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How Realtors Can Build a Referral Network

February 11 2015

webbox referral borderYou would be hard-pressed to find a real estate professional who would disagree with the statement that referrals are their strongest leads. They come with some built-in credibility and trust, making the conversion process easier. Real estate professionals are constantly asking for referrals from their customers and clients. Many of us have a "we appreciate your referrals" message in our email signatures and marketing pieces.

Our customers and clients aren't the only sources for great referral leads however. A real estate transaction is an involved process, and there are a lot of different people and businesses involved. Real estate professionals are in direct contact with them on a daily basis, and we deliver customers to some of them regularly.

Let's look first at our potential referral resources:

The Trades

Whether on the listing or the buying side of a transaction, we work with home inspectors, electricians, plumbers, remodeling contractors, landscapers, cleaning services and others. These professionals are often small independent contractors just like us. They market for customers in many of the same media and with many of the same methods that we use.

This can be a common bond and many of us have long term relationships with trustworthy tradespeople. We call them to help us to serve our clients, and their services help to put money in our pockets. If we're delivering customers to them, they are appreciative, and we need to benefit from the good will in the relationship.

Professionals

Attorneys, title companies, mortgage brokers, accountants, home stagers and other real estate professionals fall into this group. Yes, you may consult with another real estate professional or even refer them business when there is a conflict or other reason to do so. Attorneys can specialize in real estate, or maybe they handle estates or probate as a part of their business. We often advise clients or customers to consult an attorney or accountant. We're not legally able to give that type of advice, and it's a service when we route them to the right resource for information or advice.

Others

We're the customers of others who appreciate our business. We advertise, so we work with marketing professionals, graphics designers, photographers and others on a regular basis. We may also work with freelancers, such as writers and web designers, for our marketing materials and listing services.

We deal with printing businesses for brochures, business cards and other printed materials used in our business. Don't just focus on the services you personally consume. If your broker calls in a company to resurface the parking lot, do you meet the boss? The same goes for brokerage facility services and maintenance of all types. You can build some very profitable relationships if you widen your thinking and reach out with regards to vendors in your life.

Now let's look at some ideas for cooperative marketing or referral partnerships:

Joint Advertising

You're spending money on ads at the same time as your plumber of choice and your favorite home inspector. All of you are negotiating ad space and frequency for the best bang for the buck. There are times when you wish you could afford a quarter page in a homes magazine or the newspaper, but you settle for an eighth page. Or maybe you're running ads every other month but would like to run them every month. Why not work with your business contacts?

They have the same challenges as you, and they have budget issues too. Instead of that eighth-page ad for your business, how about a quarter page in cooperation with one of your business partners?

  • "Get your home ready for summer, or spruce it up for sale." – An ad with your preferred air conditioning repair person, landscaper or patio constructor would work well for this.
  • "Do you know your home ownership tax breaks, or tax consequences of sale?" – Run this one with your accountant.
  • "Image is everything, and we use the best." – Do this one with your photographer, as they will want outside business, or maybe they do portrait photography as well as real estate. Have an awesome image, and pitch your listing success using the professional services of the photographer.
  • "Sell your home faster with the best local advertising." – Get a cut rate on your ad by cooperating with your newspaper or homes magazine with this type of ad. They get to make a pitch and you get a deal.
  • "Get the best home loan at xxxx, and we'll find the best home for you." – You and your favorite mortgage broker run this one.

You can do this with individual contacts, or you can even create a collage type of ad with multiple home services related businesses. You can do this on your website as well, and your contacts will appreciate the exposure and send you business. The possibilities are endless.

The Deal Resource

An approach tried by few real estate professionals has proven to be a great marketing and lead generation tool for those who have done it. Having your contacts provide a special offer or discount for your prospects/customers via a coupon has been very successful. One agent offered a PDF file of these offers and coupons from plumbers, electricians, landscapers, cleaning services, attorneys, home improvement stores, and others.

It's easy to create, as you can use MS Word to build bordered coupons, then save the file as a PDF to be delivered from your website. It's a win-win-win for everyone involved.

  • Your business contacts get marketing and new business.
  • Your prospects get deals they can use to save money.
  • You get qualified leads.

Referrals are the best leads you can get. Your business partner network is one of the very best tools for cooperative marketing for leads.

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