New Agent University: Use Caution When Referring Vendors to Clients

    The first steps in starting a new business are akin to trying to take a sip of water from an open fire hydrant. The number of tasks the new agent must undertake to assure success added to the learning curve can be somewhat overwhelming.

    At some point, someone will recommend that you compile a vendor list. This list includes tradespeople that you will refer to clients, such as:

    • Stager
    • Home inspector
    • Cleaner
    • Landscapers
    • Pest inspectors
    • Contractors
    • Painter
    • Plumber

    You get the idea, right?

    Most agents refer to these folks as “vendors,” but we’ve also seen them referred to as “affiliates.” We think the latter better reflects their relationship to you. After all, they are an extension of your brand and your real estate business.

    Their customer service, or lack of, will reflect on you

    One agent we spoke with told us a story about his early days in real estate. He put together a vendor list based on recommendations from another agent. His first listing was a lovely home that needed new flooring and the owner was amenable to having luxury vinyl plank installed before the listing went live.

    The flooring contractor he was referred to by his fellow agent claimed 30 years of experience in the flooring installation business so he felt confident in referring him to his client.

    Big mistake.

    The job was botched, from start to finish. Our agent’s client sent photos to the agent of floor planks with gaps between them, broken planks glued in place with caulking, ragged cuts and flooring glue spread throughout the home.

    The entire floor would need to be pulled up and, since it was glue-down vinyl, there was no guarantee the planks could be reused.

    It turns out that our veteran flooring contractor left the job in the not-so-capable hands of two trainees, without his supervision.

    Needless to say, our agent friend was horrified and his client took the botched job out on him.

    It’s crucial to carefully vet anyone that you will be referring to clients. Don’t rely on just one interview. Check the person’s references, read Yelp and BBB reviews, check with the state contractor’s board to vet those vendors whose craft requires a license.

    Finally, check each vendor’s social media pages. Yes, it sounds a bit like stalking, but it’s not. It is basic due diligence and required if your reputation and trustworthiness is on the line.

    Set a reminder to re-vet your vendor list every six months or so.

    Don’t stop there

    Call anyone to whom you refer a vendor to follow up. Ask how the job went and ask if they would hire that particular vendor in the future. Negative reports should be run by your vendor to get his or her side of the story.

    Never remain loyal to a vendor that does subpar work or provides less-than stellar customer service to your clients. If you feel even a smidge of discomfort with any of your vendors, rethink referring them.

    Your professional reputation is on the line so be scrupulous when vetting vendors for your referral list.

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    Please reach out to our support team at 866.405.3638 with questions or if there is anything we can do to help you with your success.

    PLUS: When you have time…here are some helpful resources we’ve made available to support your success.

    1. The Free 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

    The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

    2. The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan

    The Free Interactive Real Estate Business Plan allows you to enter your business goals for this year and get a breakdown of how many prospects, listings, closing, and so on are needed to reach your goals.  – Click Here

    3. Become a Neighborhood Brand

    Become branded in a specific neighborhood with a 12X15 marketing piece sent automatically each month to an exclusive carrier route. Watch this video to learn more or Click Here.

    4. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

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    The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted prospecting lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

    5. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

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    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

    6. The Free Online ROI Calculator

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    Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! –Click Here

    7. The Free Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

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    The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted prospect list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

    Lisa is an accomplished marketer with years of expertise in direct response marketing, digital marketing, data analytics and business development working with both B2C and B2B.