The post is specific to the credit repair business because, well, I’m in the credit repair business. But much of what I’m going to discuss can be used for any business. What you’ll discover in reading this is that it’s not difficult to get people (friends, associates, business partners) to agree to give you referrals. The most difficult parts are getting them to do so regularly and teaching them how to properly do it. I’ll give you the magic key to getting high-quality referrals below. So, let’s dive into learning how to get referrals in the credit repair business, and in any business.
Who Will Give Your Referrals?
To find people that will give you a referral you need to divide them into 2 categories. Those that will give you referrals casually because they like you and want to see you do well. And those that can benefit from giving you that referral. I’m not talking about paying them a referral fee. You, of course, can do that but if you’re talking to the right people you do not have to pay them to give you a referral. I never have paid out a referral fee yet have received hundreds of referrals.
Those That Want to See you Do Well
This category is obvious. These are people that know you, like you, and care about you. Typically, this is a limited number of people and will result in a limited number of referrals. But it’s always great to get a text from a friend with the contact details of someone they’ve talked to about me. More on that a bit later.
Getting referrals from friends and family is as simple as asking them to keep their eyes and ears open for anyone needing help with their credit. Or, if you’re in another type of business, help with whatever it is that you do. You may also want to share with your friend a little about what it is that you can do to help people so they can edify you and your services just a bit. Usually just by the association, meaning that you are a close friend, that will be enough to get someone interested in talking to you. But you still need to know the magic key to learning how to get referrals which I’ll share below.
Those That Will Benefit from Giving You a Referral
If you spend time on this it will be a major asset to your credit repair business. If you’re in another business, you’ll have to think about what I’m telling you and figure out who will benefit from giving you referrals. In credit repair it’s easy. Who needs creditworthy clients? Who needs clients that have a qualifying credit score to finance what they are selling?
Real estate agents and brokers, mortgage professionals, bankers, solar salespeople, auto salespeople, and finance managers all need creditworthy clients. You might think of other industries where people might refer clients to you. Such as tax professionals, bookkeepers, and insurance professionals to name a few. But people in those industries won’t necessarily benefit from referring people to you. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask them to do so. And teach them the magic key to getting a referral that I’ll reveal below. It just means that you should absolutely focus on the 1st group I listed above.
Those people need you. They run into people nearly every day that cannot qualify for financing to buy what they sell. That’s lost advertising dollars, lost revenue, and lost commissions to them. What if you could get even just 20% of those people to become qualified buyers in the next 4 to 6 months? You could increase the income of that real estate agent, as an example, by 20% in the next year! You would be their hero. They would sing your praises to everyone that has a sub-qualifying credit score. They would also help you get more referral sources in their real estate office and turn you onto their mortgage partners as well. More on that below.
In 2 other posts, I go into detail on how to develop these referral relationships and how to manage these relationships.
You DO NOT NEED to PAY REFERRAL FEES
Paying a referral fee to a real estate agent or mortgage broker is an act of desperation. Don’t do it. You can put thousands of dollars in a real estate agent’s pocket by doing what you do. Why would you pay for doing that? It shows weakness in the ability to explain a value proposition and in the ability to develop a professional business partnership. Enough said.
If you’re in another business and do not have people that would naturally benefit from giving you referrals as I’ve described above in the credit repair business, you could consider it. But I would still think about another arrangement such as you referring them prospective clients in exchange.
Your Value Proposition
You must be able to explain what it is that you do extremely well to a prospective referral source or referral partner. I’m a big proponent of practicing. Right down what you would say to a real estate agent (or anyone in the category that will benefit from giving you referrals) and practice a 60 second or so value proposition. It’s pretty simple when you think about it.
Example- “How many people do you run into every month that can’t qualify to buy a home due to their low credit score? What if I could turn just 20% of those people into qualified buyers for you in the next 4 to 6 months? Let me explain what I do….”
That’s the Easy Part
No real estate agent, mortgage broker, or solar salesperson in their right mind would think that’s a bad idea. Yes, they may have had a negative experience with a credit repair company in the past. You’ll have to explain what you’ll do to correct that experience for them. But in most cases (like 90%) they will agree to pass on their credit-challenged clients to you because what else are they going to do with them?
