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Product Review: ReferralExchange Is an Easy Way to Earn Passive Income

April 03 2017

Referring clients and warm leads to other agents is a simple way to generate passive income. Today, we'll look at a solution that makes achieving this even easier by automating much of the process--from referral submission to paying you a referral fee upon closing.

Introducing ReferralExchange

referral exchangeReferralExchange is a referral platform that lets real estate agents monetize the leads they're not working, or those that don't fit their area, niche, or specialty. The platform covers 100 percent of U.S. zip codes and offers agents submitting referrals a base of 20,000 peers that have been screened and proven to offer quality service to receive those referrals.

The company was founded in 2005, then called AgentMachine, as a site for consumers looking for agents. That changed four years ago, when the company noticed agents logging on to find other agents to refer their clients to. Sensing opportunity and demand, AgentMachine updated their business model and added agent-to-agent referrals, rebranding as ReferralExchange two years ago.

Today, ReferralExchange differentiates itself from other referral solutions, including in-house brokerage programs, by matching referrals to multiple agents using a variety of criteria, rather than simply matching to a single agent who happens to be on call. The service also boasts a whopping 70 percent close rate for personal referrals. "Warmer referrals close higher than raw," says Lisa Fettner, VP of Marketing at ReferralExchange.

As to which agents benefit most from the platform, Fettner let us in on what the typical ReferralExchange user looks like:

  • Agents with many clients moving in or out of their area
  • Realtors that are well established, have many clients or a large book of leads, but not enough time to follow-up with all of their opportunities
  • Listing agents who don't want to work buyer leads (or vice versa)
  • Part-time Realtors or those close to retirement looking for passive income

So how exactly does the ReferralExchange platform work? Let's take a look.

Behind the scenes with ReferralExchange

There's a bubbling cauldron of algorithms, machine learning, and natural language processing beneath the calm surface of ReferralExchange. Fettner gave us a rare glimpse into the complex back end that their staff uses to match agents and clients. Truth be told, it was complicated and intimidating--and completely unlike the clean user interface that agents use to submit and track their referrals.

For example, submitting an outbound referral is as simple as clicking a "Create New Referral" button and filling out a questionnaire about your client and their needs:

pr refexch create outbound

The information requested is fairly detailed, and includes questions on everything from when you last spoke with the lead or client, their preferred property type and target price to "service" information, like whether you'd prefer the other agent to call you first for more information about your client and if you have a brokerage preference for the agents receiving your referrals. All of this information is used by ReferralExchange to match your client with the two to four best possible agents.

Once you submit your referral, ReferralExchange contacts the client to qualify them. If the client is ready to transact, ReferralExchange matches them with three agents and lets them choose which one to work with. "We found that consumers are more likely to pick an agent when given three choices instead of just one," says Fettner.

Consumers are able to view the profile of each agent they're matched to, read the agent's personal proposal to them, and even send messages right from the ReferralExchange interface.

pr refexch outbound comparing detail crop

Agents can track the status of their outbound referrals through what ReferralExchange staff has nicknamed the "FedEx tracker." As you can see in the image below, the tracker monitors clients in four different stages of the outbound referral process:

  1. Comparing - Leads who are still comparing, but have not yet selected an agent to work with
  2. Clients - Leads who have selected an agent to work with
  3. Escrow - Clients who are in escrow
  4. Closed - Outbound referrals who have closed a transaction

pr refexch referrals comparing

The name of each client is a clickable link that leads you to their profile. The profile offers information like contact details, price range, referral fee, reason for moving, and a notes section that both sending and receiving agents can use.

pr refexch status update

ReferralExchange also offers a monitoring feature for referrals who are still being qualified and "rejected" referrals that aren't currently interested in being referred to another agent.

Other Tools and Features

ReferralExchange offers several other features to support their users, including a mobile app that agents can use to monitor and work their referrals in the field.

As we mentioned briefly, the platform also sports a built-in messaging feature. Agents can message each other, as well as their clients and prospects, from an email-like interface.

pr refexch inbox

Lastly, the platform offers a full resource section to help agents be successful in sending and closing referral leads. This section provides everything from scripts to email samples to moving checklists you can share with your clients. Agents can also access recorded webinars and presentations to learn how to use ReferralExchange more effectively.

pr refexch tools resources

Support Opportunities

ReferralExchange offers their users support via phone, text, email, an online FAQ, and weekly webinars.

What stood out to us as a real differentiator--and one we haven't seen from other companies--is that each member of ReferralExchange's support staff is themselves a licensed real estate agent. This means that they're better able to understand and offer meaningful support to agents who call or email.

Next Steps

The next step for agents who would like to participate in ReferralExchange's network is to request an initial phone consultation. You can sign up for that here. RE Technology readers are also eligible for an exclusive discount of $100 off the one-time membership fee with promo code RETECHNOLOGY100.

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