3 Ways to Make Your Referral Relationships a Two-Way Street
The reality of today’s home buying environment is that most potential borrowers begin their journeys by engaging with a real estate agent. Even though the borrower may not know what type of loan they qualify for, this is the way most financed real estate transactions begin. Referring relationships are instrumental in creating business for LOs, and there are a few ways you can help these relationships work in your favor.
Chicken before the egg?
The agents are able to own the client relationship, giving them the tons of leverage when it comes to finding a LO partner from a saturated field of potentials.
Of course, referring real estate agents absolutely want to work with an LO who communicates well, treats their client well, and closes loans on time.
But is the transaction truly the end of the partnership? The significance of a referring agent to a LOs pipeline (and bottom line) is HUGE, whereas the opposite isn’t necessarily true.
If you’re a real estate agent, and an LO you regularly refer business to does little else but accept your business and offer the much-less-frequent reciprocal referral, you may begin to feel like there are greener pastures out there.
Here are three ways to tackle the big picture, and create a two-way partnership that works for everyone.
1. Make their business better
“I have to manage the relationships and go deeper and go more profoundly with the referral partners to show them that I care about them. I need to educate them, educate their teams, I need to help them with tactics to improve their business. It’s not just about buying them coffee and taking them to a play, that’s all the fluffy stuff. But what am I doing to help them grow their business?”
This quote from our interview with Legacy Mutual’s Jennifer Hernandez speaks for itself. In a competitive market, you must go deeper with your referral partners in order to provide value back to them that is enriching to their business.
Become an expert in a skill or practice that adds value to your partners (as well as yourself). This way, you can teach them to implement it in their businesses.
For example, many people lack exposure to advertising platforms like Facebook Ads. This specific platform allows people to target local demographic groups and provide awareness of their brand or service.
Invest time in understanding this skill on a deeper level so that you can speak from expertise. Furthermore, you can seamlessly teach your partners how to use it to better their own business.
2. Make their wallets heavier
Offering a “kickback” or monetary incentive for partners to refer you business is in violation of RESPA.
However, co-marketing with partners presents an opportunity to not only create more exposure for your services but to also lighten the expenses that your partners are experiencing in their marketing efforts. Offering to split the cost of co-created collateral and other expenditures has a positive effect on their ROI.
This strategy is particularly useful for listing agents who often hold open houses that you can co-host or sponsor. This gives you opportunities to meet and greet potential borrowers and their agents, while still accomplishing the goal of reducing the burden on your referring partner.
3. Fill their pipeline
For real estate agents, clients don’t exactly just fall into their laps. They hustle, market, network, generate exposure, and build their brand. Generally, they do many of the same activities that a loan officer does when attempting to generate new business.
But you can’t receive new referral leads from them if their pipeline runs dry. In that sense, you have a vested economic interest in your referral partner’s success.
Social media has become a necessary way to connect to more people and expand your network. Leverage the work you’ve done there to build your following to tout your partners and their successes. Help them increase their exposure. Offer to bring them into events your hosting.
There are multiple ways you can contribute positively to the bottom line of your partners without conforming to regulation. Leverage your creativity to give partners added value in your relationship with them.
Word spreads! You might find your partner network can grow organically through positive mentions to other professionals who long for the same two-way relationships in their business.