By Brian Copeland
Over the past few months, I’ve been catching wind of a LOT of referrals between YPNers. As Daddy Goose, I’m so proud! As Daddy Goose, additionally, I think it’s important we chat a little about how to handle those agent-to-agent referrals.
Three weeks ago, I sent out three referrals to three different REALTORS®. None of those agents followed through, forcing me to back step and save face with my clients. Now, I know none of you reading this would have done that, but just in case one of those slackers stumbles upon this, here’s my good, ol’ fashioned checklist of best practices.
1. When you’re contacted by an agent, respond in his or her contact medium. Simply put, if he/she emails you, email them back. If he or she calls, pick up the phone and call them back. Now, if he or she says on the voicemail, “You can just email me at…” then you’re good, but Daddy Goose calls communications faux pas for any other behavior.
2. Include the agent in all client communications until he or she asks you not to. Over-communication is better than no communication. Even if you send a simple email that says, “Hey, Joanne. Just wanted to let you know, it’s been three weeks, and your buyer is still receiving daily listings, but won’t be in for another two months. I wanted to touch bases to let you know. Thanks, again, for trusting me with your buyer,” that’s a perfect way of giving that agent peace of mind.
3. Get the referral agreement to the referring REALTOR®, ASAP. Last week, I heard a horror story of a YPN who “trusted” the REALTOR® to do the right thing when she sent the referral. She didn’t see her money and had no documentation to support anything. Will she ever refer to that agent again? Of course not, and this was a supposedly a good friend! We have contracts and written agreements for a reason. Use them quickly, clearly and wisely.
4. Make contact with the REALTOR®’s referral your top priority. If an agent calls/emails/messages you at 10 a.m., you need to have reached out to his referral within the hour. No matter if they answer or not, let the agent know you have been in touch. It will give him the assurance he called the right REALTOR®!
5. Communicate tough situations with the REALTOR®. If the buyer or seller is being ridiculous in negotiations or if you have any form of conflict, get the referring partner YOUR side of the story first. There’s nothing worse than getting a call from a disgruntled client who isn’t getting the service they expect from an agent. While they may never call their referring agent, you just never know. Always side on caution’s side!
6. Know your company’s referral check policies and timelines. My company is very slow on these checks, no matter how much I whine. I always let the other REALTOR® know that my company is typically five to seven days to cut the check, and she should have it within 10 to 15 days.
7. Intercept the check, if you can. Take the money time as an additional opportunity to thank the referral REALTOR®. Take a photo at closing time of the buyer/seller and you at the closing table. Send a nice, handwritten card with the check and photo, then consider asking the agent for her favorite charity. Make a contribution on her behalf to a charity in her local market out of your proceeds.
8. Recognize the agent in social media. Once the deal is closed, take a moment to tweet or write on his or her wall. Nothing feels and looks better than to have another REALTOR® compliment and thank you in a public platform…well, besides a massage…and a kiss from a baby…ok…nevermind…it just feels good.
9. If the agent has a supervising broker, reach out to them. You never know when the broker will be asked by another agent in her office for a good REALTOR® in your city. You want to be top of mind!
10. Finally, keep in touch with the referring REALTOR®. A simple, handwritten card every six months will help the REALTOR® remember your name. Let him or her know how the clients are doing if they are indeed still in your city.
Now, go forth, refer and receive with confidence. Love, Daddy Goose.