By Liz Dominguez
Agents tend to zone in on only one kind of referral: leads that come in through past clients or friends and family. However, there's another segment of the referral business that many do not take advantage of: agent referrals. These can be very lucrative, providing agents with supplementary income without having to go out and find new clients. Here's how to build your agent-based referral system:
Visit broker opens. These are no longer frequently attended by agents and that's a mistake. Not only are they a great way to stay up-to-date on market trends and inventory, they are also the perfect place to network with fellow agents from all different brokerages. Pop in to various broker open houses, strike up a conversation and you might find out some valuable information. If a listing agent doesn't work with buyers and is looking to refer out their client for the buy-side transaction, this is your chance to talk about your strengths as a buyer agent in the local market and snag new business.
Host a party. Prospecting parties aren't just for clients. Throw an agent-focused gathering where you provide some free food and drinks and discuss business-building tips. You'll attract a crowd that can be beneficial to your business in the future. If you're just starting out, perhaps there are some rental leads that more experienced agents are looking to give out. You can also invite agents from nearby cities who don't practice in your own market area. These can be very powerful relationships in which reciprocal referrals become a steady form of profits.
Join the conversation on social. LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting with other industry professionals. Sign up, ensure your profile is as detailed as possible and start joining real estate groups and connecting with other agents. On Facebook you can also search out referral groups where the primary function is referring out relocating clients and setting up profitable relationships.
Attend real estate events. All those happy hours that brokerages have been hosting year-round? Start attending those! The same goes for any community and charity events real estate organizations are involved with. The biggest opportunity? If you're part of a brand, attend those giant yearly conferences. All of these events are full of referral profits just waiting to be cashed in. It just takes a little networking and a lot of follow-up.
Stay in touch. This is the most important step. Once you've established relationships with other agents, you need to follow up just as you would with clients. Set them up as contacts in your CRM and schedule touch points. Send out holiday emails, call to check-in and even send handwritten notes to make a powerful impression. When other agents refer out their business, they want to know that those clients will be taken care of, so showing your follow-up approach is a bit like an audition that you really want to perform in.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at email@example.com.