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Trust - The Critical Factor in Referral Business

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.  Booker T. Washington

Whom do YOU trust?I am incredibly fortunate that approximately 70% of my business this year will arrive through personal referrals from friends, family, past clients and agents with whom I have done business in the past. This number varies over the years, higher some years and lower others but is always a reliable and consistent source of business. My referral business is built on one primary factor; TRUST. "Referrals are the highest form of compliment I can receive from a past client" - I see this written on the backs of business cards, beneath signatures, and repeated endlessly at closings. For me, this is not just an empty platitude, it must be backed up with reliability, professionalism and real service! I have a very good track record going back many years that has been built on a relationship of reliance. If I say I am going to do something I do it!

When I first joined ActiveRain last summer, one of my goals was to establish contact and build relationships for referrals across the country. This turned out to be one of the most amazing aspects about the community. In the past I have had to rely on various networks, catalogues and brochures to find someone and this proved to be a difficult proposition. I would look over various descriptions, profiles etc. and finally find someone to call. At that point, I would have a brief conversation and if everything seemed okay, pass along the information. With this scant amount of discussion I was passing along the trust of someone who trusted me. I have very high standards for my clients and want the referred agent to treat my clients in the same manner as I would.

Webster's Online Dictionary defines trust as: 1 a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something b: one in which confidence is placed

The key is learning about people and getting to know them over time through the communication provided here at ActiveRain. First impressions are important but here we have the inimitable opportunity to read others posts along with comments that reveal us more openly and deeply and at a visceral level that cannot be hidden. I will admit that I have seen comments, posts and behavior that is unappealing to me personally but I can assure you I am not judging anyone, I realize that there are some people out there for whom professionally and to some degree, personally, I am not a good fit which is just fine.

On the other hand, since joining Active Rain, I have had the great fortune of establishing some phenomenal relationships with brokers, agents, lenders, stagers, marketing gurus, artists and the general public that I absolutely value. The best part of the site, for me is the ability to genuinely get to know someone over time through the discourse offered and the communication between the members. One of the first people I met in person was Jason Crouch. I read a number of his posts and thought I would just call him up and ask him about the site and get to know him. We had an absolutely enjoyable time and I can tell you from personal experience he is as interesting and bright as you would imagine while at the same time devoid of any ego or attitude that all of us sometimes witness in this business. He was open and helpful and we have since become friends as we have gotten to know each other over time. Our companies and areas of business focus are different (geographically more than anything) and so recently, when I received a very good lead that was not in my particular area of expertise (or any of my associates) I immediately thought of Jason. AND WHY NOT, it's better to send good business to someone I trust so that we can all benefit (the client in particular) rather than just leaving them to call the next number they find in a phone book, the newspaper, online or from a yard sign.

I can tell you unequivocally that I have met at least two dozen people here (so far) whom I would not hesitate sending business all across the country because of the relationships I have established and nurtured here. Now that I think of it, I am going to write a post and mention everyone I am talking about (Y'all already know who you are)because my experience here has been the most exciting new thing to enter my world as a real estate broker in years!

               Thanks to ActiveRain and I look forward to meeting more of you in the future!

 

Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

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103 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • October 16 2008 09:50AM

Comments

Thanks for the post. It is always best to have people that you know you can count on, whether you find them through AR or not.

Also, I just read a blog post where someone was describing a contractor that they were adding to there do not use list. Although they weren't in my market area, they were put on my do not use list as well.

Posted by W. Darrell Walters - Integrity Mortgage Funding over 2 years ago

Good morning Russell, I enjoyed your post. Very well said. Wishing you the best with your ventures. Regards, C.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (CarolynTannStarr.com TannStarr.net REMAX People Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell - You are right, trust is paramount.  One way I know ?  I've seen some professional relationships (i.e. realtor/lender) that are so built on a deep trust, so much that it didn't matter that the lender didn't know a LICK!  But the trust was there which at times is evenmore important then skill.  And you are right, AR is a wonderufl place to learn to trust people over time and just to learn in general.  AR is almost priceless. 

Posted by Steve Kappre, Gloucester - Camden County NJ Mortgage Loan Officer | 856-419-3561 (Treasury Mortgage | Mortgage Company - New Jersey) over 2 years ago

We have a friend in common.  Jason is a great guy.

Posted by Melody Botting Real Estate Network over 2 years ago

Wow! You two really hit it off and what is more amazing are all the people you have met across the country! Active Rain is the best networking site around for sure!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Russel Russell -  Trust is vital and earned over and over again.  You can get a pulse and general feeling from interacting with folks through their blog posts and comment threads over time.  Sometimes it's an instaneous gut feeling, sometimes it takes some time to garner.  Enjoy your weekend amigo!

Posted by Jason Sardi, Pretty Fly for an Allentown Guy (None needed;)) over 2 years ago

Darrell You are right, it does not matter wher we find the people we can trust it's just essentila that we do so. I really enjoy AR for all the opportunities and thanks for the heads up on the other list we should all keep!

C Tann-Starr I have been a fan of your group and posts for awhile and would send business your way if it ever happens!

Steve I believe in a realistic approach and the trsut is based on results whcih you have suvccessfully managed to keep producing!

Melody I could not agree more, we are all fortunate to know one another (I am going to check your blog after I finish these comments!

Mattie We did indeed hit it off and I am glad to have met so many other good people here too!

Jason You are so damn funny and I would trust you with anything in the world my friend. I am glad to know you!!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

One of the ways I get the trust factor rolling is invite my clients and families to my movie day when I rent out the entire theatre for free popcorn and a movie. I can't wait as it nears!

