Nurturing and Creating REALTOR® Relationships
As you probably learned in Marketing 101, it costs less and takes less time to retain the customers you have than to go out and get new customers. The same holds true with your REALTOR® relationships. The more REALTOR® relationships you can retain as referral sources the more successful your business will be.
REALTORS® are humans and like all humans, they want to know that you value them. Keep in mind that other lenders are targeting them as well. The most important way you can show that you value them is by staying in touch, especially after they have given you a referral. Staying in touch doesn’t mean simply a “how ya doin’” phone call or email. You should schedule regular meetings with them where the sole purpose is to discuss how you can help support their business. I know it sounds counter-intuitive that you’d want the meeting to be about supporting their business when you really want them to support yours. There is a saying that givers get. So start by giving. The business will follow.
Lunch and Learns
A great way to stay in front of your referring REALTORS® is by hosting regular lunch and learns. To be successful, make sure you select a topic that is relevant to their business and that you practice your presentation before you arrive. REALTORS® refer to people they can trust. If you don’t come off in your presentation as a professional who understands the business and the challenges they face, then they aren’t likely to trust you or refer to you.
Here’s an easy recipe I use for organizing and presenting a lunch and learn.
- Choose and research a subject
- Create your guest list
- Choose a venue (your conference room or a meeting room at a restaurant)
- Create and send an invitation, evite, or Facebook event
- Follow up with phone calls for RSVPs
- Prepare your PowerPoint and handouts
- Order lunch and drinks
- Hold the event
- Follow up after to obtain feedback and ideas for the next one
My guess would be that you currently don’t have enough referring REALTORS® to reach your goals. Don’t worry – you’re not alone. I break REALTORS® I want to add into two categories: Prospective REALTORS® and Targeted REALTORS®.
Prospective REALTORS® are either listing agents you had a successful transaction with or agents that you have just met. Targeted ones are those that you haven’t done business with or met yet. You have either heard good things about them or were referred to them by someone else. You can also target REALTORS® by their production as well.
The first step in deciding which agents to go after is to identify your ideal agent. Look at your existing list. Which agents refer most often to you? What markets do they specialize in? How many years of experience do they have? Identifying your ideal REALTORS® will ensure that you only pursue those that you will enjoy working with.
Listing Agents – by the far the easiest to convert since they’ve already worked with you on the sale of a home. When you make your welcome call to them, tell them if you meet close or escrow date you’ll be asking them to commit to meeting you for coffee or lunch.
REALTORS® who are personally referred – also easier to book meetings with since you have credibility as a result of the referral. I always ask the person who referred me to email an introduction explaining why they are recommending me.
REALTORS® at open houses – this can be a great way to add Prospective REALTORS®. It’s easier than cold calling. Just be respectful if there are potential buyers or sellers in the home.
REALTOR® office meetings – are a good way to meet multiple agents at the same time. Not all offices are closed.
There are many ways to approach new agents but coming up with your own unique recipe will make it easier and replicable. I recommend letting them talk about 90% of the time at your first meeting. Encourage them to share their goals and how they typically do business. Ask what is important to them in a lender. Knowing this information will allow you to formulate the unique value proposition that you bring to the relationship.