These strategies work, whether you are establishing, growing or maintaining your real estate agent referral network.

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This post was updated Dec. 11, 2023.

A large part of my personal brokerage practice comes from agent-to-agent referrals. The strategies I am sharing here work, whether you are establishing, growing or maintaining your referral network. 

Study migration patterns into and out of your area

When thinking about inbound and outbound referrals, I look at the migration patterns into and out of the geographic area that I work in. As a specific subset that might overlap, I look at my personal brokerage practice. I have people who I work with who own in the areas where I am licensed, but I also have people for whom I am their first call for anything real estate-related, and they may not be located in the areas I serve. 

Study existing personal and professional networks

I would explore my existing natural networks such as professional associations, brokerage networks and alliances, designations, and — for those who came to real estate from previous careers — explore whether there are other agents who worked at the same company in other markets. All of these can be good options, as well as any school affiliations you may have.

Once you’ve identified the key feeder markets to focus on, based on the migration patterns and your business, then seek to identify one to three agents to connect to. Look at their digital footprint to get an initial sense of their focus and seek to understand what their niche might be. Determine how that fits in with your strategy. 

When I look at these aspects, what I’m trying to figure out is how well they might fit with existing clients that I might refer or potential clients that I might refer based on my ideal client avatar.

I would craft an initial message to the agent or agents, expressing that you are looking to create new potential referral partnerships in their area. Ask if they are open and if they would be willing to have a quick 10 -15 minute initial conversation to determine if there might be some opportunities for referrals.

Maximizing the use of technology, and positioning yourself to your respective spheres as the go-to for all things real estate in your market and beyond, I would seek to create cross-marketing opportunities with my referral agents in other networks.  You might start by organizing a quarterly Zoom that you could each invite your respective clients to where they can learn, or hear, specific details about the market or notable trends.

This allows you to position yourself as the go-to connector for all things real estate-related within your sphere of influence.

Study networking opportunities at industry events

Conferences can be a great way to also build and grow your network. Be strategic about what you are attending and what your potential goal outcome is and if it’s within your budget.

When planning to attend, I would suggest allocating some of your budget, if possible, to having quick coffee connections with people while you are there in person, so that you can go deeper after your conversation if you want to explore opportunities. When I consider which event I may attend or speak at, I look at it through the lens of the potential relationships I can create or nurture in doing so. 

With these strategies, you can strategically grow your network so that you can work with inbound and outbound business opportunities that occur organically while creating business development plans to generate additional opportunities.

Nikki Beauchamp is an advisor with Engel & Völkers in New York City. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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