Residential Magazine

Entwined Ambitions

Cultivate trust and loyalty with your referral partners

By Erin Addesso

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that flowed well, where it didn’t even feel like you were trying and everything fell into place? What if you could have conversations like this with Realtors, where it doesn’t even feel like you’re doing business? Instead, it feels like you’re catching up with an old friend and your interests simply align, so that you’re having fun while getting more work done than you do on a typical workday.

This can happen if you make these practices part of your daily or weekly routine. The best part is these are simple, straightforward practices that won’t take additional time out of your day to implement. Start using these techniques today to grow loyalty with your business partners.

When you’re getting to know a Realtor, they’re likely to share some of the not-so-great experiences they’ve had with other originators, or other people in the mortgage or housing industries.

Take a stand

Have a code of ethics that you’d never break no matter what and share it with your real estate partner in the beginning of the relationship. Seriously. Make it a point of conversation. Working your code of ethics into the conversation is actually a lot easier than you’d think.

For example, when you’re getting to know a Realtor, they’re likely to share some of the not-so-great experiences they’ve had with other originators, or other people in the mortgage or housing industries. That’s a great way to work your code of ethics into the conversation. Talk to them about where you stand on the issue and how you’d handle that particular situation.

It gives you the chance to volley back and forth a bit, opening the door to share with them that you actually have a code of ethics that you operate by — to which they’ll ask you to elaborate because they’re usually interested in hearing more. Once you share what your code of ethics is, make sure you ask them for theirs. This will give you the chance to see if the way you do business (and life) is aligned, or if they’ve even had a chance to think about what their code of ethics is.

If they don’t know, which happens sometimes, that’s OK. That gives you a point of connection for later and you can spin that conversation into how you came up with yours. Stories consistently create emotional bonds and it’s helpful for the other person to realize that you may not have always had a code of ethics — because you’re human, too.

This is a great way to set the tone of your relationship, develop an emotional bond and set expectations for the interactions that you are available for. You also can discuss the things that you simply won’t tolerate, all without having an awkward talk about boundaries.

Deliver the news

You’re busy, which is totally understandable. When it comes to building loyal relationships, however, busy doesn’t matter. Have you ever noticed that people make you feel special when they drop things to be there for you or when they make you feel like a priority by responding to you quickly? That’s because the swiftness of their communication showed you that you’re a priority to them. This is one of the most powerful ways to build loyal relationships.

Here’s what this does and does not mean. Develop a system for communicating quickly that becomes a normal part of your day. You do not have to stop everything you’re doing all day long to respond immediately. You want to always communicate quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop every moment a text comes in.

Responding quickly is especially important when you have bad news to share. Do not wait to deliver information, good or bad. Once you know something needs to be in their ears, you need to tell them.

If you do have bad news to share, show up with a solution. Being solution driven is one of the most important pieces to developing a loyal relationship. When you are able to provide your Realtor partners with solutions to the problems they’re facing, you become the person they depend on. That means you’ve just become the authority they trust and are most likely to do business with. So, whenever you’re facing bad news, remember, deliver solutions when you have to relay problems.

Stay consistent

Want to know the No. 1 way to separate yourself from 90% of the other people in the world? Do what you say you’re going to do, either on time or early. Being consistent is the best way to develop trust and loyalty.

There are many reasons things fall through the cracks and it’s understandable every once in a while. But you can’t be both the person your real estate partners rely on to take care of their clients and the person who always has an excuse for why they couldn’t deliver something on time, who couldn’t return a phone call, or who hasn’t shown up in a couple of months.

Those two things are mutually exclusive and it’ll show up in your loan closing numbers. If you want to be the person your Realtor partners call and refer to first (and will even wait for), then you have to be the person that they can depend upon and trust.

So, think about how you are showing up for them and supporting them. You should be doing what you say you’re going to do and do it on time. Also, think about how you can strengthen and value your relationship with regular communication. Remember, people are more loyal to the ones they see and interact with regularly because those are the people who are top of mind.

Build bonds

It’s important to remember to be who you are, and to be genuine and honest. You always want to show your Realtor partners who you are at your core. It’s also nonnegotiable that this is a relationship. When you think of your Realtor partners as business relationships, you ignore a massive part of who they are first and foremost — people.

You’ve likely been taught that business relationships and personal relationships are different. Not so much. If you want to have loyal Realtor partners, you have to invest in the relationship like you would a best friend or someone that you deeply care about. That’s because loyalty is an expression of emotionally bonded relationships — not a business deal.

Some of the best ways to invest in relationships with your real estate partners are to remember the things that matter to them personally, help them professionally and connect as people at least once per month. Here are some examples of what that could look like.

Keep a database that’s easy for you to access and navigate that has your Realtor partners’ personal information — and not simply their phone number and birthday. Birthday reminders are great, but take it a step further. What’s their spouse’s name and birthday? What about their kids or pets? Do you know what activities their kids are into or what personal hobbies they’re interested in? These details matter.

Think about the difference between sending a generic happy birthday text or sending your Realtor partner who loves model airplanes a vintage edition of the Wright Brothers’ original design with a happy birthday note. Which one makes a bigger impression? These are things that don’t require you to put in a lot of extra effort. They simply require you to think differently so you can build emotional bonds, which lead to greater loyalty.

Likewise, when you invest in your Realtor partners’ professional development, they have you to thank for closing deals. When you become someone who helps them grow and make more money, you’re the first person they think of to send business. That means more success for both of you.

Lastly, develop a system of connecting with your Realtor partners as people at least once per month. This can be a quick check-in call or text where you ask them about personal things, or working in a lunch or dinner where there’s no work talk. It doesn’t matter how small or grand the gesture. When you show your Realtor partners that you care about them, that makes all the difference in their loyalty to you.

• • •

Not everyone is a great match as a business partner. This is not a relationship that you want to force. The Realtor partners who are loyal and treat you well are worth pouring more time and effort into. This is better than having a massive amount of real estate partners who rarely produce and don’t have you at the top of their list. It’s important to learn when to let go of Realtor partners who just aren’t a great fit (even if they’re great people) so that you can preserve the great partnerships you have and pour more effort into them.


  • Erin Addesso

    Erin Addesso, CEO and founder of Triple Threat Success Coaching and Marketing, is a speaker, coach and consultant with the mortgage industry and their real estate partners. She helps companies develop powerful relationships and presence, resulting in more closings, referrals and profits while allowing more time to enjoy life.

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