Real estate agent referrals is a must to have lead source, for growing the Realtor business. It provides the highest qualified leads, with no upfront cost. It is one of the best kept secret tools of top performing agents across the country.
What is real estate agent-to-agent referral?
Agent-to-agent referral is a referral client lead from one licensed real estate agent to another real estate agent. Most of the agents are familiar with referrals from clients, or from big website portals or from other businesses. Unlike other types of referrals; agent referrals come from fellow real estate agents.
Why one real estate agent gives referral lead to another agent?
There are many reasons why individuals choose to practice as referral agents. Below list has some of them:
- Agent may be a seller’s listing agent and do not represent buyers. If a buyer comes to the listing agent; agent would refer the buyer to another partner agent.
- Agent may be too busy to handle all the clients, traveling, not available and need extra hands to service new clients. With recent surge in housing demand; many are looking to create their own personalized partner referral agents network.
- Client is relocating to another city. With Covid, work from home culture, clients are selling homes and buying in another city. An agent would help them sell the home and refer client to another agent in desired city.
- Agent is retiring and not actively serving the clients. However, with years of experience have many clients who would come to the agent for selling, buying homes. Sending agent would look for another receiving agent to send the client referral.
- There are some agents who purely work as referral agents. They actively or passively generate leads through their sphere of influence and pass them to another agent.
- Investor clients are another great source of referrals. Investor client would approach agent they trust seeking help to buy property in another state/city. Many Californians clients are approaching their agents seeking help to buy properties in other states like Texas, Arizona.
- Agent maybe just starting in Real Estate and testing the waters. Generates client leads and passes to another agent until he/she can practice full time.
Real estate referral fee. What is it? How much?
Real estate referral fee is defined as, fee paid by receiving agent broker to sending agent (referral agent) broker for awarding the referral.
In most cases referral fee starts at 25%, but it is negotiable. It can vary between 5% to 70%. Fee is paid after successful sale, closing of the house.
Some agents offer, advertise higher referral fees to attract the qualified referrals from other agents.
Make sure both referral and referred agents are signing a referral agreement before exchanging client contact information with the receiving agent.
Is it worth paying referral fee to another agent for the referral?
In this digital age where leads are coming in flood, not qualified from variety of sources; having high qualified lead from another agent is very valuable.
Stats show that the conversion rate of online leads is around 1%, whereas success chance of good referral from another agent is almost 100%. Imagine time savings trying to qualify 100s of online leads.
Think of business scaling. After successful closing of one good quality referral; happy satisfied client would refer their own friends, family to the receiving agent. It will lead to exponential business growth quickly.
Paying referral fee to other sender agent for sending qualified lead is definitely worth and agents should actively work to send and receive referrals. Use software tools, solutions to make it much easier to advertise agent referral fee offerings and attract referrals from other agents far away from your location.
How to avoid agent to agent referral issues?
Most of the issues arise from mis-communications. Have written, signed referral fee agreement ahead of time before passing client contact information.
Best way to avoid issues is to use automation tool kits and proven success formulas. It is a product built with focus on agent to agent referrals and ensures referrals are closed successfully.
Below are some of potential issues may arise during agent referral process.
Client requests for buyer rebate, Realtor credit. What happens to referral fee?
Like any contract between the two people; well documented contract fee agreement will alleviate this issue and help closing the referral successfully. Creating win-win situation for all: sending agent, receiving agent and the client.
Agree and use language in referral free agreement on what happens when client expects credit. Either referral is based on office gross commission or it is based on gross commission minus client credit.
Miscommunications and lost referrals
In one of industry surveys; broken communication was quoted as number 1 issue for agent to agent real estate referrals.
When 2 parties work together, there can be enough communication issues. When we make it 3: sender, receiver and client; chance of miscommunication is much higher.
General best practices include:
- Provide as much information as possible about client to receiving agent
- Prepare client what to expect with referral process
- If possible do a 3-way introduction of client to receiving agent
- Receiving agent should update sending agent regularly on progress.
- If communication is lost with client, work immediately to revive it and connect client to different referral agent if required.
Building Your Referral Agent Network
Now you have decided to earn income stream as real estate referral agent. There are two equally important steps to succeed as referral agent.
- Generating referral client leads to send to another partner real estate agent.
- Finding and networking with partner agents, those are available to assist new clients and willing to pay expected referral fee for exchanging the lead.
Once you have a referral client; start learning more about the client needs. More information you have, it helps to pass good context to partner agent so that partner agent can serve client best and ensure sale closes successfully.
Working with client, learning client needs before passing it as referrals also opens up possibility to do warm 3-way introduction of client by sending agent to receiving agent. This goes long way to increase probability of referral success.
After learning client needs; next step is finding a referral agent who can help the referral client. Look for perfect fit referral agent matching to referral client specialized needs like area of service, real estate specialization land, rental etc., speaks particular language.
Basically do as much perfect match as you can to client needs. This is not an easy task and will consume countless hours of online research, calling other partner agent, checking if they are available to assist, sign referral fee agreement and pay the fee.
Once you have an agent who is willing to work with you; connect and start building your network. Keep repeating this process until you can visually see in your network map that there is enough partner agents coverage across the nation.
Strategies For Attracting Agent Referrals Like A Magnet
Now you have worked hard to build partner agents referral network; it is not valuable without nurturing it to receive referrals.
Just like as real estate agent; how you put yourself in front of client to receive more listings; do similar by putting yourself in front of other agents to attract referrals.
There is an innovative brand new referral ads solution. It takes data from the agent profile setup like referral fees, tag lines and presents it as an attractive referral ad to other agents.
Above solution also markets agents as referral agents through search engine marketing techniques automatically. So when an agent searches like “Best referral agent in Miami, FL”, search results will show you at the top.
Offer No Upfront Cost Leads to Member Agents
These days it became popular for brokerages, MLS associations to offer no upfront cost qualified referral leads to member agents. Most of these type of referrals from big website portals; they charge big 30% 40% cut from the sale commission as referral fee after closing.
Instead of above; there is underutilized best solution agent-to-agent referrals. Several agents still following old school methods to develop and manage these agent referrals.
Streamline the agent to agent referral process using white labeled brokerage tool kit, that can be offered as as benefit to members.
Secret of Top Producing Real Estate Agent
Top producing real estate agents have many good things going for them. But, one thing stands out is exceptional service to their clients.
Top producing agents realized that referrals are the best way to grow business quickly. These agents nurture, encourage referrals and run big portion of new business using referrals.
Apart from referrals; smaller agents you see struggle to handle few clients while top producing agents have 2X to 5X more volume and handle without any stress.
Secret is streamlining processes and automating as many as possible. Doing business with old school methods, without proper systems in place works but will not help to become top producing agent in this uber mobile age.
Real estate referrals from other agents the not utilized well by many agents. Top performing agents have realized it and mastered the art of agent-to-agent referrals to grow Realtor business with referrals exchange.
Master agent-to-agent referrals with:
- Generate referral leads
- Build referral agent network
- Attract referrals from other agents across the country
- Avoid lost referrals, improve business with software tools
- Send referrals to multiple agents, get offers to get most out of the referral
- Work best to close sale successfully, update referral agent about sale along the way and pay referral fee as soon as sale is closed.
- Above all, provide exceptional service to the client. Happy client will provide many more referrals compounding the value of one good agent referral to boost the real estate business.