Do you already have a group of real estate referral partners?
If not, isn’t it time to create one? Since referrals are the best kind of leads you can get, I think so.
What are real estate referral partners?
They are people who regularly send referrals to you – and to whom you return the favor. Returning the favor is important, because it makes for a happy, reciprocal relationship. When you’re both giving as well as taking, you are equal partners.
Not all referral partners are alike.
Some may only send you one or two leads in a year, while you’re sending them a dozen or more. It all has to do with the kinds of businesses your partners are in.
For instance, your favorite hairdresser, car mechanic, dog groomer, or restaurant owner may talk to only a few people who are thinking of buying or selling real estate, while you might talk to dozens who need their services.
And really, considering the difference in income per client, it’s fair that you might send more people their way than they send yours.
At the same time, you may only meet a few people per year who need an estate planner or divorce attorney, while they might meet several who could use your help.
The number of leads going each way is not as important as the commitment to refer when the opportunity arises.
If you want to develop real estate referral partners, reach out.
Begin with the professional people you’re interacting with right now. That may be an attorney who is assisting your clients with a divorce or a probate proceeding. It could be a financial planner or CPA who recommended a purchase or sale. How about a home stager, a landscaper, or a photographer?
If you were happy with their work and they were happy with yours, set up a meeting to discussing becoming referral partners.
If you specialize in a niche, such as divorce or probate, reach out to attorneys who share that specialty. I do offer Divorce Attorney Prospecting Letters, and my Probate Prospecting Letters include copy for postcards to probate attorneys. If your specialty involves other professionals, such as estate planners, write to them.
Next, reach out to businesses unrelated to real estate.
As I mentioned, people like hair dressers, mechanics, dog groomers, landscaping professionals, and restaurant owners talk with a good number of people. Some of those people will mention a desire to buy or sell real estate. Your goal is to make sure that those people hand out your card at those times.
Who else might be chatting informally with customers and learn about such plans?
- A golf or tennis pro
- A dog walker
- Your veterinarian
- The person who cleans pools
- Your favorite computer repair person
- The owner of a boutique where you shop
- A virtual assistant
- A portrait photographer
If you think about it, you can probably add to this list.
Remember to include your past clients. Some of them may have business and would love to receive referrals from you.
Choose carefully when creating real estate referral partners.
Choose people and businesses that YOU trust – or that come highly recommended to you. When you make a referral to them, you want to know that the people you refer will be happy about it later.
Reach out in two ways…
- Talk to people in the course of doing business with them. Bring up the fact that you could help each other.
- Write them letters, pointing out the benefits. And no, I don’t have any such letters available at the moment, but I do plan to write them.
Depending upon their business, you could offer to give your clients coupons to invite them in to your partners’ places of business.
Back when I was an agent, a local restaurant sold me gift certificates at a substantial discount. I gave those as closing gifts to buyers who were new to the community.
Do keep track of which partners actually send business your way.
I’ve talked with agents who routinely send clients to certain attorneys or CPA’s who don’t return the favor. When they’ve worked with those people all went well, but…
In my opinion, if the relationship is all one-side over a long period of time, it’s time to choose a different partner.
That’s one reason why its a good idea to discuss reciprocity with the people you refer to. Tell them that you like sending clients their way, but you would appreciate it if they did the same for you. The truth is, some people just don’t think – and that might be the reason why they haven’t already done so.
In addition, some people – even past clients – have the mistaken idea that you have enough clients – and don’t have time for more. (Some agents bring that on themselves by crying “busy, too busy, too busy” all the time.)
Do always remember to say thank you!
When someone hands your card to a friend or customer, they might not hear whether that person contacted you or chose you. So be sure to tell them, and be sure to say thank you. Depending upon the referral and the circumstances, you might even want to send them a small gift.
We all get a good feeling from helping someone else – but we do want to be appreciated.
Appreciate your real estate referral partners.