The Magic of Referrals

By Brenda Harralson, Digital Products Director, Rialto Academy

The majority of agents want to grow their businesses year over year, and there are several compelling elements that can move that process forward: Better technology, an assistant, and superior time-blocking can certainly help. But judging from the many successful agents we’ve coached over the years, nothing gives a better return than increasing the number of referrals earned from a database.  

Rialto recently spoke with Cristina Murphey, founder of The Murphey Team from Keller Williams Realty, about her team’s success using this method. (In 2018, 70% of their business came from referrals alone!) Below are their three main strategies for growing a business through an existing database and the almighty referral—all three of which, not surprisingly, are focused on building and nurturing relationships.

1. Tap into Your Sphere of Influence

We call it a “sphere of influence” because you’re at the hub of a network of people you already know and influence—including past clients, friends, and acquaintances. People are drawn to, and want to work with, service providers they trust. The goal is for that to be you!

Exhibit your value, ethics, communication skills, and level of service to your sphere so that you earn mindshare. Host a client-appreciation event, send useful information tailored to a client’s particular needs, spring into action whenever your sphere has a question or needs assistance— these are great ways to earn credibility and trust. Of course, it’s also possible to grow your influence over people with whom you’ve never worked. That’s where the magic of referrals comes in because people like to refer when they’ve had good experiences. It’s up to you to provide value in a way that sets you apart from other agents.

2. Activate Your Allied Resources

The easiest calls you’ll have are the ones to other business owners. These business-to-business referral relationships are win-win for both parties when you both commit to sending business each other’s way. For this to work, it’s important to become a visible figure in your community. Consider bringing local business owners together for networking events, partnering with businesses to offer free educational seminars to residents in your community who could benefit from what your partners have to offer, etc. The key here is to share not sell.

Of course, the most direct and obvious partners for referrals are those who are also in the home services industry. This could include lenders, inspectors, plumbers, and landscapers, etc.—anyone who interacts with potential homebuyers and sellers who can give you a heads up that someone is coming on the market. You can also look at a second level of referral opportunities such as financial advisors, attorneys, and others who themselves are great connectors.

3. Plumb Your Referring Agents

One type of contact who is surely interacting with plenty of potential clients is other agents! Check housing trends to determine what cities are connected to yours and partner with agents in those places for referrals. The two main types of connection are clients relocating into (or out of!) your city, or agents from other areas regularly investing in your area. 

 Austin, for example, is growing at the rate of 150 people per day, and many are migrating from California, Florida, and other metro areas in Texas (Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth). Establishing solid relationships in each of these areas allows The Murphey Team to regularly receive referrals from agent partners in these areas. Of course, this advantage comes at a price—the team pays a referral fee, and also delivers the best Austin BBQ right to the door of their agent referral partners! But they say it’s completely worth it.

Thanks, Murphey Team!


Remember, as you grow your referral network in these ways, you’ll build a more robust and efficient database. Consider these rules as you create your plan of attack:

1.  Always come from a place of contribution. When connecting with a referral partner, don’t think of it as a sales call; think of it as an opportunity to share something of value. Consider what could help your partner succeed at an even higher level—whether it’s a news article, a new tool you’ve discovered or, best of all, a referral!

2. Be genuine and show you care. In the words of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

3. Keep in touch consistently!

4. Reward your partners for sending business. Always treat your sphere-mates like gold.

For more information about Cristina Murphey and The Murphey Team, visit,

Growing and nurturing your sphere is one of the many things Rialto Agent University (RAU) can teach you.  Check out the “Grow Your Sphere and Grow Your Business” course and other RAU membership options below.

> Learn More About growing your sphere