side, right near Bob and his family. 

After sharing that story with one of her raving fans, she would remind them: The next time you hear someone mentioning a family moving into town, ask them this question: “I know an amazing realtor who specializes in people relocating from out of the area. May I extend an e-introduction to put the two of you together?” 

Your raving fans already love you—but they are busy people! Instead of only thinking about you when someone asks for your profession, empower your referral sources to recognize the many other opportunities to introduce you into the conversation. By mastering the art of training your raving fans, you will unleash a massive surge in the referrals you receive.

Cynthia Greenawalt
Cynthia Greenawalt

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