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Building Better Referral Bridges

by Chicago Agent

By Paul Martis
There is no question that as Realtors our ability to gain the trust and respect of our clients and obtain their sought-after referrals is paramount to our success as real estate professionals.

While treading in a client’s emotional waters is what residential agents are expected to do, selling a home full of memories and with high expectations can be a real challenge in a changing economy. Yet, this is what we are trained to do, and still be friendly, honest and flexible.

In the commercial waters, although the same level of professionalism is expected, life can be much different for the practitioner here. Not every aspect of the industry is interchangeable between commercial and residential markets. Weekend showings, agent open houses, broker tours, visual/virtual tours, standardized forms, MLS, real property disclosures and radon disclosures are not the norm for commercial agents, who are not usually cross disciplined to understand the differences.

I believe that as more real estate agents educate themselves for an ever-changing real estate audience, cross discipline networking will grow both domestically and internationally.

There is no question that although both residential and commercial agents require a level of sales competence, each type of agent has his or her own sets of challenges and rewards.

I like to envision a professional referral bridge, on one side is a community of residential agents and on the other is a community of commercial agents. Unfortunately, in reality, many times the bridge is closed or traffic is moving in only one direction.

To that end, I would like to suggest to those who are strictly residential agents, consider passing on commercial referrals to competent commercial practitioners and ask for residential referrals in return.

When a residential agent represents the buying or selling of a home for a business owner, outbound commercial referral opportunities for a commercial lease, commercial sale or commercial purchase should not be overlooked, pass them along and collect some extra income.

Conversely, for the commercial agent, a commercial investor or business owner may need to relocate to another residence because his/her business needs have changed and there are many Realtors who are capable of working those residential referrals.

Finally, consider attending a real estate mixer or business networking event to polish your communication skills and take the time to meet agents of various disciplines who share your interests in real estate, whether it be residential, commercial, domestic or international.
We need to build better referral bridges by developing stronger agent relationships, and those new bridges should always be open and moving in both directions.

Paul Martis is a broker associate with Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT. Martis and his business partner, Jack Dunholter, have developed a six-hour, two-part commercial certificate series program for CAR. For more information, contact Martis at paul.martis@cbexchange.com.

COPYRIGHT 2008 AGENT PUBLISHING LLC

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