Posted by Gary & Melynda Wolter (Relocation 319-350-7901) (Skogman Realty) over 2 years ago

Thanks for the post!  I am new to ActiveRain and am amazed at what a close-knit community is present here.  It is wonderful to see all the positive comments and energy on this site.

Posted by Jenn Neumann Deer Surfside Beach Real Estate (RE/MAX Southern Shores) over 2 years ago

AR has created a platform where through their comments and blogs you can get to know them more then ever before contacting them. They have given us the opportunity to go beyond the back pages of the Realtor magazinr to find our referrals. A great post.

Posted by James Engel KW Beverly Hills (Keller Williams Realty Beverly Hills) over 2 years ago

What a wonterful testament to the power of trust and Active Rain.  I also look forward to meeting more people here!

Posted by Erin over 2 years ago

Thanks Russell,

I feel the same way you do about referrals and trust.  Almost 100% of my business is repeat and referral business.  It's a wonderful place to be.  I recently (before I discovered Active Rain) had a good client who was interested in looking at investment properties in an area out of my range.  I gladly made a referral to the cousin of a broker in my firm whom I trusted completely.  Well, cousin or not, I goofed.  The cousin did not return calls from the client and eventually he used the yellow pages to find a REALTOR in that area.  Fortunately, he had developed enough of a relationship with me that he didn't lose faith in me but he could have.  I will be more diligent in checking out the people I make referrals to in the future.  Hopefully, they'll all be through Active Rain.

Posted by Marian Goetzinger Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) over 2 years ago

Russell - I loved your post - TRUST, such an important word in business and life.  Taking the time to truly get to know one another is so important - it starts with our posts: commenting, reaching out to say you liked what someone had to say, hopefully they visit yours and before you know it you are developing a relationship with this person - a trust.  Then it goes further:  picking up the phone or getting a call from someone (thank you Jason!) that you have been corresponding with here, meeting up with local contacts in your community - you not only learn how they do business but you develop that trust you mentioned and when you have that trust with someone they are the first person you will think of when you or someone you know needs their expertise.  I agree - I love Jason and I loved his post highlighting his relationship with you - you're both fabulous with so much to offer and I enjoy you both. ~ Anne Marie

Posted by Anne Marie Malfi, Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA (Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals) over 2 years ago

Russell,  PS:  I have a daughter in Austin, Texas.  I will make sure she knows I know a good REALTOR in case she ever decides to make a move.  When she moved from Atlanta to Austin, we were able to work out a referral with a good agent there.  Good luck and continued success.

Posted by Marian Goetzinger Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) over 2 years ago

Russell - like you I have developed some awesome relationships here on the Rain, and would not hesitate to send business to. You have written a very good post! It is all about trust!

Posted by Sharon Paxson Newport Beach Real Estate (Prudential California Realty, DRE License 01501912) over 2 years ago

Russell, isn't it a wonderful feeling knowing that you are sending your clients to someone that you really do trust? This has been the greatest asset that Active Rain has accomplished for all of us. I remember the days when I would study Realtor.com, click on the agents website, study and study some more, calling and interviewing prospective Realtors before ever sending one of my clients to an individual.

Active Rain has made the job of referring so much easier and now when a client of mine says they are moving to an outside area, I automatically know after being a member here for over 2 years who I will send my clients to for the quality service that I expect.

It really is a wonderful place and I for one am ever so thankful that the "Rain gods" had the vision to establish Active Rain for all of us.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 2 years ago

Great topic!  The internet has made it easier than ever for Realtors to connect and develop somewhat of a working relationship.  These days you can build trust and connect like never before.  It makes me wonder, how did we network with far flung agents before the internet?

Posted by Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team (RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs) over 2 years ago

 morning Russell,,, re "approximately 70% of my business this year will arrive through personal referrals from friends, family, past clients"...

 Those are some absolutely awesome numbers my friend. In any biz, the thing about doing quality work is that people trust you and are happy to refer you to others. Obviously you're doing something very, very right. Congrats RL!

Posted by marti garaughty (The Art of Marketing YOU) over 2 years ago

Russell, Great post. I agree we should be careful when we refer agents.

Posted by GITA BANTWAL, REALTOR BUCKS COUNTY, PA HOMES (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 2 years ago

It is all about buidling those relationships.  The internet is a great way for us to meet each other and find out about those we would have not met if it had not been for Active Rain.  It is an incredible experience and I have enjoyed those professionals I have had the please to get to know as a result of participating in Active Rain.

Posted by Joan Whitebook Southern New Hampshire over 2 years ago

I feel exactly the same way. The personal relationships and friendships I've found here are key elements of my business. I do give out a lot of referrals...and I want to know the person to whom I'm sending the referral. That is one of my favorite things about AR. I would give you a referral without hesitation, Russell. GBU!

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves - Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) over 2 years ago

Russell - I think we may have officially joined a mutual admiration society.  :)  Thank you for the mention and the link, but more importantly, thanks for your trust and for the referral!

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 2 years ago

Gary & Melynda That sounds like  a very fun way to network with past clients!

Jenn This can be as close knit as you like. There are many people here who have so much to offer and I never tire of spending time reading other posts and commenting because I have learned so much. Keep coming back and finding those where you share common ideas and goals!

Marian In the grand view I would LOVE to have 100% referral business. It is so much easier from the get go and it helps to begin a relationship by being referred by someone you already trust! The really great part of meeting folks at Active Rain is that you will build relationships over time and not feel rushed to try and find someone who would best fit your referral.