Here’s the Harder Part
Getting people who are not used to referring people to refer people can take some follow up. You have to think of yourself as an account representative for your company. Here’s what I mean. A lifetime ago I was in the commercial real estate business. And every few days the account reps from the Title companies would come in and walk around the office and talk with the agents. Basically, they were developing a relationship with us and reminding us to contact them when we put a deal in escrow. You need to do the same type of thing with your referral sources.
When I started in the credit repair business in 2012, which of course was pre-Covid, I would visit certain real estate offices at least once a week and walk around to meet and talk to the real estate agents. I made myself their partner in business. I was “the credit guy”. What I did became just as valuable to them as the home inspector, or the guy that put up the ‘For Sale’ signs. They didn’t always need me but when they did there was no question who they were going to call. You can’t do that during the lockdown so get on the phone. Call these people every week at a minimum.
Who Was a ‘Turn Down’ in the Last Week?
Remember the question that I suggested you ask a real estate agent (or any referral source) first? “How many people do you run into every month that can’t qualify to buy a home due to their low credit score? They are going to give you the answer to that question. It might be a few. It might be a ton. But just know that if they are doing their job well, they will have had turn downs.
So, when they agree to give you referrals ask them about the people they have had to turn down in the week or month prior. When you call them every week ask them about the turn downs in that previous week. You have got to help your referral sources or partners develop a habit. You have got to become someone that is constant and consistent in your pursuit of referrals. Otherwise, they will forget about you.
How to Get More Referrals Partners
Once you have someone in a real estate office or solar company that agrees to give you referrals, ask about other agents or salespeople in the office that have the same problem they do with people that can’t qualify. Ask the real estate agent who their main mortgage person is. Ask the mortgage person who their main real estate people are. These people all refer business back and forth to each other. You have got to get in that mix.
You could take one real estate agent that agrees to give you referrals and turn that into a dozen referral sources or more in just one real estate office.
You could also do a presentation to the whole office in some cases. During Covid-19 do it via Zoom.
The Magic Key to Getting Referrals
If you do everything that I mentioned above you still will not have the number of referrals and sales that you could have if you also use what I’m about to tell you. The fact is that people in general and specifically, businesspeople were never taught how to give a referral. They think that giving a referral is to simply tell someone about you. That is not a referral. That is a recommendation.
Recommendations will not turn into referrals and sales unless that person calls you which doesn’t happen very often. So, what can you do to turn recommendations into solid referrals that have a high probability of closing?
Teach Your Referral Partner How to Give You a Referral
You have got to teach people how to give you a referral. There are 2 components to what they need to do when talking to someone that needs your services. Edification and getting their permission to giving you their contact information.
Edification of You
Edification is nothing more than speaking highly of you. It doesn’t need to be over the top. But the person being referred needs to understand that the person referring thinks highly of you. It gives you credibility. It also brings along with it a trust factor. Credibility and trust are 80% of a closed sale. The rest is just a matter of explaining what you do and the price.
Explaining what you do should be easy which is something else you should practice and get down cold. The price shouldn’t be an issue because remember, these people just got turned down for a mortgage, or for solar financing, or a car loan. They have money and are willing to spend it to get what they want.
Getting Permission to Give You Their Contact Information
Quite often a real estate agent will ask you what your website address is to send their clients. That is an indication that they are either lazy or do not know how to properly give a referral or both. What I always say to a prospective referral source that has agreed to give me referrals is, “Can I make a recommendation?” To which they always answer, “Yes”.
Here’s my recommendation to that referral source or partner. “In my experience, the best way to make sure we get these people qualified to buy that home from you is for you to ask for their permission to give me their contact details so I can call them. In that way we make sure the connection happens as soon as possible”. They always respond by saying, “that’s a much better idea”. Because it is. They immediately recognize that giving me their client's info after they have called them and edified me, puts me in control and gives us both a better chance of making a sale.
Why Would a Referral Source or Partner Do All of This?
First of all, it takes them less than 5 minutes to call a turndown and edify me and get permission to give me their information. And, if you coach your referral source correctly, they will do that on the call in which they have to tell the prospective client that they got turned down in the first place.
But the biggest reason they will do it is because of the value proposition you discussed with them upfront. “What if I could get just 20% of the people that can’t qualify to buy from you to become qualified buyers”. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re in the credit repair business, this is an absolute must to grow your business.