Building a Referral Business Through Innovative Means

ReferralExchange agents take an out-of-the-box approach to generating referrals

Referrals have long been a key for success in the real estate business, but simply waiting for friends and family members to tell you they know someone moving out of the area isn’t enough to cut it for real estate professionals looking to keep pace with an increasing agent landscape.

That’s why many savvy agents have turned to ReferralExchange, taking advantage of the service to easily boost the number of referrals sent out each month.

The Power of Instagram
Nicole Mickle has been a licensed REALTOR® for six years in Orlando, Fla., but involved in the business for 21 years, serving as a mortgage broker, real estate transaction coordinator and loan officer.

In her opinion, referrals are an important piece of an agent’s success because they build creditability and create multiple streams of income.

“You may have a local presence, but being part of a network like ReferralExchange instantly grows your business on a national level and creates opportunities that you most likely wouldn’t have been presented with. It also creates relationships with an existing client base that may need you to refer a family member or friend outside your coverage area,” says Mickle. “You then become the ultimate resource to your clients and their network.”

Mickle is a big believer in using social media to not only increase her referrals, but to communicate with others who have similar interests.

“I quickly noticed that Instagram had become my most vital platform in growing my business,” says Mickle, who created a presence that companies like ReferralExchange were able to find. “As a result, they thought I would be a good match to join their network. Since then, I’ve created a platform of connections with other real estate agents in different markets all over the U.S. who refer buyer and seller referrals to me thanks to Instagram. I’m also able to refer other direct connections into the platform and match them with agents who I think they would love to work with.”

Regularly posting on Instagram about the Orlando area, Mickle also takes the time to share tips and provide a glimpse into the city’s daily lifestyle. Not only has this allowed her to better connect with other agents, but it’s also led to her receiving her most recent listing—and new buyer.

“Agents and clients may follow you for months without saying a word, and then boom, you get a new client,” says Mickle. “Most view these leads as difficult because they come from an online source, but I interpret this as more of a referral client. People who follow you on social are vetting you to make sure you will take care of their client in the manner they would. These are their relationships they’re putting on the line, so it’s very important to present yourself as a business person.”

Choosing Direct Marketing
Elizabeth Russo, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based REALTOR® with Windermere Diablo Realty, has a policy that might seem unheard of to many agents: She refuses to work with friends and family.

“Referrals aren’t incredibly important to me,” says Russo. “To me, it’s all about marketing and learning how marketing really works. You’re going to spend your dollars one way or another, so you’re either going to do it getting referrals and wining/dining people, or you can do a really good job and use direct marketing.”

What Russo does is market herself to her network as having nationwide coverage, utilizing ReferralExchange to help find the best agent for their specific needs.

“I built a really strong website and I advertise all over the U.S.,” says Russo. “I get a lot of people who really like my product or those who appreciate the advice I’ve given them. I then enter that person into the ReferralExchange system and send them two real estate professionals I think they will really like. And I still get paid.”

Russo also utilized ReferralExchange when she got sick and needed to find agents for her clients. Taking advantage of the service in this way helps keep her sphere happy while providing a higher closing rate.

Taking Advantage of Online Lead-Gen Marketing
Terry Yonker, a broker with Buckeye Realty in Winter Park, Fla., says real estate professionals spend so much time, money and effort on lead generation that referrals are extremely important, and maintaining your sphere is necessary.

“My niche is that I love to list. I don’t work well with buyers, so one of the things we do is refer out the buyer calls to people who love to do that part, even if it’s at other brokerages,” says Yonker. “When people call on our listings, we have three of the top buyer’s agents in the area that we will call, and we take a 25 percent referral.”

Quarterly, Yonker puts any leads collected into the ReferralExchange system to see if anything can shake out there.

While Yonker’s career in the real estate industry began a dozen years ago, he moved his office from Southwest Florida to the Orlando area about two years ago. Heading overseas before the transition, Yonker was able to take care of new referrals thanks to ReferralExchange.

“I remember being in Provence and Thailand and taking Skype calls as the referrals kept coming in even though I wasn’t there,” says Yonker. “Online lead generators allow you to focus your marketing dollars and get results and better ratios because you’re not doing blanket, old-school geo-farming.”

For those who contact him from outside his zone for real estate advice? Yonker turns to ReferralExchange.

For more information, please visit www.referralexchange.com.

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