Kevin is the Founder of Marker Real Estate, an innovative firm with a transparent, inclusive, client-focused strategy.
Everyone wants to scale their business as fast as possible, but how do you do this? Start by asking yourself who wants to work with you as an agent. You probably think that the answer is buyers and sellers. While that is true, the other people who are eager to work with you are other service providers, including mortgage lenders, attorneys and CPAs.
So, where do you find these service providers, and how do you get started building a mutually beneficial partnership?
Partnering With Lenders
When I first moved to San Francisco, I had few connections. So, during my first month there, I walked into a Bank of America branch on Fell Street and asked if there was someone I could talk to about setting up a referral business.
I still remember my meeting. The lender’s name was Ken; I told him about a few buyers I was working with who needed a lender and started to share their information. The next day, he texted me and told me he had a client who wanted to list a two-story building in Haight-Ashbury and was looking for an agent.
The lesson here is clear: To accelerate your business growth, set up reciprocal relationships like the one I set up with a local lender. But lenders aren’t the only service providers with whom agents can partner to grow their business.
Partnering With Attorneys
Attorneys, like agents, are always on the hunt for new leads. They can’t make money without clients, so they also spend a lot of money on marketing. As a real estate agent, you are a great source of leads for any attorney. In some states, deals can’t close without an attorney. In other states, you can close a deal without an attorney, but complex deals still typically require some legal counsel. So, as an agent, you have something that most attorneys need: new clients. Attorneys also have potential clients to share with you.
So, how do you get started? Again, it’s not as difficult as you might think. If you don’t already know any attorneys, go on Google, Yelp or Facebook and start looking for attorneys who are advertising. If they are advertising, they need clients, so they will likely be happy to hear from you. Reach out by phone or email. Tell them you’re a local realtor who would like to set up a referral exchange.
Ideally, you already have a few clients who need an attorney immediately. If you do, do a referral. It will make a great first impression. If you don’t have any immediate clients, don’t let it stop you from pursuing the concept. Reach out and start referring clients when you can.
Another idea is to hold a workshop or webinar targeting attorneys that explains how they might benefit from partnering with a realtor. Send out an invite. If you have the software to track who is opening your emails, be certain to see who is engaging with the invite. Even if they ultimately don’t attend the workshop or webinar, you’ll know they are interested. Once you do hold the workshop, track who attends and asks questions. This is a great way to start building relationships.
Once you have one or more attorneys with whom to partner, start doing referrals. Keep your attorney roster at the top of your mind so whenever an opportunity comes up to make a referral, you’re ready to do it. Just make sure that the client always mentions your name. After all, it’s critical that you also remain on the attorney’s radar. If they’re honoring the reciprocal arrangement you’ve set up, they’ll soon start referring clients to you in turn.
Recruiting Other Service Providers To Your Team
Once you’ve built up relationships with local lenders and attorneys, you can take this strategy to the next step. With their permission, you can start to promote the fact that you’re able to offer clients access to listings or buyers and related legal and financing support.
The bottom line is that partnering with other service providers isn’t just a great way to generate leads without paying a cent, but also a great way to build a more competitive business — one with the potential to keep growing in today’s tough market.