RNM 2.0 – Here is how you build a Referral Network Marketing Program to sell more luxury real estate
Referral Network Marketing will become the top producing lead generation strategy for those selling the world’s best real estate developments and estates.
Sales teams, brokers and agents are entering a new era of real estate promotion. They are beginning to embrace the concept of working with one another to promote luxury real estate opportunities available in markets outside of their own.
“… referral marketing will play a major role in our sales plans for the upcoming year.” Daned Kirkham Corporate Sales Director, Timbers Resorts
Referral Network Marketing 2.0
Today, most referral transactions are one-directional and buyer driven. A buyer in Los Angeles must ask their agent about real estate opportunities in Sun Valley, Idaho to facilitate a connection.
However we are seeing movement towards a bidirectional model where, via personal networks, social media and blogs, driven agents in Los Angeles can proactively promote a development or estate in Sun Valley with peace of mind that they will indeed receive credit for the referral.
Peace of mind is the driving force behind RNM 2.0 and technology is what makes peace of mind possible.
What is Referral Network Marketing?
If you’re in the business of selling high end second home real estate in beautiful vacation destinations then you’re keenly aware that your buyers do not live down the street.
Buyers come from all over, typically from several primary and secondary feeder markets. If you are selling a development in Costa Rica then your primary markets are Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago and a few others. Then add another dozen or so secondary markets to the list like Vancouver, B.C., Minneapolis, Seattle, Boise and so on.
Referral Network Marketing is building referral relationships with partners (most likely real estate agents) in your target markets and providing them with the tools to introduce your real estate opportunity to their own private networks and sphere of influence.
Personal introductions to savvy, high net worth consumers by referral partners is absolute gold to a development sales team. But the tasks needed to actually promote the real estate must be exponentially easier for this movement to truly flourish. Technology can now simplify the process for both the seller and the referral partner.
Why is Referral Network Marketing Important?
A personal introduction from a friend, family member or in this case, a trusted real estate advisor is one of the best forms of lead generation there is.
You are not pushing a sales pitch on anyone. You are allowing referral partners to introduce you to their sphere of influence, a handoff with instant credibility.
More Qualified Leads
Personal handoffs are almost always more qualified. You’ll find there to be fewer shoppers and dreamers than what typical come from traditional advertising channels. Referred leads are more often approached directly, often times in their personal inboxes, with your opportunity.
Targeted and Affordable
Your outreach is more targeted and focused than traditional marketing. If your message is being delivered to the private databases of successful real estate agents in your feeder markets there is less wasted expense that can come from other more traditional advertising channels.
Solving Previous Challenges with Referral Network Marketing
Lead generation through referrals is obviously not a new concept, firms have been doing it for years. But how does it become a mainstream, go to method of selling the world’s finest real estate?
Overcome some of these issues that have kept proactive referral programs on the backburner:
- Lack of a Plan. A plan must be put in place and integrated into your daily marketing routine. Just like your daily exercise regimen, commit to it and it will work.
- Limited Technology. Tools to build, track and manage a professional referral program have not been available. Today, purpose-built technology is available to facilitate referral connections and to make the process of referring easier for partners.
- Poor Marketing Tools. A professional marketing piece that referral partners can use to easily introduce and promote your property is always overlooked. Do not expect a referral partner to craft their own emails with PDF attachments and Word docs describing your offering, this is not reality. It’s far too time consuming.
- No Transparency. Assurances to your referral partners that they will receive credit for the referral has always been a challenge. A potential buyer can always just visit your main public website and inquire from there. Technology makes this a problem of the past.
Of course Luxury Real Estate Networks are alive and well. They create opportunities for top real estate professionals around the globe to build relationships and network with one another. They put on lavish conferences where members can go skiing and engage in after hours cocktail parties together.
There is some inherent value to those networks, after all, it’s who you know not what you know! But referrals are still a sliver of what they could be. They are still one-directional and a manual process that only occurs when a buyer initiates an inquiry.
Referral Network Marketing 2.0 Defined
Thanks to technology, Referral Network Marketing (RNM) can now flourish. We are light years ahead of where we were just a few years ago. The process of referring is far easier, professional marketing deliverables are available and built-in transparency provides peace of mind for referral partners.
Here are two key elements needed for an effective RNM 2.0 campaign:
- Persistence. Continual promotion of your program and its benefits as well as continued assistance and support
- Technology. Purpose-built software and professional marketing deliverables creates simplicity and peace of mind for referral partners.
