a team of real estate agents

Do you have preferred partners? Do you have a great real estate team or are you interested in putting together a team? Do you have people to whom you continually refer business—people you already consider to be part of your team?

I’m talking about mortgage lenders, accountants, attorneys, title companies, insurance agents, and settlement (or escrow) companies among others.

Your preferred partners can make or break your business.

Specifically, if you refer someone and your preferred partner doesn’t perform, then it reflects poorly on you. On the upside, if the preferred partner is rock solid and does a stellar job, then you appear as a well-oiled machine and you can expect to increase your probability of future referrals.


How do you select preferred partners?

Here are 7 things to consider when selecting and working with preferred partners:

  • ‘A’ is for awesome. Select people you have worked with before and who have done an awesome job for you. Relationships are everything. If you have test-driven the vehicle yourself (read: used the services before), then you have a higher probability that this prospective partner is going to do a good job.
  • Have a heart-to-heart. Whether you have worked with the person you are considering or not, it is exceedingly important that you have a serious conversation with that individual before entering into a referral or preferred partner relationship. This means that you have to set forth (perhaps even in writing) your expectations. For example, discuss the level of communication you expect, the method of communication, whether you require same-day responses to your emails, etc. Consider problems and pitfalls you’ve had in the past and speak to those problems and pitfalls in your heart-to-heart.
  • Discuss values and goals. When meeting with potential referral partners, listen carefully. Identify your partner’s core values and assess his or her goals. Make sure that your partner’s goals and values align with yours. In this way, it will be a whole lot easier to arrive at the finish line together.
  • Start with a trial run. You don’t run a marathon without a lot of training first. If you are working with a new escrow company or mortgage lender, set forth a trial period of a month or even a quarter. In this way, you’ve tested the waters before jumping in.
  • Have weekly or monthly check-ins. Whether it is over coffee or over the telephone, make sure to touch base regularly regarding the status of any of the referrals you’ve provided. While you may not need to know all the dirt, this is a good way to keep the leads on track.
  • Develop a system. Make sure to have a regimented system for updating one another. Perhaps your referral partner can receive email alerts through your CRM or perhaps you can share a Google Doc. No matter the method, the key is to have a system for 24/7 communications.
  • Just say “no.” Honestly, you’ve got to cut bait if the going gets tough. Specifically, if you have someone who isn’t performing according to your expectations, then you need to cut them immediately. In the field of real estate, it’s survival of the fittest and you are only as strong as your weakest link.


When you have a rock-solid referral team, your lead flow increases and your closings increase as well. Not to mention, this alleviates headaches and gets you freed up to focus on future business. Was Superman anything without Lois Lane? Was Don Quijote anything without Sancho Panza? To be a superhero in real estate, you need a good team and these seven tips should put you in line to create the best team ever.