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It’s common knowledge in luxury real estate that if you want to grow your business, you need to get referrals. And while referrals can come from clients, some of the best opportunities are those that come from fellow agents in your network.
“Just this past summer, we were able to leverage the Sotheby’s International Realty network to complete four transactions in three cities for one client,” says Stephanie Lamarre, Broker Associate with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, whose practice is based in Marin County.
“My colleague in Carmel was working with buyers from Marin County. She called me, and I got to work preparing and selling their home of 30 years for 14% over list price. This sale enabled my colleague to help them purchase their dream home. Meanwhile, the clients owned investment properties in Sacramento. We connected them with associates there who promptly sold them, much to the delight of the clients. These four transactions were made possible all because we had the right connections to make it happen.”
Lamarre’s story illustrates three of the key benefits of being part of a luxury referral network: business growth, name recognition, and genuine connections.
#1: You can bring more volume—and value—to your business
Inaky Strick, Broker Associate with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, says a referral network drives measurable results for luxury agents, and notes that it helps to tabulate the difference it makes.
“My experience with referral networking has been amazing,” he says. “Out of the 52 transactions I completed last year, I was able to track 25% of my business to referrals from the Sotheby’s International Realty network.”
#2: You align yourself with a recognized and respected brand
Agents and brokers can build instant credibility by affiliating themselves with the right luxury reputation. “I attribute most of my success to being part of such a well-known and respected brand,” says Strick. “Being a Sotheby’s International Realty agent has opened up many luxury networking opportunities for me, and helped me win big listings.”
#3: You gain a professional network—and genuine friendships
Lamarre points out that when you’re part of a referral network, they become so much more than just a referral network. “I feel lucky to have made amazing connections—not just for business, but true friendships around the globe,” she says.
But this network of collegial referrals and support doesn’t form spontaneously. Rather, it has to be cultivated and nurtured—and here are four ways to begin the process.
Find out where your feeder markets are located
Lamarre and Strick advise agents to reach out to peers in their main feeder markets. “Once you know where most of the people moving to your area are coming from, spend time in those markets networking with agents that can potentially refer business to you,” suggests Strick.
Build connections where your clients are buying
It’s important to know where clients are coming from—but don’t ignore vacation markets where they may want to purchase additional property.
“I also have close connections with agents in places where my clients are buying second homes, such as Tahoe, Carmel Valley, Santa Barbara, Jackson Hole, Aspen, and Montana,” says Lamarre. “Also, pay attention to the business news—are your clients moving to certain out-of-state locations? In the last several years, Austin, Nashville, and Seattle have been hot destinations for many of our sellers.”
Cultivate real relationships with your colleagues
Genuine relationships with peers are great, but agents have to actively create them. “Every time I travel, I make sure to stop by the local Sotheby’s International Realty office and network with the agents there,” says Strick.
Lamarre adds that knowing your colleagues personally isn’t just fun; it’s fundamental. “Think about it—would you send a client to a financial advisor you didn’t know? I wouldn’t be comfortable sending my clients to an agent I didn’t know. Working with my network, I know that my clients will receive great service and that the agent on the other side of the country will successfully close the deal.”
Take advantage of your luxury network’s events
One of the best ways to build these personal and professional bridges is through events hosted or sponsored by your shared brand. “My connections evolved organically through meeting great agents at networking events, especially smaller regional or specialized ones,” says Lamarre.
Luxury agents tend to focus on building relationships with their clients and supporting them through transactions—but it’s critical not to forget to support and build relationships with each other. It’s a powerful lever for new business opportunities, and while also ensuring better, smoother service for buyers and sellers.