Anne Marie I am so flattered you dropped by and I am a fan of your blog! I agree that with Active Rain we are afforded the opportunity to learn more about each other over time and that we are able to gravitate to those whom we would getting to know better and referring business as well!

Marian I hope your daughter is enjoying Austin, I love it here (of course you would expect me to say that!) and if she ever has a real estate need of any type, please ask her to call me. I promise that if it is not something I can handle in the best possible manner I will refer her to someone who can! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Gena Like I said in the post, I went through the same ordeal trying to find folks to help out going clients that I believed would take good care and treat them the same as I would! You are one of the people I consider a friend and also a person who will get any business from me if the need ever arises! Thanks for dropping by and I am glad I subscribed to your blog!

Matt The internet and Active Rain specifically has made the job of finding and networking with other much easier ands well as far more efficient and very entertaining to boot!!!

I have to go back to work now but I will respond to all of these great comments later today.

                                                                 Thanks everyone!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I am curious as to how many names you provide your customers when making a referral.  I have always provided three names and suggest that the referred customer contact each with specific questions.  My reason was simple:  although I want to act as a resource, I want the customer to participate in the decision making process. Any thoughts?

Posted by Ryan Shaughnessy, Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner (PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com) over 2 years ago

You're so right. People place their trust in you and should expect the best and rightfully so.

Posted by Joyce Kelley Realtors® Pensacola/ Gulf Breeze Homes (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc) over 2 years ago

Marti You are one of the very first people I met when I first arrived and I am still amazed at that incredibly good fortune. I send business to you whenever anyone asks about graphics, images, internet marketing and a host of other areas where you are so incredibly proficient. The bonus is that when people get to know you, they find a very special person of extraordinary talent and generosity.  I am honored to call you my friend! Thanks -RL

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Sharon You are a person I have recently enjoyed getting to know and it's a pleasure. I love reading posts about your family and we both have "Morgan's" in our families that bring us joy and all of the other stuff that arrives with teenage year...

Erin Active Rain is the single best online resource I have found in years regarding the real estate community at large!

 Gita I agree that Active rain has made the process of finding a fellow agent we can trust much easier!

Joan I share your opinion that active rain is a wealth of information that is generously shared between agents who are actively working in the field!

Elizabeth I am a big fan of your blog and read your comments and blog on a regular basis. I enjoy your posts and have learned so many good things about you that I would gladly send any referrals to you!

Jason I believe you are absolutely correct,you know, we meet people all the time but it's only once in awhile that we manage to click with another person on so many level. The nice thing about us is that we are able to conduct business, make some money and have a really good time. There are very few people that make me laugh the way we do when we get together!  Thanks again for your help and your friendship!

Ryan good point and when referring any inspectors, contractors, attorneys, trades and other I do use a list method. The list is compiled from years of experience with many local people and I have had a long history with most. When referring business to other parts of the country, it is much more difficult because I have not had the opportunity to interact with as many agents and with very little history of experience. Active rain affords all of us an opportunity to really learn about others and their attitudes, beliefs, ethics and principles in a way never offered before. Great question and I hope I have managed to give you an intelligent answer.

Joyce Trust is truly a two way street and we and at the risk of sounding corny in some way I still maintain that we have to remember the golden rule at all times!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, working with you in our office, I do understand that all of us are successful on many different levels and because of that have a lot of business to take care of on our own. Although it is no problem finding someone here to cover for us when we are gone (and that is a real benefit) it is often difficult at times in find a suitable referral source in-house. I applaud the manner in which you have been able to convert business (to someone that is professional and trustworthy) that would other wise be lost!

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) over 2 years ago

Hey you!!! This is an excellent article. Our office has so many people who already have established business that it can sometimes be difficult to refer things in-house. Although this is always our first thought when referring business. I think it is wonderful that you have found people outside the company who you trust. Great post!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Great post!  I'm working on getting more of my business by referral.  This year was only about 15% but last year was less so I'm moving in the right direction. 

Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES RE/MAX Grand (RE/MAX Grand) over 2 years ago

Another spot on blog. You are really good at this!

Posted by Susan Avant, Realtor (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell!
I, like you, rely on about 80% of my business to be referrals.  I have tried to earn this trust through going the extra mile, especially  when my clients aren't expecting it.  I don't tell them things that they want to hear...I tell them what they need to know.  As a result, we work as a team and they feel they have control.  Usually our escrows are smooth, and if there is a hurdle, we work on it together.  I love this career!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunnigan, REALTORS (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) over 2 years ago

Perhaps the most difficult trait to teach.  Many people have the greatest intent, but they just do not have the presence to display trust.  These are deep personality traits that I can not teach.  It is pretty easy to know if you have the "it" factor.....that being the ability for others to trust you.  Even without being well educated in conducting an open house, do 10 open houses.  If you do not have a client in 10 open houses, you do not have the "it" factor.

This does not mean that you can not succeed in this business, but it does mean that you will need to find others to have direct contact with people.  Understand who you are and accept it and learn how to put what you do have in the right position in this industry.  We know of people that have licenses that are at the top of the field that do not have the "it" factor.  Moreover, some are the most unethical people I have ever met......even evil.  Why they became number one is they learned not to be in front of others and have others do that work for them.  i.e. Anyone can be successful in this business.

