Referrals are a driving force to increase your brand, company, and revenue. Customer referrals make up 36% of roofing leads, but where do you get those referrals? A roofing referral program will help set the groundwork, but if you want to fully tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing, there’s something else you should do: partner with real estate professionals.
Think about it. Residential roofers and real estate agents both work with houses. You both generate leads, knock doors, and close deals. You’d be surprised by how much you have in common. And that common ground naturally lends itself to a mutually beneficial partnership.
If you’re not taking advantage of networking with real estate professionals, you’re leaving money on the table. We interviewed a real estate professional with 17 years of experience to dive into how to find agents to partner with, how to make that partnership happen, and what to do to maintain that relationship.
Let’s dig in!
How to Find Potential Real Estate Agent Partners
Go to Networking Events
You can network at dozens of roofing tradeshows and conferences each year. But you’ve got to go to the networking events where realtors and roofers will both be. Keep an eye on social media and your community for local events with real estate agents.
Whether it’s playing pickleball or meeting up for lunch, you’ll want to make time for those realtor-related networking events.
Look into Joining a BNI Group
BNI, Business Network International, is a referral group for companies. Here, local business owners—insurance brokers, contractors, dentists, you name it—can connect and build partnerships.
The catch is that each BNI chapter can only have one roofer—there can’t be more than one representative per industry. Joining a BNI power group is a big responsibility and time commitment, but it can lead to significant rewards. In fact, BNI members get an average of 46 referrals a year!
How to Create a Referral Relationship with a Realtor
Here are four things you should do when you find a real estate agent you want to partner with.
1. Introduce Yourself
Distinctly say who you are and the name of your company. Keep it brief and professional, but don’t be afraid of adding some personality. Check out these tips for effortlessly introducing yourself in networking situations.
2. Get to Know Them and Their Business
You should establish a good rapport with the agent before proposing a partnership. Plus, getting to know them better will help you see if they’re the right realtor to work with.
3. Ask About a Partnership
Once you get a good feel for the realtor, gauge their interest in partnering with you. They might already have a roofer they’re working with, but more likely than not, they’re looking for more ways to get referrals.
4. Focus on the Benefits They’ll Get
You need to add value to the partnership, and the #1 thing for realtors is getting referrals. When you propose a partnership, highlight what they’ll get from it. You might say something along the lines of how you’ll help protect their clients’ investments.
How to Maintain a Roofer-Realtor Relationship
Like any other relationship, you’ve got to actively maintain your roofer-realtor partnership to keep it healthy. Remember that this partnership is a two-way street—you should be helping your realtor as much as they’re helping you!
Stop by Their Office
Ask if you can stop by to see how they run their business. In-person visits strengthen your relationship and let you meet other agents. It creates a natural setting to network with other realtors without seeming pushy.
Pro tip: Show up with a coffee, cookie, or other treat for them when you visit.
Take Your Realtor to Lunch
The basis of any partnership is a solid relationship. Get to know each other and become friends. The more you know and trust each other, the more natural the referral relationship is.
If the real estate agent is willing to go to lunch with you, you can also ask if they’d like to invite any other realtors they know.
Give Them a Small Gift When They Send You Business
A simple gift of appreciation goes a long way in a relationship. Giving your realtor a reward will help incentivize them to send more jobs your way.
The gift doesn’t have to be very expensive or personalized. For example, you might send your realtor a gift card after they give you a referral and you complete the inspection. Even better, you can hand deliver the gift card for more face-to-face time.
Offer to Teach a Class at a Brokerage
Some brokerages let businesses come in and run a class for their agents. Depending on the brokerage, you might share information about the roofing industry or use the time for an interactive Q&A session. Either way, you’ll rub elbows with all the realtors at the firm and help keep your company top of mind.
Be sure to bring food and drinks as an added gesture of goodwill!
Strategy Tips for Real Estate & Roofing Partnerships
- Work with multiple realtors. Each real estate agent only works with so many homes a year. The more agents you work with, the more referrals you can get.
- Always carry a business card. You never know when a partnership opportunity might pop up. You should always have your custom business card with you, especially at networking events.
- Canvass the neighborhood around your referral jobs. Any time you get a referral from an agent, canvass the referral’s neighborhood. Introduce yourself to the neighbors as the roofer helping (realtor name) and (neighbor name) get the top price for their home. Then offer a free roof inspection.
- Make some swag for potential customers. Realtor referrals are great leads, but they might need more time before using your services. Leave something for them to remember you by. We recommend giving away fridge magnets that have your roofing company’s name, email address, and phone number.
- Try to connect with listing agents. The top-selling agents usually have teams with buyer’s agents working under them. Building a relationship with a listing agent will increase your reach by getting in with a top-producing team that does multiple transactions a year.
- Get in good with new realtors. When new real estate agents hit the scene, they want a go-to plumber, electrician, and roofer. Your job is to make sure that your name comes up here. As a bonus, if you build a referral partnership early in their career, you can work together for years.
- Follow real estate agents on social media. Interact with their posts, leave comments and likes, and congratulate them on their recent closings. Be authentic and genuine to create a real connection.
What to Keep in Mind as You Work with Real Estate Agents
- Payoff isn’t always immediate. Humans want to see results right away, but that doesn’t usually happen. Sometimes, you’ll inspect a homebuyer’s roof, and it will have another five years of life. But at the end of that five-year window, you’ll be the one they think to call.
- If a seller doesn’t work with you, the buyer still might. When a house has a damaged roof, sellers either drop the price or replace the roof before closing the deal. If the seller decides to sell the house as is, the buyer could still choose to reroof once they purchase the home.
- Consistency is key to maintaining your relationship. One of the seven most important characteristics of a great networker is follow-up. You can’t expect meaningful results if you only talk to a real estate agent once. Keep the door of communication open.
Roofers & Realtors: The Partnership That Pays for Itself
A strategic roofing-realtor relationship cultivates organic connections that can last a lifetime. As you build and foster those partnerships, you’ll get more and better referrals that are well worth the time and effort you put into getting them.
What will you do to create a partnership with local realtors? Let us know in the comments below!