In my 8 months now living and working in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC Real Estate market helping Realtors and Lenders with their Real Estate marketing on behalf of Stewart Title, I have found one stark difference on how people conduct business as it pertains to transactions. That one difference I see the most is called the “preferred relationship.” What this means is that many Real Estate and even mortgage companies have a preferred relationship that is either “in house” or an agreement with a company that business will be sent their way. Not only is this strange in my opinion because now someone is “expecting” your business instead of “earning” it, but it hinders the Realtor’s ability to find a real relationship based on helping them grow their Real Estate business. This can lead to poor service and a multitude of other things that is not allowing you the proper support you need as a Real Estate or Mortgage Professional…and ultimately ends up costing you business! There are several other reasons why this one thing that could be hurting your Real Estate Business. Here is why:
The other day I was meeting with a Realtor for the 1st time and I went over all the marketing tools we have to offer, Wise Agent, Renter Leads, Short Sale Leads, Farming Data, Short Sale Division, Website/WordPress Training, Video Training, Social Media for Business Training, Real Estate Marketing Classes, etc. This agent has been in the business for a few years, doing deals here and there but no real systems in place to take her business to the next level. This is also the category I would put the majority of Real Estate agents. As I sat down and walked her through these tools and how to implement them into a “marketing strategy” that she can use and sustain to get more listings, buyers, and online business she was simply shocked and amazed. I stopped and asked her what was the matter? She said:
“I just didn’t know that all of this existed and that your Title Company has this ability to really help their clients and offer such great tools. My company has a “Preferred Title Company” so I have just used them when I had business to send.”
Me: So what did that Title Company do to help you when you needed it? Leads? Contact Management? Farm Lists? Short Sales Division?
“Nothing…they would sponsor our meeting and talk to promote themselves but nothing really to help the agents. They once gave me a bottle of wine after a closing.
Me: Wow…so why did you use them?
“I was told it was our Preferred Partner and to use them when we had business. I didn’t know what else was out there…I wish I would have met you a long time ago! ”
Those words astonished me. Essentially what I heard her say was…due to the Preferred Relationships that were in place it had cost her the ability to get on the right track with her Real Estate marketing, when she clearly had a direct need for help. She was essentially 2 years behind in her business. Her vendor(s) that take her business were offering no real business solutions in return. What was missing was the 2 way street that should be the Realtor/Title Company relationship was in fact just a 1 way street.
The Realtor gives Title Company A all their business.
Title Company A does little to nothing to reach out and help the agent grow their business. Ugh!
From what I have seen so far in this area of the country that applies almost across the board and its scary!!
The Solution: What Realtors Really Want
At the end of the day what Realtors really want are help and business solutions. They want a teammate in their business who can alleviate any pain that they have in their business at all costs. That pain could be…get more eyes to my website, I need more listings, I need more eyes to my listings, I need scripts to call Short Sales and FSBO’s ( I get that a lot), short sale leads, handle my short sales, and a variety other things that offer the Realtor solutions and a path to more business! Did you notice I didn’t say “Service?” Why? Because it is not a benefit of using a Title Company…its an expectation and a job description. Realtors expect you to provide good service and every Title Company out there says that they provide good service. Ok…so besides “service” what else does that “preferred relationship” offer your clients that makes them smarter, more savvy agents? One of my competitors in this market place offers a “book club” for their clients. Its their marketing strategy, but I have never seen something like that help an agent get “found online” or more buyers/sellers. The reason I bring this up is that in the Preferred Relationship model, that is the main selling point. Since the two companies have an “agreement” in place, they will take good care of you and your clients. But do they? In my experience its usually the opposite. They are now “expecting the business” and therefore when you take things for granted…service levels usually dip. So in the end…does the Preferred Relationship enhance or hinder the growth of your Real Estate business? Think about that and be honest.
As a Realtor you are a sole proprietor and in this business it is all about working and building your own relationships. Preferred Relationships come and go with offices, but ones you build with individuals who have your business’s best interest and help you grow that business will last indefinitely. Find good teammates in mortgage, inspection, and Title that will be there for you and offer you tools and knowledge to succeed for the long term. If you are one of those Realtors that has only known the “Preferred Relationship” please fill out the form below and I will be in contact you shortly to start a new relationship!