Posted by Tim Moncrief - Luxury Homes Austin, TX (Bartlett Real Estate Group of Keller Williams ) over 2 years ago

Russell, as a person who knows you and has done business with you in the past, I can say truthfully that you are as good as they come. It is a pleasure to see that you continue to connect with others in our business in good times and bad times What is amazing to me is that you are a tough negotiator and very competitive without being harsh or unreasonable. And then there is that sly sense of humor that always comes out. Thanks again for an enlightening and entertaining post!  Lynne

Posted by Lynne over 2 years ago

Trust is important and AR gives us a way to begin to know the people we may send a referral to rather than choose blindly.

Posted by Christine Donovan Costa Mesa CA Homes Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 (Donovan Blatt Team - Donovan Group Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell, I actually saw this posted at Jason Crouch's blog and it is an incredible story. Working with you I know you to be successful and this is one of the many reasons why. We would all do well to emulate you and your willingness to work with others in establishing trust with fellow agents as well as each other, our clientele and the public!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

You know Russell, you said it all! We, just like you, have high standards for our clients and want someone to treat them exactly in the manner like we would treat them. Its' all about TRUST!

Posted by Anonymous over 2 years ago

You know Russell, you said it all! We, just like you, have standards for our clients and want someone to treat them exactly in the manner like we would treat them. It's all about TRUST!

Posted by Larry & Sheila Nassau/Suffolk County LI Relocation Certified*631-805-4400 (North/South Shore LI*Home Buyer & Seller Specialists!) over 2 years ago

I am so happy to see this was featured. I love your posts and this is one that holds true for all of the professionals in the business. Trust is the key to all relationships!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

We know we are trusted when we hear from past clients and SOI. It is a very good feeling! Thank you for saying it so eloquently.

Posted by Caren Wallace-Portage Lakes Real Estate Agent (Stouffer Realty, Akron, Ohio) over 2 years ago

You are so right. Trust is the most important thing. Keeping in touch after that just guarantees you get the return business from past clients.

Posted by Lee Cunningham - Greenville SC Real Estate (Cunningham Team RE/MAX R.P.) over 2 years ago

Russell,
This is an excellent post -- Trust --what an important element of doing business. 

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 2 years ago

Russell, right from the beginning I knew you were the type of Realtor that I would trust as well with any home buyer that relocates to Austin, TX. I've enjoyed reading your articles and find that you have the same ethics and professionalism that I offer my clients.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) over 2 years ago

Jeannette Thank you for dropping by! Yes we are all so busy in our particular endeavors that we can sometimes miss out serving folks who have found us at our amazing web site. This just seems like the best alternative to having people fall through the cracks! 

Allysoun As I mentioned to Jeannette, it's great to have established trusting relationships with people like Jason. The fact of the matter is that we do not work in some of the same geographical areas as his company so it benefits us, him and the clients too!

Susan Thanks for your support and most of all THANKS for introducing me to ACTIVE RAIN ! 

Paula Referral business is one of the best benefits of being in the business for awhile and also remembering to follow up! I really like your attitude because it mirrors mine. I feel like we are in it together with our clients and it the best way to create REALISTIC expectations!

Tim There are bad folks in every field (some more than others) but the essential ingredient of trust is something that is built, not just handed over. Thanks for your input!

Lynne Thanks for dropping in, I hope you are doing well. And, thanks for the compliments. I always enjoyed doing business with you in a no nonsense, straight forward and often fun manner! 

Christine I agree that AR is one of the best ways to really earn about a person over time and developing a comfort level that leads to trust! 

Scott I am glad you are reading other folks blogs now! Jason was extremely generous to write about the experience and to refer other people to my blog! He is a nice of a guy as there are and completely professional too!

Larry & Sheila You nailed it, it really is about the "Golden Rule"

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, thanks for sharing your message.  It is truly sad that more people do not take this business seriously and treat it like business professionals do in other industries.  If they only knew that building relationships with clients is more valuable than all the money they could spend on marketing.

A university study showed that 87% of people that you work with care more about your relationship with them than they care about how much they spent on the purchase.

My goal is to always create a Raving Fan of my clients and develop long lasting relationships.  Image what our industry would look like if everyone worked this way?

Posted by Nicki Pousson (Home Smart. Associate Broker, CDPE, ABR) over 2 years ago

Russell,

As always you have hit the nail on the head. This business is all about trust. Your clients have to trust you to know the market, you have to trust them to be loyal. Ultimately we all have to trust each other to do the right thing. I love all the new people I have met through AR. It has been uplifting for me as well. Kudos on another great blog.

Betina

Posted by Betina Foreman-Serving Lake Travis, Lake Austin and the greater Austin area! ((512)771-6318 Prospect Real Estate Solutions, LLC) over 2 years ago

Mattie It was fun writing this and Jason and I did hit it off! The bonus was that this was featured! I hope you read hi original post that led to this one!  Thanks!

Caren Thanks for commenting. It is a wonderful way of getting something back when had done a good job! SOI is my favorite form of business!

Lee Staying in touch is so important and I learned this the hard way early on. I had switched companies a number of year s ago without letting some of my clients know right away and it happened. A couple of them thought I had left the business!!! Never did that again!

 Cynthia I appreciate the compliment and want you to know that I am a fan of your blog too! Thanks again for commenting!

 Gena I feel the same way about you and I am so glad we met. I would not hesitate sending any business to you in your part of the world because we do share the same ethics and professional standards!

  Nicki Thank you very much for adding to this discussion! I had no idea the statistic you quoted was that high. It says so much about the level of commitment that we need to have with those who do put their trust in us! I completely agree that a good relationship will bring us more business that all of the advertising and SEO in the world!

