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Success is defined not only in terms of sales volume or the size of a brokerage, but also in terms of your referral network. People often say: It’s not what you know, but who you know.

With that in mind, a large referral network is the lifeblood of all successful real estate brokerages.  Even though you’ve already discussed this with your agents, it’s important to continually remind them of the value of growing their referral network, with clients and agents alike.

Agents are most likely to get referrals from those with first-hand experience of their reputation, knowledge and professionalism. For this reason, past clients are a natural source of referrals. Encourage your agents to maintain relationships with clients beyond the transaction.

Recommend that agents follow up with clients soon after the sale, thanking them for their business and checking in on how they’re settling into their new home. This offers an organic opportunity to ask the client for recommendations of your services. Continue to keep in touch through periodic mailings such as market reports, home trends and cards on the anniversary of the clients’ home purchase.

Connecting with other agents, both locally and beyond, is also critical to building a strong referral network. Your agents’ reputation in the industry will serve your firm well. Education courses, industry meetings and social events hosted at the local, state and national levels are all great avenues for you and your agents to make new connections. These events provide opportunities to meet new colleagues while learning about topics and skills that can help an agent’s business. Encourage your agents to do their research ahead of time and arrive at the event with specific networking goals. For example, perhaps they want to connect with people from a certain geographic region, or area of expertise. This targeted approach to networking will achieve results that are immediately useful. Also, remember that giving referrals is just as important as receiving them. Meeting other outstanding professionals in the field means your agents will be prepared the next time someone asks for a recommendation.

Since conventions offer an abundance of networking opportunities within a relatively short time period, try to attend at least one a year. Many state associations, brokerage firms and affiliate institutes offer conventions annually. If your agents are ready to up their ante, the annual REALTORS® Conference & Expo is right around the corner. Taking place in Orlando, Fla., this event offers education sessions, the trade expo and a global networking center—ideal venues for networking with like-minded colleagues from across the globe.

REBAC members have access to additional referral resources at, such as developing a systematic referral strategy through the “Art of Referral” webinar and connecting with fellow ABR® designees in exclusive networking forums. If you’re attending this year’s annual Conference & Expo, be sure to stop by the ABR® booth, join us at the ABR®, GREEN and SRES® Networking and Awards Reception, or attend one of REBAC’s pre-convention courses. Hope to see you there!

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC.

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