What does it mean to leverage valuable industry partnerships in order to jumpstart your business? RISMedia's latest webinar, sponsored by Homes.com, "Achieving Better Client Experiences—and Conversions—With Key Partnerships," examined the keys to building and nurturing successful business relationships, which can ultimately lead to profitable referrals, as well as an elevated experience for your clients.
The webinar, moderated by Terri Murphy, master coach at Workman Success Systems, featured panelists Lee Tessier, team leader of The Lee Tessier Team at Tessier Real Estate in Bel Air, Md.; Mark Ryan, broker of RE/MAX Victory and leader of the Mark Ryan Group in Dayton, Ohio; Tim Rabara, sales manager with Homes.com; and Jo Garner, a loan officer in Memphis, Tenn. and host of the Jo Garner Radio Show.
"It's all about relationships, being committed and really getting a plan of action and making things happen," said Ryan.
Panelists unanimously agreed: It takes work. Getting in touch with these vendors is the first step. For newer agents, that means getting out and making yourselves known at industry events.
"If you're brand-new, go to your local association events and start having conversations and seeing where you are the most comfortable. In the beginning, it's going to be like speed dating and then you build relationships from there," said Tessier.
Not all business relationships are productive, however. In order to build partnerships that work for your business, you need to find vendors you can count on to provide for your clients. This starts with an open and honest dialogue.
"Lay out your philosophy of what you are looking for. You want true partners. Tell them, 'If this works, I'm going to refer you strongly, but that may mean you have to give estimates for business you may not always get,'" said Ryan.
How can you ensure the relationship is mutually beneficial? It comes down to tracking what they are giving you.
For Tessier, that means tracking marketing dollars sold to vendors to offset the cost of mutually advantageous events, such as pie giveaways at Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Ryan works with his preferred vendors to offer clients a discount on their services. While these businesses chip in, Ryan is introducing them to new clients.
Whatever your vendors are offering, make sure both sides profit, and from a fair share, either from referral leads or securing the continuing business.
"Make sure you are both getting a good return," said Tessier. "And make sure it's a great customer experience."
Part of that means taking a second glance at your own side of the relationship and how much you are contributing. Are your preferred vendors getting as much out of the partnership as you are getting from them?
"Be the partner you want your partner to be. Be loyal to them and be there for them," said Ryan, who emphasized that mutual respect goes a long way.
And that's why Garner always starts with the following question: "'Who can I introduce you to, to help your business?' After that, they are in your corner and they want to help you."
How do you keep these valuable partnerships going? Simply checking in and showing your gratitude can have a powerful impact.
"So few people are getting handwritten anything. Say thank you—people want to be appreciated—and monitor how many ways you've been able to help them so you can continue to grow the relationship," said Murphy.
Learn more from the webinar in the recording below:
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