7 tips for building a service provider network using Facebook

A plumber, an electrician and a painter walk in to a bar
  • If you are reaching out to your real estate agent network for plumbers, craftspeople and the like, you are missing a key opportunity to build your business.
  • You want to be the go-to person for all your friends anytime they need any sort of service provider.
  • Ask yourself and everyone you know: Who do you know that I should know?

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Stop asking your real estate agent friends for plumbers, electricians, landscapers, painters and so on.

I am on various local real estate agent Facebook groups, and I see this sort of post all the time:

“Hey real estate agent friends! Who can recommend a good plumber (roofer, electrician, etc.)?”

Stop it! You are missing a prime opportunity to build your business. Instead, try this:

1. Post on your Facebook, and ask for recommendations

Anytime you need some kind of service provider recommendation, this is a key opportunity to reach out to your sphere.

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Here’s what you post on Facebook:

“Hey folks, need your help! I am always looking for really good service providers — electricians, plumbers, craftspeople, deck, landscaping, etc. Who do you like?

They do not have to be cheap (in fact, that tends to be a bad idea). They need to be good and reliable. I am very particular. Anytime I give out a name, it is an extension of my reputation — so I screen folks carefully.

Today I am specifically looking for (xyz). What you got?

And what do you need? If I do not have a name, I’ll find one. Anyone I recommend to you is usually either a strong recommendation from a friend or client, or I have personally used him or her.”

I recommend that you post something on this topic once a month. Here is a slightly different version you can post monthly:

“Hey folks, it’s that time again where I am looking for your recommendations for various service providers. Plumbers, painters, roofers, craftspeople, landscape designers, stagers, carpenters — you name it. If you think they’re good, qualified and reliable, then I’m interested. Who do you know?

And what do you need? I usually have a name or two, and if I don’t, I’ll find one for you. Any name I give out has been vetted — either by my friends and clients, or I have used them personally myself. Consider me your go-to for anything related to keeping up with your home.”

2. Private message anyone who responds

And then anyone who responds with anything, private message him or her and type this:

What’s your cell?”

Then call him or her immediately, and ask him or her all about the person he or she just recommended. And then before you get off the phone, make sure you ask the power question:

“Hey, real quick before we get off the phone, I would not be doing my job if I did not ask this question: but are you anticipating any real estate needs this year, or do you know anyone who might need my services?”

3. Call the service provider

And then you get to call the recommended service provider with this:

“Hello. I wanted to introduce myself. We have a mutual friend (or client), and he or she was just raving about your services. My name is (fill in the blank), and I work with (fill in the blank) Realty. 

“Are you currently taking more clients? Great. Tell me a bit about your business. Let me ask you this real quick: most (electricians) know a lot of real estate agentsDo you have a go-to real estate agent when someone you know has a real estate need? 

“I’d like to build those relationships in my business where we help each other. What is the ideal client whom you are looking for? I’ll keep my eyes open. Let me get your email real quick so we can stay connected. I hope to send you some business soon.”

Of course, there are many variations on this conversation. I think you get the point.

This whole conversation is a huge opportunity for you. It is so simple and easy, and look at all the conversations and engagement it creates. Have you ever run out of people to call? This is such an easy solution to that problem.

So now you have an awesome list. Here are a few more tips to make this work at a high level:

4. Keep your amazing people available

If you find an amazing craftsperson, and then you give that name out to a bunch of real estate agents in your office, that craftsperson will no longer have availability. I learned this from experience.

Best craftsperson ever, gone. I have shared a lot of service provider names to other agents over the years and continue to do so, but I kept my best craftsperson names to myself.

5. Put it in your calendar as a repeating task to post your monthly who-do-you-know post

And remember, any single person who comments on the thread gets an immediate phone call from you to learn all about the person he or she is recommending. And then that recommended person gets a call from you. (You are in the business of talking to people about real estate, right?)

6. Post on Facebook at the right times

If you post your monthly post in the middle of the work day, you are limiting the visibility. Recommended Facebook post times are often referred to as 7-12-7, the times when most people are on Facebook — before work, lunch time and the wine hour. Choose your timing carefully.

7. Don’t share your entire list

Friends and clients will ask you if you can email over your list. Or you might be tempted to post your amazing list online. I do not recommend this for a number of reasons.

Namely, if people have your comprehensive list, then they stop calling you when they need something. You want to remain the go-to resource. Here’s what I say when I get that request:

“Hey, I get that request a lot. My list is always changing, and it is super long so I do not give out the full list. What do you need? What’s up?”

What other tips do you have for working service providers into your business? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Julie Nelson is the chief success officer at The Nelson Project, Keller Williams Realty in Austin, Texas. You can follow her on YouTube or Twitter

Email Julie Nelson.