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2007-09-05 08:00:00

Building Your Real Estate Team to Get More Referrals

One of the most powerful actions you can take to increase your business is to add people to your team. No, I don't mean by hiring and employing them; I am talking about building a team of like-minded business people who have values and standards similar to yours.

By seeking out others who have an interest in working with the same clients you do, you can leverage your relationships instead of having to cold call or hard sell focusing on the numbers. You'll find it is a much more enjoyable way to create and build business. Start this month to focus on adding good members to your team, do it regularly as the year progresses and you will reap the benefits of increased business.

To get started, make a list of potential team members in these three categories:

  1. The traditional team members
  2. Team members interested in the same demographic and psychographic clients
  3. Team members that would enhance and add value to your niches

The Traditional Team Members

Some valuable, real estate-related team members are probably already part of your team. You most likely have built some good working relationships with lenders, escrow and title people, lawyers, home inspectors, etc. Now, let's take it a step further and do some strategic thinking to enhance your results:

The process for homebuying has been impacted by the Internet and consumers often have a better understanding and sophistication about what to do. Many consumers get themselves prequalified before choosing a REALTOR. This results in the lenders' having the opportunity to refer clients to you. Is your lender regularly sending you referrals? If not, ask.

Who else in this category can you add to your team? One important consideration is to feel the people you add to your team have the same high standards that you have, so your clients will be taken care of in the manner that you expect. People you put on your team reflect back to you and if anything goes wrong, your clients will hold you responsible. So, take the time to choose quality. Most good team members are also looking to work in mutually beneficial relationships. Often, they offer tools you can use, such as marketing materials or software, to enhance your business, as well as being sources of referrals.

Expand into some categories that you haven't built relationships by consciously making a list of potential team members and then contact, interview and add people on a consistent basis. Set a goal of one new person every month this year: Make it a new habit to implement!

Team Members Interested in the Same Demographic and Psychographic Clients

This category is non-real estate related, but covers the people who are building their businesses and your perfect client is the same or similar to their perfect client. This could be measured in terms of income, interests, needs, etc. The type of team members you might want to add in this category include a travel agent, a CPA, a massage therapist, a hairdresser, etc. Many people find a tips or leads group or an organization such as Rotary is a great source of referral business.

This list can be an enormous one and holds the potential to be more lucrative than the real estate-related team members because these people probably do not have many real estate agents that they would refer clients to and they are not relying on the real estate agents to give them business. One of my friends reported getting more referrals one year from the person who washed the windows in his office building monthly than from any other source. Who do you know that also has contact with lots of people, who has standards you respect and who you'd enjoy working with?

A goal of two new people each month in this category would consistently build your team.

Team Members That Enhance and Add Value to Your Niches

The most successful agents have defined niches in which they are the Guru or expert. These niches are often a reflection of the agent's interests and/or strengths and offer an additional opportunity to look for team members. Adding value for the clients in these niches is a great way to increase your referrals from those clients, as well as garnering referrals from the team members. For instance, perhaps you love to ride your Harley and you are known within the Harley Club or group you ride with. They probably already send you referrals or do business with you. What if you partnered with the Harley Dealership and were able to offer discounts or freebies? Wouldn't that deepen the relationship and put them in a place of wanting to balance the reciprocity?

This can be just as easy if gardening, tennis or bass fishing is your passion. Think of ways to partner with others who would provide value and I think you'll find you will benefit, your clients who have similar interests will benefit and the new partners you make here will benefit.

The other approach within this category is including the people who serve your geographic farms in various ways: the pizza delivery places, dry cleaners and oil changing shops. All of these people want to build clientele and will most likely be happy to do joint marketing or promotions.

Add one to two people per month in this category to your team.

Once, you have made your lists, decide exactly what approach you want to use with each person.

  • Do you just want to build relationship and ask them if they'd be willing to keep their ears open to potential business for you, with you doing the same for them?
  • Do you want to actually undertake some joint marketing, where they send something out to their database recommending you and you send something to yours recommending them? That kind of action might entail a free introductory offer of services or products, such as a free pizza or initial financial consulting from your partners and a free market analysis from you. Sponsoring a buyer or investor seminar together or some other marketing vehicle. The benefit, obviously, is lowered costs for both of you and increased trust from the client because of the personal relationship.

The average person has 200-250 people in his or her sphere of influence. Most business people that have high contact with the public have even more. If you shift your focus to building your team in this area, instead of looking for the next client, you are focusing on people who may know and refer a client. Your sphere is then greatly expanded. By adding two new team members each week, your team will be expanded to over 100 by the end of the year! Isn't this a more profitable and fun way to prospect than cold calling? Click here for a list of 100 categories to build your team!

(Joeann Fossland, Certified e-PRO Trainer, GRI, PMN, is a Master Certified Coach and Founder of the Web Women Giving Circle. Joeann is the Creator of The Real Estate Game®, the most effective group coaching available. You can reach her by e-mail.)

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