How to Get More Referrals (when your rent roll isn’t big enough to send referrals back!)

If you’re in the first couple of years of growing a rent roll, you’re going to need to focus on getting more landlord leads into your business. And, if you’ve ever attended any BDM or rent roll growth training, you’ve probably been told to “network, network, network”.

This is great advice. You should be networking. You should be growing your referral network.

But how do you take this networking and turn it into a steady stream of landlord referrals into your rent roll?

Once you’ve done your networking, there’s a follow up process. If you follow the process, you’ll start generating referrals from your network every single month.

But first, remember there are 2 types of networking: Organised and Un-Organised (perhaps “informal” is a better word here). You need to do both types of networking.


Organised Networking

Organised networking is a scheduled networking event, as part of a networking organisation. You usually pay to attend these events, and you’re expected to show up to the scheduled meetings.

I love organised networking events. They’re especially useful when you’re first starting your rent roll, and you need to establish yourself in the business community. They require you to commit to attending the networking events for a fixed period of time. Often they will teach excellent business networking strategies to you, as a member.

If you’re in the first couple of years of growing a rent roll, and you don’t already have a strong referral network of complimentary businesses who can refer landlords to you, get yourself involved in an organised networking group.


Informal Networking

Informal networking more “self driven”. It’s as simple as calling up your own mortgage broker and grabbing a coffee together. There’s no scheduled networking event, there’s no group attendance, it’s just you and one other business owner catching up.

If you’re part of an organised networking group, then you’ll be able to create informal networking opportunities with other members of this group. But if you’re not in an organised networking group, it’s time to make contact with local complimentary businesses in your area who could become part of your referral network.


So how do you actually get leads?

Usually, when you meet with someone in your network, you want to ask them to send you referrals. But quite often, they’re going to want referrals in return. If you’re a well-established agency, with a decent rent roll, you can probably do this. But if you’re in the early years of growing your rent roll, you might not have enough clients to be able to send referrals back.

I’ve discovered there are 3 effective ways to get your referral network sending you more referrals, even if you can’t send any referrals to them (yet)!


Number 1 – Coffee.

Well, not just coffee. Meeting for coffee with people in your referral network is key.

When I was growing my rent roll, I found that I needed to meet with people in my referral network at least once every 4-6 weeks. If I didn’t meet them that often, they would forget about me.

In fact, I found that if I met with a referral partner for a coffee, 2 out of every 3 coffees would result in a lead. That means, for every 3 referral partners I met in person, 2 of them would say “oh hey, I’ve got a client who is buying an investment property, I’ll send you their details”.

That’s $9 well spent ($9 is how much it costs to buy 2 coffees, in case you’re wondering).

The best way to ensure you’re meeting with people in your referral network every 4-6 weeks is to set reminders in your CRM software. This way, you can treat your referral network, almost like they are leads to follow up on a regular basis.

Remember, when you meet with a referral partner for a coffee, there are many things you can discuss with them. Sure, you can swap stories of being business owners and use some of the time together to bond. But there’s also an opportunity here to talk about shared promotional activities. Discus opportunities to film videos together (interview each other). Talk about writing articles as “guest blogs” for each other. Make plans to run other promotions together (more on these shortly).


Number 2 – Content.

You probably know that you should be creating content regularly to share with your following. That means blogs, videos, tips, guides, etc that you can share via email and via your social media platforms.

But this content creation isn’t just for potential landlord clients. It’s also for your referral network.

Creating content and getting it in front of your referral network achieves 3 things:

  1. It forces your referral network to take you seriously. If they see you creating content and publishing it widely, they’ll realise you mean business. And when you’re a small (or brand new) agency, this is important. Many established businesses (who you want to become your referral network) will want to see that you’re taking your business seriously. Publishing content regularly is a great way to prove this to them.
  2. It positions your agency as the expert in the marketplace. Your referral network will want to send clients to the expert in the marketplace.
  3. It puts you in front of your referral network digitally. Even though you’re meeting them in person every 4-6 weeks, if you’re also emailing them your weekly blog article and they’re also seeing your videos and tips on social media, you’re going to be front of mind.

The other side of this content strategy is to be sharing their content too. This means, when your accountant publishes a great blog about preparing for tax time, share it on social media! But remember, if you’re going to share it on social media, make sure you tag the accountant in the post, so they know you’ve shared it!

The secret to using your content (and theirs) to prompt your referral network to send you more referrals, is staying front of mind. Your content marketing strategy might be the difference between no referrals coming in from your referral network, and many referrals coming in each week!


Number 3 – Publicity.

Besides meeting with people in your referral network in person, and including them in your content marketing strategy, plan to help them with their publicity too.

Social media is the ultimate way to give “shout outs” to your referral network and to feature them in your marketing plan.

When you promote your referral network on social media, they’ll receive a notification about it (if you tag them, of course). Again, this is a way to keep you front of mind with your referral network and score a few brownie points with them too.

Remember, you don’t just give “shout outs” on social media to your referral network. You can be strategic about the posts you create and include them in. Plan your social media to include video interviews with your referral network. Add some guest blogs on their website (and yours). Create cross promotions and other shared marketing opportunities.


There’s no denying it’s hard to grow a small rent roll. But if you apply these 3 strategies with your referral network, they will reward you with new client referrals. And until your rent roll is large enough that you can send referrals back to those network, use these strategies to keep the referrals rolling in!


Want some other ideas for rent roll growth?  Join my on-demand training: 5 Ways to Grow Your Rent Roll


A version of this article first appeared on Elite Agent.

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