If either of these elements is missing you’re back to RNM 1.0 and spending extra time and money with traditional, expensive advertising.
Integrate RNM 2.0 into your day to day marketing business. Continuous outreach to recruit new brokers and agents is a job best suited for a member of the marketing team or a sales administration. Set this goal and stick to it: one new referral partner per day.
Recruit starting with a target agent profile. These are some characteristics of a strong referral partner in real estate:
- Doing well but not the best (top 1/3rd in production)
- Driven to be successful
- Strong marketing and social media presence for their own business
- Employ an assistant
Consider starting at the top and reaching out directly to the Broker. Many Brokers will be open to the discussion and can even help you find the agents that fit your target profile. It’s to their advantage as they typically take a piece of the referral fee you send to the referring agent.
Sticking with a goal of one new referral recruit per day would give your sales team about 20 new referral partners per month. If we assume each referral partner has 1,000 contacts that they agree to introduce to your property, that’s a potential of 20,000 targeted impressions in just one month.
Promote Property in Cabo San Lucas through networks in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Salt Lake City.
Remember, this is 20,000 targeted impressions, we’re not including traffic that can come from a partner agent promoting your property via social media channels, public website links or a well written blog post!
Meet Brenna Harrington, a successful real estate agent in Kaua’i, HI. She has recently generated eight new leads for Timbers Resorts’ property in Kaua’i by simply blogging about it.
Brenna wrote a nice post about the property and linked her own personal, trackable real estate presentation in the post. The post was picked up by a local publication and within about 3 days there were eight new qualified leads for the Timbers sales team, all credited to Brenna.
Next Brenna will send her personal presentation to her database of potential buyers in the Seattle area. She can send this presentation with peace of mind because 1) she is represented as the contact and 2) the presentation contains a smart form that instantly, automatically and simultaneously notifies both Brenna and the Timbers Kaua’i sales team of all inquiries.
“Network Marketing is a huge opportunity that benefits both Sellers and Agents working to sell luxury developments like Timbers Kaua’i, as well as other multi-million dollar estates. I have worked over the last 14 years to build a network of people – both clients and other Realtors – who are also well-connected. In today’s world, technology makes it so much easier to communicate and things on social media can go viral, resulting in massive exposure to a broad range of networks.” — Brenna Harrington, Real Estate Professional, HawaiiLife.com
Once new referral agents like Brenna are on board with the program, continued reinforcement is critical. Set up periodic email campaigns to your referral partners with updates on your property to keep them engaged.
Examples include construction progress, pricing changes, availability changes, any new referral incentives and most importantly, remind them of these benefits of the program:
- Referral fee – offer at least 2% of the closing price if you’re selling developer inventory, make it worth their while.
- Competitive advantage – real estate agents are in one of the most competitive industries on the planet. Now they have the ability to offer their clients added value that other agents are not.
- A distinguished reputation – representing the finest developments (and estates) in second home markets can elevate their reputation in their own community.
- Database communication. Staying in front of their database is one of the most important steps to growing and maintaining a real estate business. Promoting your property is a great way to do that.
Brenna’s referrals in Hawaii were made possible by the integration of smarter technology in the sales process. The Elite Referral Platform, is the solution that enables Brenna and others to easily promote developments like Timbers Kaua’i to their networks.
Until now, we have not seen purpose-built software that enables real estate developers to integrate RNM 2.0 programs into their marketing mix.
“Clearview Elite enables us to create seamless referral relationships between our on-site sales teams and agents in key feeder markets all over the world.”
First, a custom sales presentation is created for the RNM 2.0 campaign and the developer and/or sales team has control of the presentation’s content and messaging. Local and out-of-market referral partners can then promote the presentation as their own, with their own contact information and brand.
The onsite sales team uses The Elite Referral Platform to power the sales presentation, and invite, track and manage their entire referral network. Referral partners can use the platform for free to promote the presentation to their own database privately and receive real-time email alerts when their clients are reading the presentation.
“Clearview Elite enables us to create seamless referral relationships between our on-site sales teams and agents in key feeder markets all over the world. Our referral partners can include their brand, picture and contact information in our real estate presentations automatically. A huge time saver.” — Daned Kirkham, Corporate Sales Director, Timbers Resorts
There has never been a more proactive, targeted and affordable lead generation opportunity for developers than RNM 2.0. The power of enlisting networks of real estate professionals to promote and introduce special real estate opportunities to their own personal networks cannot be overstated.
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