The folks at Oakland-based Referral Exchange started the conversation by calling their product a “Match.com” for real estate agents. After a few minutes exploring its features, I corrected them. It’s more like “It’s Just Lunch” for real estate agents.

  • Unique referral model combines personal oversight with a powerful technology platform to facilitate high-quality lead generation.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Referral Exchange is an agent-to-agent and consumer-to-agent referral program.

Platform(s): Browser-based; agnostic
Ideal for: Any size team or individual agents looking to diversify their lead sources

Top selling points

  • Consumer leads are carefully screened
  • Company actively manages members, ensuring only active agents remain a part of the network
  • Complete relationship history tracking

Things to consider

While you can take a passive approach to your use of Referral Exchange, your success will ultimately be based on how quickly you react to leads that come your way. The program doesn’t have to be monitored full-time, but each lead should be taken seriously.

Full review

The folks at San Francisco-based Referral Exchange started the conversation by calling their product a “Match.com” for real estate agents.

After a few minutes exploring of its features, I corrected them. It’s more like “It’s Just Lunch” for real estate agents.

Referral Exchange doesn’t just provide a platform through which consumers can find agents or agents can refer business to other agents; the company has a team that researches, confirms, assigns and monitors each pairing.

Hook-ups, pardon the term, are deliberately assigned.

ReferralExchange_Profile

Users are provided with a suite of tools to build and manage their profile. It’s nicely designed and should offer no navigation or management complications.

Referral Exchange sends leads to agents whose profiles match what the referring agent believes the customer needs. Several agents may get the same lead, and you can choose specific franchises and reject others.

Hook-ups, pardon the term, are deliberately assigned.

I believe the advantage is in Referral Exchange’s phone follow-up process. The leads and the referring agent are contacted via phone to confirm their interest in being referred and whether the named agents are a preferable match based on their profiles.

ReferralExchange_Submissions

If everyone is in agreement, the buyer or seller can then choose from the recommendations that the system provided.

The company reported to me that it made close to 1.5 million phone calls last year. It follows up on everything from inactive raw leads to closing details. Every account action is monitored.

Referring agents are never out of the loop. Transactions they initiated are also recorded in their accounts. This is an important feature, as we’re all only as good as the people with whom we spend time.

Unrepresented buyers and sellers are found via Referral Exchange’s sister site, the also well-done Topagentsranked.com.

ReferralExchange_TopAgentsRanked

Leads through this site are individually examined and sent to the appropriately matched agents via an 84-element algorithm — the “secret sauce,” if you will. It includes practical items such as location and specialty, as well special skills like language fluency.

The company also uses components of game theory to place consumers with the best possible agent. Again, this is much more than a swipe-left, swipe-right selection process.

Legitimate leads are then able to choose among a select group of member agents that Referral Exchange feels are the top choices.

It performs Web searches on potential leads and ensures they aren’t also agents.

ReferralExchange_Outbound

Communication between parties is tracked and Referral Exchange addresses lead inactivity on behalf of users through email and phone follow-up. It’ll let you know when a lead is dead and why.

The program also involves asking agents why they haven’t called back their leads. The company is dedicated equally to its agents and consumers.

Referral Exchange told me that in 10 years of business, it has accumulated 16,500 active users. The current average agent tenure is a little more than four years.

Inactive agents are kicked out of the system and each account begins as probationary.

Every agent has an account manager, which demonstrates a significant operational commitment (i.e., money) on behalf of the company. However, that ensures their users are perpetuating the deal flow.

The company is dedicated equally to its agents and consumers.

This is a unique way to garner leads that doesn’t require heavy involvement with a CRM or worrying about click-through rates.

Referral Exchange isn’t for every agent, but for those agents using it, it’s proven to be a business maker.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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