How to Build Referral Relationships with Local Businesses

A great piece of career advice for aspiring real estate agents is to expand your network. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to become the "go-to" person for your clients, providing them with solutions to a whole host of problems. Your client wants someone to replace the tile in their new bathroom? They need a lawyer to settle a property dispute? You have just the person to help with that.

Building a circle of trusted resources stems organically from the tasks you perform regularly for clients. And the bigger your circle is, the more you'll receive reciprocal referrals from your network. Here's how to capitalize on the connections you make each time you buy or sell a home for your clients.

Nurture the Referral Relationships You Already Have

Chances are, you probably have a go-to mortgage broker you can trust. Once you find someone that takes good care of your clients, you'll stick with them long-term.

To nurture that referral relationship, there are several things you can do. One is to promote the broker on your website and social media feeds. Another is to ask the broker if they are willing to gift clients with a discount on services during a special promotion. 

The same principle holds true for all the relationships you have. You can develop a referral relationship with any local business by promoting that business. Purchase decorative plants for an open house from the same nursery you recommend to clients who want to boost their curb appeal. Ask local business owners to write blog posts or feature their quotes in posts you publish on your website.

Solidifying these connections makes it all the more likely that your circle will refer clients your way.

Expand Your Pool of Trusted Experts

Chances are, you live in the same community where you buy and sell real estate for clients. Thus, every contact you make potentially gives you the chance to build referral relationships. Here are some examples:

  • The parents you chat with while waiting to pick up your children after school may know (or be) great contractors, handymen, and landscapers.

  • Your doctor may know someone in the market for a new home.

  • A local restaurant might be willing to offer clients a coupon in exchange for an enthusiastic write up on your website. 

The more people you can bring into your circle, the more credibility you'll have as a local expert. You'll be able to provide both present and former clients with assistance each time they ask for help. And the more you engage your clients, the more likely they are to refer you to friends and neighbors.

Build It, and They Will Come

Casey McGraw, a sales agent with Compass Point Real Estate in Blue Hill, Maine, points out that some referrals come directly to your real estate business, looking to build relationships.

"We've had folks reach out to us and give presentations, asking us to work with them," McGraw says. "Obviously, that sort of engagement has slowed down with COVID-19, but it's definitely been a way for us to build referral relationships that we still rely on."  

Whether local businesses come to you seeking to build a relationship, or you reach out to them, word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to generate leads — as long as you follow through and nurture the connection.

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Michael Rhoda

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