The Dos and Don’ts of Agent-to-Agent Referrals
Since your job depends largely on how many deals you can close, most agents aren’t so quick to refer their clients elsewhere. When you’re able to consistently and successfully pull in leads, you’re going to do your best to keep each client with you every step of the way. And, while you’re doing that, you’re going to continue jumping on listings whenever you have the opportunity, assuring that they’re your hands before other agents working in your area.
All that being said, there are situations in which a client is simply no longer a good fit for you. So, you consider referring them to another real estate agent that you know.
But, what is the protocol on this?
When should you refer a client, and when should you let the chips fall where they may?
What You Should Do for Agent-to-Agent Referrals
Always ask your fellow agent before referring a client to them:
While many agents would be happy that you’re referring a client to them, you should still ask for their permission to do so, first. Perhaps your fellow agent has their plate full, and they’re not really interested on taking on someone else at the moment
Think about why you are referring this client:
Before you refer your client to anyone, it’s important to ask yourself why you’re thinking of referring this client in the first place. Many times, an agent and a client are simply not a good fit for each other. There could be personality clashes, or expectations that the client has that are unrealistic for you to meet at the moment. If that’s the case, then make sure you’re aware of that and the agent you’re referring them to is aware of that as well.
Tell your client that you are referring them:
It’s not uncommon for agents to refer clients to other agents. But, instead of just telling your client, “Hey, I’m referring you to so-and-so,” you owe it to your client to tell them why. If you’re client has grown attached to you, then you don’t want to just “break-up” with them without an explanation. After all, you wouldn’t want them to do that to you. Doing it this way is professional and the right thing to do.
Sleep on the decision before you make it:
Even though you’re certain that you want to refer a particular client, you should sleep on it before making the decision. Maybe you’re having a stressful week and it seems that every little thing is irritating you. Taking some time to step away from the situation can help you recognize if you’re the one with unrealistic expectations.
What You Shouldn’t Do for Agent-to-Agent Referrals
Don’t refer a terrible client or a terrible agent:
Many times, saying that a client “is not a good fit” is a nice way of saying that the client is truly terrible. They’re asking to look at an unrealistic amount of homes in a short amount of time, or they are pushing their religious or racist beliefs on you when it comes to finding them the “perfect” home in the “perfect” neighborhood. Whatever the case may be, it wouldn’t reflect nicely on you if you referred this type of client to another agent.
Likewise, you shouldn’t refer a nice client that you simply don’t have the time for, to a terrible agent. There are plenty of agents out there that will take any client you give them, because they don’t care about putting time into their individual clients. Again, this would reflect poorly on you, because you were the one that gave the recommendation.
Don’t give up when the going gets tough:
Some clients are just plain difficult. They may be nice people, but they are making your job a bit of a living nightmare, for reasons that may not be their fault. Maybe they have a vision and finding the home of their dreams is a little bit harder. Or, maybe they suddenly lost their job, and they need to change their budget at the last minute.
But, don’t give up just yet. Just be patient, and remember why you got into this industry in the first place. Try to put yourself in your client’s shoes and understand their need for urgency or their pickiness. See if you can talk out your issues in a civil manner, and it might all work out fine.
Don’t burn bridges with the client:
Just because you’re thinking a referring a client to someone else, that doesn’t mean you should burn any bridges. That same client may have had tons of (nicer) friends they could have referred to you, or they might come back to you when they realize that other agents weren’t as patient with them as you were. Therefore, don’t say anything you’d regret saying to the client. Be professional, civilized, and tell them to keep your phone number if they ever need anything else.
Don’t forget to give credit where it’s due:
If you refer a client to another agent who happens to close on a deal with that client – perhaps, the same deal you were hoping to close on – don’t be bitter about it. Congratulate your fellow agent without saying things like, “If it weren’t for me…!” Give a pat on the back and they may be their turn to refer the perfect client to you in the future.
Have you ever referred a client to another agent, or had another agent refer a client to you? What happened? What would you have done differently? Let us know in the comments below!