Building your Real Estate Business with Strategic Partnerships (Part I)
No man is an island, especially in the real estate profession. To give your real estate business the best chance to thrive, put some time and consideration into building your network with strategic partnerships. To do this effectively, you have to remember that this is a strategic plan. Building a strong network can lead to a boost in referrals and credibility. The mission is to find the right partner and ensure that you provide a two-way referral stream that works for both of you. If it’s done right, you will create multiple referral streams that are working for you while you are busy growing your business.
What Makes a Good Partner?
There are several key factors to consider when building your partnership network. Your strategic partners may be sole proprietors, corporations or LLCs, but they may NOT be competitors. When selecting an entity to collaborate with, carefully consider whether their business competes with your own. In order to create a mutually-beneficial alliance, each of you must be able to provide some value that the other party needs.
Your best partners will have the same target audience as you. If you are, for example, developing your niche as a luxury home agent, you will want to partner with high end service providers; the way you engage with customers of a shared demographic will be similar. Likewise, if your target client is a middle-income, budget-conscious buyer, align your business with partners that market themselves to that same target audience. (Hint: They may promote themselves as being “budget-friendly” or “affordable.”)
One more thing to look for when selecting strategic partners is reputation. Today, customers are heading to platforms like Google and Yelp to share their experiences and opinions online. If you don’t have personal experience with your potential partner, head to the internet and find out what their customers have to say.
Identifying Partner Industries
There are many non-competing industries that work alongside real estate agents. To collaborate with the right kinds of strategic partners, think about the types of services your clients need in the buying and selling process.
Financial Service Providers: Lenders & First- time Homebuyer Programs
More and more, home buyers are encouraged to begin their process with pre-approval from a lender. It makes perfect sense that you begin establishing your partnership network here. Mortgage loan originators and brokers are in a highly-competitive industry. They often use cold calls to search for leads which causes many people in this industry to be open to connecting with real estate agents. They know that a lead from a Realtor is a hot lead that’s ready to move forward. Now imagine, if you partner with lender who has a customer walk in for pre-approval and they discover that client is not yet working with an agent. If you have taken steps to cultivate this partnership, you may get a hot lead in return! This lead is not only ready to search, but pre-qualified to purchase a home of a specific dollar value.
The same goes for professionals who work for first-time homebuyer programs. This relationship works similarly to one with lenders. Many first-time homebuyers lack cash and knowledge about the costs associated with the homebuying process. Instead of spending a lot of time educating this type of client, politely refer them to a knowledgeable professional who can help. These programs are designed to educate them and help them get the necessary funding to purchase their first home. When they’ve completed the program, they can return to you as qualified buyers.
Interior Designers & Home Stagers
Interior designers need homes to decorate and clients to work for; real estate agents have access to both. You can refer your new buyers to a qualified interior designer to help them make their new house a home. Having a partnership with an interior designer may even help you sell a home with minor aesthetic or design issues. Your designer-partner may be willing to step in and give your potential buyer some ideas on how to arrange the space.
Having a home staging partner is a must! 83% of real estate agents say a staged home sells faster than an un-staged home. (Homelight) Many realtors provide minor staging services on their own, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need this partner in your network. Professional home stagers have access to more furniture pieces and a variety of styles. A for-sale-by-owner may contact a home stager after trying for months to sell their home. What a relief it could be for them to be referred to a knowledgeable Realtor who’s ready to lighten their load. By the way, check out our Top 5 Home Staging Trends for 2020.
Home Service Providers
A home service provider is an individual or company that specializes in a trade mainly utilized by residential property owners. Home service trades include:
- -HVAC technicians
- -Home Inspectors
It is probably obvious why you should partner with these types of professionals. Their businesses target property owners and they are likely to work with some who are ready to buy or sell. Some of them may not have as many ready buyers and sellers as other possible partners we’ve discussed, but you still need them on your team.
Whether you are a new agent looking for an energetic start or a seasoned agent hoping to find new ways to compete in your market, you will need to develop your niche. Within that niche, you want to stand out from the rest by marketing yourself as a local expert. When clients think of your area you want them to think of you. A sure way to accomplish that is by becoming a one-stop-shop for local resources.
Don’t count out local businesses that are not ideal strategic partners; pay them a visit and get to know their owners. It could pay off for you to find unique ways to use your online marketing to highlight their businesses. When they brag about their spotlight on your site to their customers and friends, you will get more traffic and, eventually, more leads.
Part two of this blog will take a deeper look into how you can find the right partners and strategically leverage them to help you grow your business. Stay tuned!