No one refers more clients to other businesses than real estate agents, so top agents understand the importance of capitalizing on this power by developing real estate referral networks. Whether it be closely affiliated businesses like mortgage lenders, title companies, and home contractors, or other industries like civil engineers, lawyers, accountants, architects and other small business owners, agents with strong real estate referral networks know how to accumulate an army of professionals all working to refer them clients. Let’s examine the systems, methods and scripts agents use to build these powerful referral partnerships.
1. Developing a Real Estate Referral Network
Since clients frequently look to Realtors for suggestions on everything from child daycare to a good plumber, it’s essential to consistently and purposefully instruct business referral recipients to also send clients back in return. In fact, agents don’t need to refer business before initiating a referral relationship with another professional. Simply contacting business owners about the idea of developing a referral partnership in advance of referring any actual clients is the preferred method for generating business and growing a real estate referral network quickly. Let’s watch how top producing agent Robyn Graham has rapidly built a successful referral program at a very young age in the following video before examining some of the scripts & techniques other agents use to create real estate referral networks.
2. Scripts for Building a Real Estate Referral Network
If you are hesitant to ask business owners to refer clients to you, first understand that you must do so in a way that provides value to them by coming from contribution. For example, although you may cringe when yet another home inspector calls you to refer him business, if he were calling to refer you a listing your attitude towards the conversation might change dramatically. So when approaching these conversations embrace the mindset that you have future business to provide these prospective partners.
SCRIPT FOR INITIATING A REFERRAL PARTNERSHIP
“Hi __________ (business owner), I’m John Smith with ABC Realty and I’m in the process of creating a list of preferred business & service providers to give to my clients and include on my real estate website (see website list examples below). Since I frequently have clients ask me for a good _____________ (dentist, landscaper or other business), I’m looking for a trusted company to refer them to. I’ve heard good things about your company, would you and your business be interested in being included?” (If yes, continue . . .) “Great! I like to establish these professional referral partnerships to help grow each others’ businesses as well. So if I were to refer clients to you, would you be willing to refer your clients that are looking to buy or sell a home to me with the assurance that I will provide them with the high level of customer service that you expect?” (If yes, continue . . .) Excellent! How about we exchange each other’s contact information so that we can get started?”
SCRIPT FOR FOLLOWING UP AFTER REFERRING A CLIENT
“Hi __________ (business owner), I’m John Smith with ABC Realty and I just gave your contact information to some clients of mine that need _______________ (a new roof, electrical work, a house cleaner or etc.). Here is their contact information so that you can reach out to them as well. (after they thank you, continue with . . .) I’d also like to continue to refer clients your way in the future too. In fact, I am in the process of contacting various businesses that I can refer to my clients and include on a list of preferred business & service providers to give to them. I would also include this list on my real estate website (see website examples below). Would you be interested in being included?” (If yes, continue . . .) “Great! I looking to develop these professional referral partnerships to help grow each others’ businesses, so if I continue to refer clients to you, would you be willing to refer your clients & friends that are looking to buy or sell a home to me? (If yes, continue . . .) Excellent! So it looks like you already owe me one! (in a jokingly serious tone) I’m not kidding, you had better get on it so that I have to keep sending business your way in return! Does this sound like a good plan to you?
3. Enhancing A Real Estate Referral Network
There are a number of ways agents can add further value to their business referral partners in order to increase the number of client referrals they receive. Many agents will hold vendor appreciation events where all of their referral partners are invited to a party, happy hour, sporting event, luncheon or other types of social gatherings. Many agents will even have their closely affiliated vendors sponsor these events to cover the event costs. However, often times agents will receive enough referrals at the actual event itself to easily cover its expenses a few times over.
Agents with established real estate referral networks also use an agent website service provider list to promote their professional partnerships and provide more services to their clients. Top luxury agent Jillian Bos refers to her online vendor list as a Client Concierge, and top producer Dani Beyer’s referral partnership page features links to her vendors’ websites that offer each of her clients a 10% to 25% “Dani Beyer Discount.” Preferred vendors are also more likely to refer clients to agents who regularly promote their businesses on social media. A promotional Facebook post that includes a photo of their business or product with a link to their Facebook page can go a long way to remind referral partners that you are working for them and that they need to refer business to you.