Hi Betina I always appreciate you comments and insight and completely agree with you that we have found and invaluable place to meet other like minded people. With thousands of agents everywhere, AR is such a good place to learn more BEFORE we ever engage in a transaction! Have a great weekend!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell As you already know, many of us in our company specialize in our own sphere of influence or a particular geographic area so it is an excellent idea to develop contacts with whom we can refer business. The trust issue is the most important aspect in all relationships. Good post!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

You never cease to amaze me Russell..  With your personality and wit, who wouldn't want you as a friend and as you so eloquently put it---- referral---. Love this post!!

PS.  I know that I can "Trust" you!

Karen David-Mohr

Posted by Karen David-Mohr (Prominent Title, LLC) over 2 years ago

Anne I feel like joining Active Rain has helped me me many others outside our specific sphere of business and over time I have developed good relationships with new people. Jason is an exceptional person who is professional and trustworthy and we can all feel comfortable send business that is not in our realm his way with the knowledge that it will be handled well!

Karen You know for sure that TRUST YOU! Thanks for the compliments and I have to say it has been an exceptional pleasure working with you for almost 18 years!!!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

The power of trust is s important in our business when considering our relationship with our clients as well as with those with whom we do business. Russell This is a great post and you are obviously a person who inspires trust in those around you!

Posted by Francie over 2 years ago

Russell, you are a stand-up guy.  I can think of precious few occasions where a local agent/broker actually referred business to a competitor in the same market.  As much as that says for your trust in Jason to handle the client dutifully, it says even more about the kind of professional you are.  You impress me more with each post.  What a priviledge to encounter such folks on this network.

Posted by Paul Slaybaugh, Scottsdale AZ Real Estate (Realty Executives) over 2 years ago

Russell:  Congratulations on the Featured Post.  It's a great one!  I love the way Active Rain does allow us to extend our very own services to trusted associates across the Country.  It's such a great network.  I even mentioned, in a newsletter I send out monthly, that if they (my SOI) were looking for someone to help a friend or family member out of state, to let me know.  I got a phone call the following week.  My dental hygenist had a son who needed to sell his house, but had no clue how to pick a Realtor.  I found a Realtor here on AR and made a match.  His Mom tells he is VERY happy with his Realtor.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker (Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell - You are fast becoming one of A|R's favorites :-)  You say as you are and you are as you say.  Not to mention you're one heck of a writer.  This is what I think about you!

Truthful
Reliable
Upstanding
Solid
Trustworthy

Gail MacMillan Titusville Fl Real Estate

Have a marvelous weekend

Posted by Gail MacMillan - CRS, e-PRO, GRI ~ Titusville FL Real Estate Brevard County (HomeSweetHomeFlorida.com) over 2 years ago

Russell,  Trust is what has enabled my husband and I to benefit from our client relationships - that's all there really is.  Everything else are acquired technical skills - even I was able to learn them,  Karen

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Prince William, Fairfax ,Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (RE/MAX Olympic Realty) over 2 years ago

 Francie Thanks so much for the compliment. I was visiting with a close friend last night and we both remarked how we had always tried to do the best we could and that one of the extra benefits of trust is that I never have to avoid anyone because uI am completely comfortable in my own skin.

Paul I appreciate your words because I feel the same way about you. This is such a great place to get a good idea and feeling about those with whom we associate. As far as the referral, I have always believed (along with a number of my partners and associates) that it is better to have some outside contact here in town (the greater Austin area is HUGE) when this situation does arise. Frankly, I cover a small part of Austin and I do it well. Agents that try to be all things to all people everywhere are doing themselves and the CLIENT a major disservice. Thanks again and I look forward to getting to know you better!

Chris Ann Thanks for commenting, I am a fan of your blog and can tell you that if I had someone moving to your area I would send them to you!

Gail It is so nice to hear from you! I think we have a mutual admiration club ourselves and I feel privileged to know you!. Thanks for the compliment too. I have slowly waded in to blogging and I am enjoying it more all the time! It's funny because now i am carrying my camera and the notes section on my Iphone is crowded with ideas for something to write about next! (I just need to find the time.)

Karen I believe you have it down perfectly because trust is waht it's all based on and all the Tech skills in the world don't build character. You and Art are also some of the folks I met here who I have enjoyed getting to know! Thanks again!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

I have not checked your blog lately but today see that you have written another wonderful post. The trust you have with Jason is remarkable and it's readily apparent that the two of you have connected on a personal level as well as professional. I understand some of the comments that allude to the rarity that brokers and agents in the same area rarely refer business but as you mentioned earlier, no individual or company can cover all the bases in any town, especially the size of Austin. I think it is admirable that you have chosen to narrow your areas of expertise in order to provide the best service possible to your clients.

Posted by Sheila over 2 years ago

Russell, I was reading Jason's blog about your referral and of course followed the link over to you. I agree with you. In this business trust is so important. I am still new to AR and am trying to find myself. I'm not nearly as good a writer as most of you. I assume that I'll improve. But I'm learning a lot and I, too, have started to build relationships with different people here. It has changed my entire attitude about blogging.

Posted by Connie Harvey Realtor Nashville TN Real Estate (Prudential Woodmont Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell - I am continually impressed by the people on AR & the friendships formed.  I am very confident if I have someone looking for property throughout TX, NY, CA, etc. I would put that person in good hands & not be concerned about the follow-up, etc.  The invention of AR was just a SPECTACULAR idea!  It gives me so much more confidence than just picking someone randomly on our companies website.  Here I have the information needed to make a more intelligent decision.  Congrats on your relationship w/Jason, it is obvious you two respect one another.  KM

Posted by Kristin Moran, San Antonio,TX~Real Estate 210-313-7397 (Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net) over 2 years ago

Sheila Good to hear from you! I hope you will consider joining us here at Active Rain! Thank for the compliment and you know if I have any business that needs help in your part of Austin, I would call you right away!

