Recently, we had a challenge to write a post about the processes of sending a referral. Referrals Matter and there are some surprises that surfaced about the importance of certain criteria.
- One common thread was that the referred client must be taken care of by finding the right person to serve them. Proper vetting of the client before the referral is sent is vital so as not to waste anyone's time. There were statements that the commission check was not the motivator. It could be the reputation of the referring agent and the fact that the client needs a good agent. Even some agents said if the price range was lower than the norm in the area, they didn't ask for a referral fee. It was more important to see the client handled properly.
- Overwhelmingly, the members said they start their search on ActiveRain. The fact that someone regularly posts blogs was a benefit as it reinforced that the person was still active and their personality and work ethic could be evaluated. Even with that blocked checked, it didn't always work out that was the right person.
- If nobody was aligned in a certain town or county through the roster, members would reach out to another member that might be in the general area to recommend a name or two of successful agents.
- Others relied on their networks, people they have met at conferences, associations or through the CRS directory or mastermind groups.
- The steps included a possible vetting of the agent takes place by searching for their websites, blogging or reviews and market niches. Even some agents check the licensing boards or REALTOR® Associations.
- Others said they used the company franchise network to send their referrals. Many said they have learned this doesn't always produce good results.
- Once an agent or two or three are found, the emails or calls go out. Time is of the essence in returning a call and after an hour delay, the confidence in this person starts declining. After a day with no return call, the name is struck off the list. Better still if the agent answers when the call is placed or calls back within 5 minutes or less, this leaves a positive impression. There was an amazement amongst members that even leaving messages that the contact was in regard to a referral coming to their area, agents still didn't return emails or calls.
- Conversations are evaluated including attitude, market knowledge and the agent confirming that they have the time to work the referral. The skill level of the agent has to match the needs of the client. No agent seemed to like their referrals passed down the line in the team ladder without full disclosure of this fact.
- It didn't seem to matter the years of experience an agent may have, the letters behind their name or the age or sex of the agent unless of course the client made a special request to work with a certain type of agent. Attitude, being nice and showing a willingness to serve did.
- Once the referral was placed, a great many of the referring agents stayed in touch with the client to be assured that the other agent did connect. The majority did not expect regular feedback from the agent but thought it was nice and professional if they did get it. Some members found it unsettling not knowoing when the transaction closed and just seeing the check showed up. Even with the success of the transaction, they said they would cross the agent off their future referral list as failing to do the courteous and professional thing of notification.
- Members said all referrals/clients are different and the referring agent must first understand the needs of that client. This sets the stage and increases the chances for a successful referral experience.
- The good news is that many referrals turn out well, so well that the referred client raves about how the referred agent took care of them and send thanks back to their referring agent.
- When the shoe is on the other foot and these members are on the receiving end, they take the referral seriously and treat them with great care.
This was a valuable exercise and there were so many great posts. Each entry had valid points and something to add to the discussion. These entries received 1500 points.
Originally, I planned to have a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entry. Because there were so many excellent posts, I chose 9 that really spoke to me and shared the bonus points across all 9. The 9 are listed below in no particular order with links to their posts. Each one will be awarded an additional 500 points. Thanks to all those that participated in the challenge.
Carol Williams- Why & How Referrals Matter, Wenatchee, WA
Dusty Rhoton- Referrals- The Finest Compliment
Fred Griffin- How I Chose the Real Estate Broker Who I Referred You To
Jeff Dowler- How I Use Referrral List and How To Get On It!
Joy Daniels- Referrals Need a Stamp of Approval
Sally and David Hanson- Referrals: Stop, Look & Listen
Susan Jacobson- Making Referrals Matter