3 Ways to Make Your Referring Relationships a Two-Way Street
It is a reality of today’s home buying environment that the majority of potential borrowers will begin their journey by first engaging with a real estate agent.
Chicken before the egg?
And yet, this is the way most financed real estate transactions begin, whether or not the borrower has any idea what type or how much of a loan they would qualify for.
Owning the client relationship in this manner gives the agent all the leverage in the world when it comes to finding a great 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 an 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 best practice that will be of business value to your partners (and very likely also yourself) that you can teach them to implement.
For example, there are lots of people that lack exposure to advertising platforms like Facebook Ads that allow them to reach targeted local demographic groups to push awareness of their brand or services.
Invest the time to understand this skill on a deep level so that you’re speaking from a place of expertise, and 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 can be of particular use with listing agents who are often holding 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, they market, they network, they generate exposure, they build their brand, and they generally do a lot of the same activities that a loan officer will do in an effort 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 economical 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 in to events your hosting.
There are a number of ways you can contribute positively to the bottom line of your partners without toeing the line with regulation. Leverage your creativity to give partners added value in your relationship with them.
Word spreads! You just 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.