Connie Jason was very generous to write about us and we have become friends because of Active Rain. Do not worry about the "writing" I felt the same way and though I am certainly not an author, I have slowly found my voice here and try to improve as I go along and I have had an enormous amount of help, advice and encouragement from so many of the members in Active Rain. Keep coming back and just take you time and you will really enjoy numerous benefits!

Kristin I feel exactly the same way and cannot believe we have found such an incredible resource and it's FREE!!! Wow! The cool thing is that we CAN send business to each other in other communities and even here in Austin, Jason and I work in completely different markets so it's not as big of a leap to imagine us referring back and forth. I will say that it was Active Rain that allowed us and everyone else we meet to get to really know each other over time so much better than looking up somebody in a catalog and making phone calls! I have enjoyed reading your post's and comments and look forward to getting to know you better too! have a great week!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell Thanks for a great VALUABLE POST.  it is funny I found this post because just today I was thinking about referrals, and what impact  points and state placement would have in my decision to refer business.  AR gives us an excellent resources to be able to decide which agent would fit that referral. I would not necessarily pick my agent because of points or placement but would make that decision based on relationship, personalities and believe it or not  how they handle the blogging situation.It is amazing how blogging can bring out character and personality.  My top priority in selecting an agent is TRUST.  However that agent handles the responsibility of a lead I refer to them, falls back on me.  It is a reflection of me on how much I valued that customer. I VALUE my customers and clients..that's the value of my business.

 

 

 

 

Posted by June Lewis Realtor® Northwood Realty New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) over 2 years ago

June I know that you and I agree on so many things and Trust is most surely at the top of the list! Active Rain is the single best resource I have found for doing some real networking over time and learning more about the various styles and personalities with whom we would do business. I have enjoyed getting to know you here at Active Rain and would not hesitate sending any referrals from my part of the world to you if the opportunity ever happens! Thanks for dropping by!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russ Thanks, you are my Austin Texas contact also.  I added you as an associate,  I thought I had already added you , but somehow I didn't see your name so I added it again. 

We agree on MOST thing and I want you to take notice what  a gracious person I am that I didn't brag about our Steeler win over Cincinnati oooops  ...it just had to slip out...............I will just whisper about the Cowboys and drop the subject. ......just had to do it...now watch that come back and bite me

Posted by June Lewis Realtor® Northwood Realty New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) over 2 years ago

hey Russell, I just wanted to say "Congrats" on the feature. you are truly a good example in our real estate community and it show by the number of people who know and respect you all over Austin! Great work and keep it up!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Hey Russell,

If I ever hear of someone who wants to live near Barton Springs, I will immediately refer them to you!  :) 

Cordially,

Bruce

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

June It's no problem, as a matter of fact I am laughing and may decide to become a Steelers Fan myself after yesterday! *WHEW* I always say that everyone has at at least 1 "worst weekend of the year" and yesterday it was the Cowboys turn! I just hope this is not the start of something really bad! June I added you as an associate and if I ever have anyone headed your way, will be sure to refer them to you!

Allysoun I got lucky afain with this feature but really...I got lucky when I found Active Rain and through it people like Jason and all of the others I have met through reading and commenting on the blogs!

Bruce Great to hear from you! I promise if you ever obtain a license, I will refer business to you. Frankly you have more on the ball than some of the people I run into on a daily basis! Thanks for dropping by, I have missed your comments!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, you're very kind!

Posted by Connie Harvey Realtor Nashville TN Real Estate (Prudential Woodmont Realty) over 2 years ago

Thanks for dropping by, I have missed your comments!

Had to take a short break for a few days.  We flew to Chicago for my niece's wedding.  That reminds me: Have you ever had authentic Chicago deep dish pizza???  Man, is that good stuff.  I've never seen a two-inch thick pizza before!  Makes other pizzas look wimpy.  :)

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

Congratulations on the featured star, Russell! It IS all about trust and when you're established authenticity and credibility on ActiveRain, that's a good start to the trust.

Next year you'll have no excuse for missing Leaders in Luxury - though not confirmed yet, it's likely that it will be at the Four Seasons in Austin.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Posted by Sharon Simms St Pete FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (ALVA International, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Connie I am glad to have made your acquaintance and look forward to visiting more here in Active Rain!

Bruce I have been to Chicago and really pigged out on the deep dish stuff! Amazing and we do have a version her locally. The guy moved here from Chicago and it IS delicious but would probably be considered "LITE" by Chicago standards!

Sharon I agree and think that that is one of the very best aspects of Active Rain is building relationships!

You know, I really missed coming to the Leaders in Luxury conference and if it is here next year, I promise to treat you and Tami to one of my favorite local places for dinner. Actually, the restaurant at the Four Seasons is always in the top 5 in all the polls so we may have to try a couple of places! Sharon, I always admired you after taking your CLHMS class and it's pretty cool that we have learned more about each other here in Active Rain!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell....i agree with you 100%!!! I love the active rain family

Posted by Herrington Realty Co. over 2 years ago

It is great to hear stories like yours, especially for the people new to Active Rain, as it edifies the value of our network. Best of luck to you.

