Be the Agent of Choice Anywhere & Everywhere with Outbound Referrals

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Donna Gilbert has been a successful real estate agent in the Fairfield, Connecticut area for more than two decades. However, she’s always split her time between her two professional loves: pure-bred dogs and real estate. While the pandemic forced her to turn more of her attention to real estate, she learned how to get purposeful about bringing these two unique career paths together in an authentic and profitable way. Donna services the show dog community by via providing them introductions to qualified agents anywhere in the country to serve their needs. And she’s concentrated on this portion of her business so strongly that it has become a true pillar of her business, earning her 16 closed transactions in less than a year.
As a member of the pure-bred dog showing, breeding, and judging community for 34 years, Donna made connections with people all over the United States. She was friendly with this group, traveled with them, and cared about them. And as a leader in the show dog community, people already knew, liked, and trusted her. If, like Donna, you belong to a unique community where an opportunity exists to earn business through outbound referrals – read on to see how she successfully serves this group.
1. She’s there for the community.
First and foremost, she loves the dog show community. She’s at the event to either show or judge pure-bred dogs. However, because of their interactions with her in the dog show world, people also expect her to be helpful and trustworthy. Based on her leadership positions in this realm, they are also used to taking direction from her. Because the knowledge she has about real estate is a part of who she is, it naturally translates to honest real estate advice when the people in this community need it.
2. She’s connected to the community outside of the dog show and on social media.
Because of their longstanding connection to one another, Donna is naturally interested in the lives of community members. Simply put, they’re friends. They talk about life outside of the dog show, whether it’s about their children, aging parents or anything in between. And because they are connected on social media, they are exposed to Donna’s expertise on real estate through seeing her posts.
3. At the dog shows, she brings dog-appropriate swag.
She may be attending a dog show, but she’s still letting people know about her real estate business. In fact, she equates real estate related work she does at dog shows to door knocking a neighborhood and targeting a demographic farm. What sets her work apart, however, is how she naturally combines the two professional worlds. Donna’s branding is around the dogs, whether she gives away dog bowls, key chains, or even poop bags. She also leaves postcards about real estate with a picture of her with her Corgi that says “I can help anywhere.”
4. Beyond the dog show, she focuses on general real estate knowledge.
All of Donna’s dog show contacts are on a touch program where she sends them something special several times a year. And on social media, Donna’s friend group mainly consists of her friends from the dog world and her friends from the real estate world. So, she connects the two. Whether it’s sharing a post from a real estate associate outside of her local area or sharing a more general approach to real estate overall, she ensures that her circle sees that her real estate knowledge spans far beyond Connecticut.
Donna recognizes that the outbound referrals she receives from the dog show community require special attention. After all, these are people who come to her for real estate advice from all over the country because they trust that she can help them. Therefore, it’s essential she does her due diligence to pair them up with a professional referral partner. She ensures the client is in the right hands by taking the following steps:
1. She looks for those who are actively involved in the groups she belongs to.
Donna watches who shows up, who shares, and consistently participates in the real estate groups she is a member of. She considers this the first step in an audition for referrals.
2. She interviews potential referral agents.
Once Donna has narrowed the selection of referral partners down in a particular area, she calls them to see if they would be a good match for her needs. For instance, do their standards align with hers, is their temperament a fit for the client, and are they accepting of her ongoing involvement in the deal? Donna considers the referral an extension of her own business and herself as a part of a team working together for the referral. Therefore, it’s important that the referral agent is a good fit.
3. She reserves the right to replace the referral agent.
Both the referral agent and the client know how important the fit is for the business to be successful. Therefore, if it’s not a good match, everyone knows that she may remove the client from the situation and have someone else come in and serve.
To take a page from Donna’s book and make outbound referrals a pillar of your own business, think about a community you may be part of that isn’t currently part of your database. Will others see you as genuinely involved and interested in this group? If you are an authentic member, the groundwork may be in place to serve them in a wider role. What communities have potential in your life?
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