Several of our agents are experts at making outbound referrals. We asked them why and how they make those referrals, and are sharing those answers with you. Alison Wisnom is an agent on the windward side of Oahu, and has a specialty in helping military families. That means many of her clients come and go on a regular basis, and need referrals to a Realtor near their new base.
1. Why do you send outbound referrals?
To make money..... And to build a network of agents to receive referrals from (also to make money).
2. How do you ask for them?
When my clients are moving off island, I ask if they'd like help locating an excellent agent at their next location. I offer to interview the agent for them, if I don't know one already. Who better to interview an agent than another agent?
If my SOI (Sphere of Influence) is moving around (not people in Hawaii), I make the same offer. We forget that we can earn a referral fee from anyone moving to or from anywhere. A friend just moved from Portland to D.C. and I collected a referral fee because I knew exactly the right match for that family.
3. Have you found the Hawaii Life Relocation department easy to work with?
Yes, for sure. I can choose a specific agent to refer to, if I prefer. If they're already in our network, it's simple. If they're not, we just fill out a referral form. If I want to talk to the agent to give them background or make a warm introduction, the relo dept. just adds those notes to the request. Karin follows up both directions, so it makes everyone's life easier if you put notes for all your referrals (incoming or outgoing) in Salesforce and she can just look it up.
4. Are the agents you are referring to closing the business?
Yes, if the situation is right. Of course, some people are going to decide not to buy, but agents in other markets also handle rentals. And if you don't think you're getting a good match, you can always change agents. Or, I don't know if it's within the LRE rules, but you could hedge your bets and refer 2 or 3 agents to the same client and let them duke it out.
5. What's your one best tip for sending outbound referrals?
Call a broker in charge of an office in our network and ask them for 2-3 names who would be a good fit for your client. When I referred my brother-in-law who lives in Maryland to an agent in Maryland, I asked the broker who would be a good fit for a first time home buyer with a lower budget, and who wouldn't mind explaining a lot of terms, and who wouldn't mind young kids coming along. The more preparation you do, the better the results. You earn a few thousand dollars for making some research phone calls and introductions. Not bad.
I also keep a spreadsheet of agents I know, have received referrals from, or have researched before in various locations, so I'm not reinventing the wheel every time. You can also make those agents part of your marketing plan.