Posted by Michael Sahlman e-PRO - Miami Beach Florida Luxury Homes (www.HomesForVIPs.com - Keller Williams Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell - The percentage of your business from referrals is outstanding!  Referrals are definitely the life blood of our business and creating a relationship of trust should be a top priority for all of us.  I've so happy to be a part of Active Rain for just the reasons you stated when there is a need to send a referral to another agent.  I used to go to the RE/MAX web roster but could never get a feel for their personalities from the limited profiles they wrote.  Active Rain gives me the ability to really know someone through their posts and comments and I wouldn't hesitate for a second now to refer a client to one of our members.  Congrats on the feature and gold star too!!

Posted by Donna Bigda, REALTOR®, e-PRO Branford Connecticut Homes and Condos (RE/MAX Alliance) over 2 years ago

Russell,

What a great post!  We focus our marketing efforts ENTIRELY on our previous clients and, I can say with confidence, that we rival your numbers on referral business.  It's a great feeling knowing that your clients trust you enough to send their children and grand-children.

Right now we are working on a loan for a 3rd generation - we did a loan for their parents and grand-parents, too.  And, he's sending us his brothr-in-law!  And, if that doesn't say something, I don't know what does!

Thank you for your insightful words.

Maryellen

Posted by KMG Mortgage Group - Kevin & Maryellen, Idaho & Washington over 2 years ago

I think that you are so right. I know that clients who refer me the most, trust me the most. And, yes, those that refer me least, trust me the least. Trust may not be the fastest way to increase business, but when times get tough like now, trust is recession-proof (in fact, it is far more important).

Posted by Brandon Weber (The Brandon Weber Group - Giannini Realty) over 2 years ago

The Herrington's Thanks, I feel like Active rain is the best real estate networking site ever!

MichaelThanks for another comment. The remarkable thing about this is that we both trust each other and we are both in separate parts of the same market so it just makes sense that we should be able to help ALL of the clients we meet, even if they are not in our particular area of expertise so no one slips through the cracks!!

Donna I have been in the business for awhile so it helps that i have followed up with the folks I have assisted over the years! My numbers vary year to year but my SOI is always a steady source of business! Active Rain provides us all an opportunity to establish relationships with other agents with whom we would feel comfortable sending referrals!

 

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Kevin & Mary EllenThat is remarkable! i have had children and parents of my clients work wwith me on the purchase or sale of a home and it is gratifying to have that kind of trust! it is great that you are now moving into a 3rd generation of clients and it shows the level of professionalism and trust you have inspired!

 Brandon I never thought of it that way: "trust is recession-proof (in fact, it is far more important)." And it makes sense more than ever considering the current market downturn! Thanks for adding to this discussion!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Thanks, Russell. With all the turmoil in the industry, long-established relationships are often not enough.  Many Realtors I've worked with in the past no longer focus on real estate or have left the business altogether. Likewise, many lenders, brokers, and loan officers are not around anymore. For those of us who remain, there's a growing relationship gap. Hopefully Active Rain networking can help us all build new relationships with high-caliber professionals we can trust and rely on. That will not only help us, it will also help the public. It's a much better way to harness the power of the internet than the trial-and-error approach of blind searches that seems to be so popular.

Posted by James Wheeler Mortgage Professional (I G Lending) over 2 years ago

James You make some excellent points in reference to the turmoil within the ranks of our industry. Active Rain represents a completely new way to interact with agents in our own communities and across the country. And you are correct when you say that this site is an incredible opportunity to stay connected! Trial and error is hopefully a thing of the past!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell I wanted to let you know that I just received my first lease listing referral from my membership here at Active Rain. Thank you for encouraging me to sign up. I have not written a post for my blog yet and yet I am already benefitting form my membership!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) over 2 years ago

Scott That is really great news and Ihope you will will let everyone at the office know about the experience. We have so many people who are on board but that need to go ahead and jump in by blogging on their own! I am glad to hear about success these days and you are welcome!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell, I enjoyed reading your post this morning. You've said it all... Referrals and Trust are essential in this business. Have a pleasant day!

Posted by Eunice Waller, NO ONE Knows Real Estate Better (Prudential Simpson & Assoc.) over 2 years ago

Russell ... WOW .... no wonder it takes you so long to do a post if you only use those 2 fingers ... ha ha!!!!!!!!!!   It was fabulous to meet you today and I look forward to doing business with you in the future!    pippa

Posted by Pippa MAC, The Woodlands TX Real Estate Remax Real Estate Spring Texas Realtor (Remax Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) over 2 years ago

Eunice It's really simple when we remember! Thanks so much for dropping by!

PippaYou are cracking me up! I had the best time with you at the ReBar camp today and really enjoyed getting to know you. I subscribed to your blog and if I ever have anyone headed to the Woodlands I will make sure they go directly to you! Thanks again!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Good evening Russell,

Speaking of referrals, do you service the Lake Austin area?

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

I too have met some great people on Activerain and built a friendship with them to the point my family is slowly planning a cross country trip based on where my Activerain friends live so I can stop have lunch and meet these great people in person.

TRUST is a great thing to have, but it does have to be earned!

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home - www.IFoundYourNewHome.com

Posted by Todd Clark (Broker) (503)524-9494 (Beaverton, Oregon Real Estate Expert) (Knipe Realty) over 2 years ago

Bruce I do work the Lake Austin area specifically and actually Lake Austin divides the area that is my primary focus of business. Central and West Austin on the north side of Lake Austin and the Westlake/ Eanes, Southwest part of Austin on the south side. If you look at this geographically it is a very small part of the greater Austin area. I think it is the best way to do business because I don't try and run around being all things to all people. It is the main  rreason I refer business to Jason in the northern parts of Austin up to Round Rock and Georgetown! If you have anyone interested, please give them my name and I would be happy to follow up and be of assistance! Thanks!

