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handshakeReferrals are an integral part of the equation when it comes to the success of real estate professionals. However, the traditional outbound real estate referral process is challenging and stressful.

Agents can never be 100-percent sure of the caliber of the agent to which they’re referring the client. Add to that the time-consuming nature of having to follow-up to ensure everything’s on track in order to be fully compensated when the deal closes, and you’re left with a cumbersome amount of work.

“Our research told us that agents had two big problems when it came to referrals says Lisa Fettner, vice president of marketing at ReferralExchange. “Agents are wary of sending personal clients out for referral if they cannot be confident of the outcome, and they do not have a way to monetize leads they either cannot or choose not to work.”

Thanks to ReferralExchange—real estate professionals now have a revenue-generating solution to both of those problems.

Building On a Foundation of Excellence
ReferralExchange is a sister company of AgentMachine, a company originally created as a consumer offering that focused on finding the exact right agents for clients’ needs. It soon became apparent that the infrastructure was in place to expand into an even wider space.

“While AgentMachine focuses on consumers, we quickly realized that agents need to find other agents for their clients all the time,” says Scott Olsen, CEO, “but the challenge is being able to find a great agent, as well as finding the time to manage and oversee the referral.”

In response, Olsen and his team created ReferralExchange—an agent-to-agent referral service. Agents simply place their outbound referrals in the ReferralExchange and a combination of people, technology and advanced data science take over to match those referrals with three qualified agents. Once the deal is closed, agents receive 25 percent of the referred-side commission. For a one-time $495 membership fee – which is almost always recouped as soon when your first referral closes — agents have access to unlimited referral submissions.  To date, ReferralExchange has processed over 30,000 referrals.

“We’ve spent 10 years building up our service, and today, we have a nationwide network of over 12,500 top-performing REALTORS® from both large and boutique real estate brokerages,” says Fettner.

The ReferralExchange platform can be broken down into three distinct pieces: the program’s selective network of agents, the technology that works behind the scenes and the hands-on servicing behind each and every referral that’s placed in the Exchange. “The combination of all these things together enables real estate professionals to place their personal referrals or extra lead into the Exchange with security and confidence.” says Olsen.

A High-Touch, High-Tech Process
“There’s nothing else like it out there in the marketplace,” says Myron Lo, vice president of product at Flywheel Networks, who goes on to say that when building products for any industry, the value has to be obvious. “Our overarching goal is to make sure we’ve built something that helps agents make more money and grow their business, not just another social network or online community.”

According to Ginger Childs, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Results Realty in Collegeville, Penn., ReferralExchange has taken the pain out of working with referrals. “I know that ReferralExchange is going to handle the lead the same way I would,” says Childs, who notes that the five of the six referrals that she’s placed into the system have either successfully closed or on track to close soon.

“ReferralExchange is set up differently than other companies in that they don’t make you pay per lead,” says Childs, who explains that one of the biggest motivating factors toward initially signing on with ReferralExchange was being able to guarantee the caliber of the agent to whom she was referring leads.

With 50 people in the company’s call center (all of whom are licensed agents), each referral that’s placed in ReferralExchange is verified to ensure true interest. Once interest has been confirmed, the Exchange’s algorithms choose three agents from the network who can best support the clients’ needs—from the type of home, to the number of bedrooms and even where the home is located.

“The real estate industry is people-centric,” says Lo. “While technology is great, real estate is still done by people, and relationships are key. ReferralExchange utilizes a combination of advanced technology, serious data science and great service to facilitate relationships.”