If you’re a real estate agent with a good amount of time in the industry, you’ve probably heard the line, “My friend is a Realtor,” a time or two upon meeting a new prospect.

“The obligation that many buyers and sellers feel to hire their friends as agents have resulted in lost business for many qualified professionals,” staff writer Teke Wiggin wrote in an Inman.com article published May 23.

“But if you choose your words carefully, you may be able to persuade prospects to consider hiring you instead of a friend,” he wrote in “‘My Friend is a Realtor’: 7 Killer Comebacks.”

Wiggin offered these seven responses he gathered from a conversation among the Lab Coat Agents Facebook group. Here’s what the group suggested:

1. Offer to pay a referral fee to the friend — This provides some prospects with a way to hire a stranger instead of a friend without feeling guilty, Wiggin wrote.  If you want to make the offer even stronger, remind the prospect that using a friend as an agent can pose a risk to the relationship.

2. Recommend the friend — Lab coat agent member Heidi Powell suggested recommending the friend, as long you know the friend is a capable agent. Phrases like “I’m sure she will be happy to hear from you! Please tell her I said, ‘Hello!” and then calling the agent herself to chat is a strategy that works for Powell. “Pays dividends every time!” Powell said in the article.

3. But can your friend do this? — Showing a sense of humor right off the bat might lead a prospect to spend a little more time hearing you out.  Responding with “Fantastic! So do I!” followed quickly by “So, you are looking to buy? Sell?” is a tactic suggested by broker Ankeney-Binkley.

4. Are you sure you want to mix friendship with business? — According to Wiggin, many agents pointed out that using a friend as an agent can negatively affect the friendship if the experience doesn’t go as planned. Agents working with a friend may not be able to “stand back from the situation and look at it as a professional and not personally,” broker Lauren Stratton noted.

5. Want your friend to know all about your finances? — Agents can bring it to their prospect’s attention that their friend will be privy to their finances. Agent Renee Kidwell-Drumm suggested asking, “So, are you prepared to share a fair amount of personal and financial information with your friend that will definitely be exposed during the transaction?”

6. Great! Want a second opinion? — Acknowledge the prospect’s statement and ask if they would spend some time listening to your listing strategy, Realtor Veronica Saucedo suggested. Or, tell them to connect with their friend and then meet with you after, Realtor Suneet Agarwal said.

7. Ask about the friend’s credentials. — If an agent has a competitive resume, she might want to ask prospects about their friend’s credentials, according to Wiggin. Realtor Anne Meczywor said she asks a series of questions such as how long the friend has been in business and how much she knows about the market. Those questions allow her to highlight her own experience and knowledge.

What do you think about these strategies? Do you have other ways you have handled this situation? Let us know in the comments below.