Todd Active Rain is indeed a really great place to network (the best I have ever found). If you are ever through Austin, please lety me know ahead of time! I would love to have lunch with a fellow Active Rain member and we can get Jason Crouch to come along too! As a matter of fact it is his turn to buy so definitely give us BOTH a call! Thanks!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hi Russell - I'm just checking in to see what you're up to; you've been kinda quiet for a week or so.  Now I know you're just rocking on, doing your thing and I'm happy :-)

Gail MacMillan Titusville Fl Real Estate

Posted by Gail MacMillan - CRS, e-PRO, GRI ~ Titusville FL Real Estate Brevard County (HomeSweetHomeFlorida.com) over 2 years ago

Gail Thanks so much my friend. It's funny but I do the same thing and visit my favorite blogs to see what is new!I have fallen behind with work (or at least looking for some?!?!?!) and yesterday attended the ReBar Camp in Houston and learned that I needed to post more too! Okay, I finally put up something new this evening about the "Keep Austin Weird" slogan and business group. I also have several ideas about some of the volunteer groups I help on a regular basis! Thanks again for dropping by it's nice to hear from one of my favorite people here at Active Rain!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Hey Russell,

Did you get my voice message?  I need to talk with you tomorrow morning.  Thanks!

Posted by Not Yet Licensed over 2 years ago

Russell, I commented previously but wanted to add that this is such a good idea and we should set up some protocol for everyone in the office. It would be good to have sources within the very large Austin are to refer any business that is not currently covered by any of our associates!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) over 2 years ago

Anne Thanks for dropping by again. Active Rain has been instrumental in helping me meet and actually get to know on a deeper level some excellent agents around the country and even here in Austin. I hope we continue to research this opportunity because it benefits everyone involved!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Congrats AGAIN Russell!  You're rockin' and rollin' with these features, aren't you!  This one certainly covers a great topic that we do seem to 'feed on' here in the RAIN!  I too, love it here and have made some wonderful friendships.  Supporting one another and the education that you can glean from this site are but a couple of priceless benefits!

Glad you love it here and that AR energizes you as well!

Debe in Charlotte 

Posted by Debe Maxwell - Search Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte NC Neighborhoods (Helen Adams Realty) over 2 years ago

Russell, I did not see this earlier but it is an excellent article about the most important factor that exists between agents, buyers, sellers, family and everyone. I think it is admirable that you and Jason have established a trusting business relationship in the same city. You are also correct when you say that Austin is too big for any individual and it's not all that easy as a single agent to establish a relationship with another company. The two of you have come up with a winning formula!

Posted by Michelle over 2 years ago

Debe Thanks! I have to say that you summed it up perfectly "Supporting one another and the education that you can glean from this site are but a couple of priceless benefits!" And I can tell you that if I know of anyone moving to your area, I will send them to you!

MichelleIt has worked out well for both of us and as a consequence, any business that we do not specifically handle can be sent to Jason without worrying about competition.  I do agree that we have a great environment that fosters trust and it's the most important aspect in every relationship!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, I enjoyed this post and appreciate your efforts to make sure that good business is not lost or dropped. I applaud your efforts and success in finding a trustworthy source to refer business and hopefully it will be a two way street!

Posted by Ross over 2 years ago

Ross It really makes sense to be able to refer business to someone we trust that will do a good job and the bonus is we get a referral fee too!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Referrals are a must have in this business!

Posted by Renee Burrows - Las Vegas Real Estate (702-580-1783) www.ShackDiva.com (The Force Realty -Realtor>Estate>Probate>REO>Short Sale) over 2 years ago

Russell, it is just not that often that Realtors refer business in the same city and i hope that this success story will encourage others to cooperate. Active Rain is certainly a good tool to learn more about other Realtors and create business relationships based on trust and knowledge that cannot be found in a referral manual or by a short conversation by email or on the phone!

Posted by Randy over 2 years ago

Renee Thank you for dropping by and trust is the key to sending AND receiving referrals!

Randy It was Active Rain that made this connection possible. As I am here longer, I learn more about the people I meet and build relationships so it will be possible to refer more business and hopefully receive business referrals in return! 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Russell, this is a great post.  Like you, trust is one of the....if not the biggest factor in passing on referrals for me.  I also make every effort to match the buyers needs with the specialty of an agent. When you  receive a referral from a past client, friend, or family member...they are in fact passing their trust in you on to the person they are referring and the same is true when you need to share a referral with another agent.

Posted by HUD Homes Baltimore Baltimore County Foreclosures (Urban Living Realty) about 1 year ago

Russell, this is a great post.  Like you, trust is one of the....if not the biggest factor in passing on referrals for me.  I also make every effort to match the buyers needs with the specialty of an agent. When you  receive a referral from a past client, friend, or family member...they are in fact passing their trust in you on to the person they are referring and the same is true when you need to share a referral with another agent.

Posted by HUD Homes Baltimore Baltimore County Foreclosures (Urban Living Realty) about 1 year ago

Nishika Thanks so much for looking into my blog and finding this post. I have been amazed at the great group of folks I've found at Active Rain that I would readily send business to. Thanks for your comments and I am going to check your blog soon!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

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