Starboard Commercial Real Estate

Hans Hansson | October 9, 2007

I have been in sales my entire business life: first in the food service business; next as a mortgage broker; and, now in commercial real estate. I learned from day one the importance of referrals. My first week in the food service business I landed an appointment to secure a food service contract at a local television station.

This turned out to be a very big client over the course of ten years. A major vendor represented this client for a number of years that provided "ok" service but not great. The client never really saw her salesperson. This account would be considered small for the vendor, but to us it was huge. We treated this client as a "Cadillac" from day one. The client was so impressed that within a week she got me "in" with a competing television station and then a radio station. Soon I was servicing almost every television and radio station in the area.

Over the ten years that I worked there I managed to not only keep that first account but developed probably half my business from the referrals that that particular client gave me and subsequently the referrals I got from the referrals.

One rule that I have adhered to from that first referral was to "take care of every referral no matter what." In my current business referrals amount to over 30 percent of my business each year however not all referrals represent deals that I would have sought after through normal cold calling and networking. Some of these deals are quite small but they are invaluable to service. My rule is simple, if someone was kind enough to refer you a client, you service that client no matter what; and, you make sure you give that business your full attention regardless of what you may earn. You never know, by servicing that small lead where that may lead you to next.
Posted 12 years, 3 months ago on October 9, 2007
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Re: Make Sure You Take Care of All Referrals
Excellent points. I learned the value of referrals and providing outstanding customer service time and time again in sales and when I had my own business. You would never know when a "small fish" would lead you to or become a "whale". This is especially true in the Bay Area where personal connections are so important.

2007/11/03 by Virginia • • Reply
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