Become a most-referred agent
Maintaining good relationships with colleagues, clients and the community is essential for referral business

by Tom Clegg
Teresa Boardman is a broker and the owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul, Minn, where she is a lifelong resident. Boardman also operates the “St. Paul Real Estate Blog, which she contributes to every day, The Real Estate Weenie” blog, where she writes about once a month, and a personal blog called “All T All Day,” which she describes as a “camera-phone blog.”
She also writes real estate columns for Inman News, and is a real estate photographer. Boardman recently spoke with OnCourse Learning Real Estate about building lasting relationships with clients and other agents.
OnCourse Learning: What part do referrals play in building relationships? Teresa Boardman: That’s huge. I have a couple of clients popping into my head that every year I can pretty much count on them sending someone my way because they were so grateful for some things I did for them. They were really happy with the way everything worked out, so they keep sending me business. I would say you probably can’t stay in the business unless you get referrals every year. Neighbors, friends – past clients are probably the best. OCL: How can you ensure a lasting relationship with a client once the transaction is over?
Boardman: You see, you really can’t. I think some agents believe you can. Real estate transactions are opportunities. Let’s say I was thrilled with the job my real estate agent did, but [then] my daughter gets her real estate license. Or I made a new friend somewhere in a new business and for some reason it was strategic for me to use an agent related to that business. It’s not about you.
I even had a client tell me – and this just blew me away – she said, “I wouldn’t have used you again, not because you haven’t done a great job – I really like the job you’ve done – but I have this friend I really should be working with.” So that has nothing to do with me. So, I think it’s important for agents to learn that just because they did a really good job for somebody, that’s absolutely no guarantee they’re ever going to get any business from that person again. All you can do is keep in touch. You send a postcard – I do Thanksgiving cards instead of Christmas cards. I start the first year they’re in their home. I keep in touch in various ways — through social media a lot, too.
OCL: What about with other agents? If another agent referred a client to you, would you reach out to that agent to stay in touch?

Boardman: I have a network of agents I stay in touch with. Referrals are a funny thing. I get referrals from one agent, but I end up giving them to another agent. It’s very rare that there’s somebody in another market that you’re passing business back and forth [with.] You try to keep a list of people that you know will do a good job. Because if I’m recommending somebody, it’s got to be somebody that does a good job. Sometimes there’s a referral fee, sometimes there’s not.

OCL: How important is an agent’s reputation in building relationships? Boardman: Where I work, there are some really prominent agents that everybody who works around here knows, but if you talked to an agent that worked 5 or 6 miles away, they’ve never heard of them. I think we have reputations among our friends, our family, some of the people we’ve done business with. If I have a reputation in the community, it’s not for selling real estate, it’s because I’ve delivered Meals on Wheels; I’ve sat on the boards of nonprofits.
“I would say you probably can’t stay in the business unless you get referrals every year. Neighbors, friends – past clients are probably the best.”

—Teresa Boardman
OCL: Is reputation at all important regarding other agents? Boardman: It can be. Your offer on a home might be taken more seriously because the other agent knows you and they know that buyer must be pre-approved or you wouldn’t be taking them to places. So, yes, your reputation helps. I know I’ve had agents say, “Teresa Boardman’s representing the other party. I’ve worked with her before. I know she keeps her word. I know she gets stuff done on time.” From that point of view, yeah. OCL: Are you going to get a better price on a referral fee if you know (the other agent)? Boardman: I have no idea (laughs). I have no idea. Referral fees for me are so situational. I guess I’ve just never negotiated referral fees. If it’s not high enough, I just say no. I could stop selling real estate altogether and collect enough leads and get enough referral fees so that I could just do that. I mean, it’s very possible, but that’s not what I want to do.
© 2017 OnCourse Learning Corp. All rights reserved
Contact Us
20225 Water Tower Blvd. Brookfield, WI 53045
More inside this guide
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tom Clegg is a freelance writer.
Win-win relationships
Build healthy relationships with members of the real estate team.
Build trust on social media
Tips for creating lasting online relationships with real estate pros.
Give some, get some
Using laughter and philanthropy to build client relationships.
Mentoring relationships
Learn tips for building a solid mentor/mentee relationship.
Real estate relationships - Male real estate agent on telephone getting referrals
Referral mania
Discover the importance of referrals to building relationships..
Must-dos for relationships
Great relationships with clients and colleagues is essential to success..
Good relations for loan officers
Lenders can improve relationships with clients by attending closings.
Relationships - Real estate agent handing a referral to another real estate agent.
Be a most-preferred agent
How to build lasting relationships with clients and other agents.
Go the extra mile
Commercial real estate relationships require extra care.
How to Navigate
How to Navigate
Move forward or backward between articles by clicking the arrows.
Click or tap to bring up the Table of Contents.
Share articles by clicking on one of the social media icons in the upper right corner of the page.
Use your mouse wheel, keyboard arrow keys, or scroll bar to move up and down in an article.