Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 46 seconds

Ask The Expert: How Do I Start Getting Referrals?

Denise from New Jersey wrote in: "I have read several of your statements on the topic of referrals. It seems like everyone is trying to sell me a referral-based system. I realize that I need to get more referrals, but I don't know where to start. Can you give me some direction? Or should I just try one of the systems?" 

HershmanDave: There are plenty of times in which I read a question and think "I could write a book on that topic." In this case, I have written a book. And so have many others. What we are talking about is more than going out and getting a few referrals. It is a way of life for top producers everywhere--and not just in the residential finance industry.

Summing up my belief: top producers get their business by referral. Their referrals come from their sphere. Therefore, the larger your sphere, and the more value you deliver to your sphere, the more referrals you will get.

What do I mean by a "way of life"? It is more than putting the statement "I love referrals" on business cards. It is setting up a marketing plan that revolves around the concept. It starts by letting others know you need their help and how they can help you. And we are not just talking about purchase or refinance leads. We are talking about introductions to potential referral sources.

For example, if you have a top real estate agent who you are very close to, have you ever asked them to introduce you to other agents? The plan continues by wowing your customers in order to put yourself in position to get referrals. And it continues after the transaction closes as well.

We delve into specifics by covering the importance of letting others know how they can help you and who you should ask. Our short answer is that you should ask everyone, but that would not be helpful. So, let's take an example from your sphere. In this case we will cover your personal segment of the sphere: friends, family and neighbors. Many are reticent to ask for help from those they know. But if you read Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he discusses the concept of an emotional bank account. Basically, these are the people that know you and should be willing to help you as you have helped them throughout your life.

Why are we reticent? There are two main reasons. First, we don't want to appear "weak" to our close contacts. Second, we don't want to hammer them for business. In reality, asking for help is a sign of strength as we demonstrate how important our business is to us. And we don't need to hammer them for business. For example, your nextdoor neighbor is not going to buy another home because it would help you. We don't deal in girl scout cookies. But if they knew a real estate agent well, or perhaps a financial planner, would they introduce the two of you? The answer is yes. Thus, the big issue is that we don't ask for help and we don't define how they can help us. Your neighbor does not know you need to be introduced to financial planners or real estate agents.

Loan officers assume that because they are in the residential finance business, if someone they know is looking to finance a home, they would seek them out for help. I would like to be confident about this assumption, but in reality, many of us have not even gone this far with our key contacts by letting them know you are in the business. If you have not, you need to start at this point. But you need to go further. For example, if someone you know well is thinking about purchasing a house, do they know that you can refer a real estate agent to them? This is probably even more important than getting a loan referral because it can be leveraged.

How about if someone moves out of state? Does your contact realize that you would like to know about anyone relocating to your area? Many would remove these "out-of-state" contacts from their database, yet in the context of providing these referrals, these contacts could be as valuable as ever. Referrals you can give to a real estate agent are significant. Thus, it is not just about asking for referrals. It is about asking for help and teaching everyone you know how to help you. And the loan process is a great place to start training your customers to refer prospects to you.

Dave Hershman is Senior VP of Sales of Weichert Financial and the top author in the mortgage industry. Dave has published seven books, as well as hundreds of articles and is the founder of the OriginationPro Marketing System and Mortgage School – the online choice for expert mortgage learning and marketing content. His site is and he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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