It’s time for us to rethink the way that we place client referrals.
Are you on Facebook? Of course you are (probably). Which means you have likely been a witness to posts like these:
If you, as a REALTOR®, are placing referrals with REALTORS® in other cities or states, you should be giving serious thought to how you’re going about placing those referrals.
Facebook groups are a fantastic way to find other REALTORS® who work in markets outside of your own, especially if you don’t already have a personal contact or referral partner in a particular city. However, finding REALTORS® via this means is only the first step.
If you’re placing referrals by posting in a Facebook group(s) and going with the first person who responds or the one who gets the popularity vote (in other words, the one whose friends chime in the most and the loudest), I think you’re doing it wrong. (In my opinion, insisting on staying within your own company or brand is also likely “doing it wrong.”) However, if you’re starting your search on Facebook, gathering a few agents and taking some time to talk with them, making sure they are a good fit for your client and passing along the names of the best fit(s), kudos to you!
For my referrals, I have a few criteria to start with. The REALTORS® with whom I place referrals:
–> are full-time REALTORS®
–> are RPAC Major Investors
–> have their CRS designation
Full-time REALTOR® status means, first and foremost, that the REALTORS® with whom I place my referrals are focused 100% on their clients. They aren’t devoting their time in another field or profession, potentially distracted by other work or not available during normal business hours.
An RPAC Major Investor recognizes the importance of investing in and giving back to our industry, protecting and promoting private property rights and homeownership, and advocating for property owners on a daily basis.
REALTORS® who hold their CRS designation understand the importance of continually educating themselves and represent the top 3% of REALTORS® nationwide. They tend to close more and have higher client retention rates and higher ratios of repeat and referral clients. As a CRS since 2009, I place a high premium on my designation and high value on the education and relationships it has afforded me.
From there, I also want to talk to my referral partners before placing my clients with them, to be sure they work the right area and are a good fit for what my clients are looking for or, if I know about my clients and their preferences and personalities (or if they have voiced a preference for the type of person with whom they would like to work), I can make sure that, to the best of my abilities, I am ensuring the referral will be the right one.
Is it possible that I might place a referral that doesn’t meet all three criteria…? Sure. The full-time REALTOR® piece is pretty much non-negotiable. However, I have had fantastic experiences with newer REALTORS® who perhaps haven’t had enough time in the business to obtain their CRS designation yet or a REALTOR® who hasn’t “had the (personal) ask” for RPAC yet (which, as most of us know, is a huge piece of that decision) — that’s why we always talk first, to make sure the person is a good fit, because they may come highly recommended without checking all the boxes, and I want to know more. Again, that’s why I have a process.
Your referral criteria may not be my criteria, but I urge you to decide what is important to you as you place your client referrals. Explain your criteria to your clients; help them see why you refer to the agents you do and why those points are important to you. They will be more likely to work with the REALTORS® you refer and more likely to be happy with the recommendation.