A wise manager once told me the secret to increasing my business: start a referral network. It sounds simple, but so few brokers take the time to do it. When done properly, over half of your business could come from other brokers.

  • Creating a broker referral network can double your business.
  • Find like-minded agents who have a similar philosophy on customer service.
  • Face-to-face meetings go a long way in creating lasting relationships.

A wise manager once told me the secret to increasing my business: start a referral network. It sounds simple, but so few brokers take the time to do it. When done properly, over half of your business could come from other brokers.

My company is international and has a built-in referral network locally and internationally, but I took it a step further to find like-minded brokers within my network.

My clients are from all over the world, and providing seamless service for them — wherever they are — is a must. It is time-consuming, but isn’t that what we have to offer our clients: our time? Here’s how I did it.

1. Connect through listings

Do your clients invest where they live or outside their main residence? As cities get more and more cost prohibitive, people often rent in the city and purchase homes in the suburbs.

Maybe your town is the opposite with empty nesters selling their homes and moving into the city. I looked for agents selling homes in my client’s price range, read their profiles carefully, checked out their listings and started emailing for more information.

2. Let your personality do the talking

My clients hire me because of my diligence, honesty, quick response time, kindness and full-service attitude. I needed to find counterparts in other markets who will respond similarly.

You would be surprised how many agents emailed me back two weeks later (if they even emailed me back at all!). This made narrowing down my referral network easy.  I chose busy agents with can-do attitudes who are interested in growing their business as well.

3. Stop in for a visit

Meeting face to face works. Bring some donuts to your referral agents next sales meeting. Introduce yourself to their office. Attend a networking get-together with other offices.

In a digital world, there is nothing like face-to-face contact. You might make some new friends to boot. I love hearing about other markets and how they work with clients. Gaining market knowledge as well as meeting new people — win-win.

4. Keep in touch

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all easy tools to keep in touch from afar with brokers in other locations. I love seeing the leaves change in Maine earlier than mine do, the beach in the dead of winter from my Florida colleagues, the cafes in Rome from my colleague there, etc.

I get to see their new listings and what is new in their lives. Organizing a get-together at your company’s annual networking event, bowling with other offices and making quick phone calls to check in with other markets also helps.

Creating a referral group takes time and consistent contact but so does any relationship you build. Nurture these relationships, and you will create a strong network that benefits all parties in years to come as well as provides the best service you can for your clients.

Rebecca Cavallaro is an associate broker Sotheby’s International Realty. Follow her on Instagram or on Twitter

Email Rebecca Cavallaro.

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