Where Do Referrals Come From?

Every body, well almost everybody knows that the best leads come from referrals. And, the best referrals come from the people who know your work, the scope of the referral’s requirements and are trusted members of the inner circle.

The next best source of referrals come from ‘Power Partners’. Your power partners, most likely, are professionals in a ‘trusted advisor’ role who know and respect your work and who are trusted and respect by their clients. Traditionally, power partners include, but are not limited to Attorneys, CPAs, Financial Advisors, Bankers, Executive Coaches. But, depending on the industry and marketplace, they could be anybody.

Go outside the box. Graphic/Web Designers may have SEO power partners. Architects may have Commercial RE Agents as PPs (and visa versa). And, I’ve heard of great leads coming from Hair Dressers, Personal Trainers & Custom Tailors. I knew a Residential RE Agent who went to the Concierges at local hotels. Frequently, people who are being transferred will ask them if they know a good agent. Bingo!

And, don’t forget your Vendors. They all know companies who also buy their products and services and who could buy your product or service too.


Boards of Directors of Non-Profits are also a source of leads. Just think about who sits on the board of your favorite charity.

The best unlikely lead source story I ever heard was about a men’s room attendant. (Think about it). A RE broker, in the men’s room, was complaining that his pipeline was rather thin. The attendant, just to be courteous, asked him what business he was in. When he heard, he said “There was just a gentleman in here who was complaining that he was having no luck finding space for his company and he was getting dangerously close to his move date.”

The agent’s ears perked up, his face flushed and he asked the attendant if he would recognize this person. Then he dragged him out into the dining room where he pointed out the prospect. Long story short, the men’s room attendant was the referral source for a 10 year, 50,000 square foot lease in an A building, and a very large commission.

I hope he got a big tip!