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But I Don’t Wanna


One of the fundamentals of staying in business is referrals.  How do you get referrals?  You have to ask.  Dang it!  I just want them to call me.  After all this time, I’ve realized that isn’t going to happen.  And I can always find an excuse not to call my clients.

The solution that works for me is that instead of calling to say:  Hey, have you got any referrals for me?  I call with value – and a story.  Everybody loves a good story. 

This month I’ve been calling to sound the alarm regarding trusts.  My client’s mother passed without one and it has turned the family into a something resembling a brawling bar fight.  Calling with a reminder and a referral to a good attorney helps everyone and makes me feel better too.

The other thing I’ve realized is that they don’t know I’m supposed to be calling them on a regular basis.  So if I miss a month – which, of course, happens – they don’t feel bad about it.  They don’t even realize it.  So I don’t feel bad about it anymore either.

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After the alarm is sounded I throw something in there about referrals.  There are some formulaic ways to do that, but I usually just butcher them and get to the point.  It doesn’t always result in any new business, but I’ve just reminded them that I’m here if someone they know needs me and that’s all I really wanted to do anyway.   

So get on the phone with me Monday morning.  I’ll be continuing to call five a day until I get through the list.  I’m already thinking of how to bring value next month.  How about you?

Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Bill Lublin

    May 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Vicki- Nice post – great point about having something to say when you call – Almost too simple when you see it in print- but one we all miss sometimes

  2. Vicki Moore

    May 17, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks Bill. I try to make things simple – not very good at it though. 🙂

  3. Mack in Atlanta

    May 17, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Vicki, you could always use the contact of the month: January-Happy New Year, February-Happy Valentines Day, March/April-Happy Easter and so on. That will get you through a year.

  4. Vicki Moore

    May 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Mack – I’d get bored with myself. 🙂

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    May 17, 2008 at 6:54 pm


    What great advice. Calling with purpose is always a good way of adding value to your relationship. Thanks for always being willing to share. As always, I enjoy reading your ideas!

  6. monika

    May 17, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    I can’t remember where I heard this, but…the value of what you say has to be worth the silence you break. So yeah…you need something of value when you call. That is the great thing about the RE Net world…The ideas are everywhere.

  7. Vicki Moore

    May 17, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Matthew – It gets rid of the I’m bothering them feeling.

    Monika – Value of what you say…I like that. Thanks for sharing it.

  8. Ricardo Bueno

    May 17, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Granted living trusts aren’t always pleasant to talk about but I’m sure the conversation(s) garnered a greater deal of respect for you and your insights (especially for not showing up empty handed and only asking for a referral).

    Following up on the important holidays is nice and ok…but like you said, it would get kinda boring if that’s all you did. A nice pleasant follow up call always hits the spot and it says “hey, this person cares.”

    I saw on LinkedIn that one of my clients got promoted to a new job…that made for some great conversation!

  9. Vicki Moore

    May 17, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    That’s it Ricardo – finding the things that are important to them.

  10. Scott P. Rogers

    May 17, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    >> One of the fundamentals of staying in business is referrals. How do you get referrals? You have to ask.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on whether contact methods other than phone can be effective in accomplishing the “asking”?

  11. Vicki Moore

    May 17, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    My input is that nothing can replace the phone calls. Mailing and emailing should be used in conjuction but not as the only method. I send a monthly item as well as birthday and anniversary cards.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what others have to say.

  12. Larry Yatkowsky

    May 17, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    A great way to get addicted to coffee is to invite 3 or 4 clients a day. Nothing tops pressing flesh with a handshake.
    Reasons to call: birthday, anniversary of house sold or bought, new kid, new girlfriend, new dog not necessarily in that order – but I’m sure there are more reasons to call then not. It’s all in the doing.

  13. Eric Blackwell

    May 18, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Vicki- Great post.

    Below is the money quote IMO…amazing that we end up guilting ourselves when there is no need.

    Well said.

    “The other thing I’ve realized is that they don’t know I’m supposed to be calling them on a regular basis. So if I miss a month – which, of course, happens – they don’t feel bad about it. They don’t even realize it. So I don’t feel bad about it anymore either.”

  14. Jeremy Hart

    May 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Vicki –

    thanks for the reminder. I did something similar to this with Andy Kaufman when I *attempted* to write handwritten notes for 30 days. I wasn’t always consistent, butt I know it made a difference to those that received a note. A phone call is even better – I’ll join you in making phone calls this week. Thanks for the prodding …

    Scott, I agree with Larry, I’m not sure anything beats a phone call and a handshake. I’m looking forward to testing this out.

  15. Vicki Moore

    May 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Larry – Starbucks is the new office. I shouldn’t be but I’m always surprised how many business meetings are going on in there.

    Eric – An agent in my office was bemoaning calling because he hadn’t in “so long.” How long is that? People are living their lives; they’re not thinking about how long it’s been since we called.

    Jeremy – I heard somewhere that life is like steering a boat – you’re constantly pulling/pushing the steering wheel back on course.

    Sometimes we make it easier to guilt ourselves than it is to just make the calls or write the notes.

  16. Glenn fm Naples

    June 21, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Vicki – keeping in contact with your SOI is critical to the referral business. You wrote earlier about your blog – could this be a reason for calling someone about an article about trusts and for them to read?

    Are you using an e-mail campaign or newsletter that you write (I hate the canned newsletters and I hate writing a newsletter) with a snippet to your blog post with a link to the blog post or website page?

    Would be curious to hear other thoughts on this.

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