Written by Trademark Title President Charity Malmberg, Originally Published in Twin Cities Real Producers Magazine

With the work-from-home resurgence, many people are finally realizing their dreams of owning a winter get-away or taking the leap into multiple properties for the purpose of renting. With this resurgence comes new and exciting opportunities for you and a need for a good network that spans the country.

Building these networks takes time and effort, but can have big payoffs.

“It has been advantageous from the perspective of being able to send and receive referrals from all over the US and the world, as well as becoming more familiar with markets other than my own,” says Rob, an experienced real estate professional in Minnesota and Florida. “In addition, the amount of knowledge I have picked up from other practitioners has also proved incredibly valuable in my own business.”

Networking as a real estate professional also benefits your clients, when done with them in mind. While these clients have come to trust you and your team for local help, they may not have any connections in other states, and you become the bridge to these new markets. Here are a few steps to get you started in building your own valuable network:

  1. Attend conferences, join associations, and volunteer.

“Conferences are great for the sheer number of people one can meet, but service onboard and other volunteer activities are valuable to build more in-depth relationships, as you will find that over the course of a year or more serving with the same people can lead to some life-long relationships,” says Rob.

  1. Ask around

Talk with your broker and sphere within your brokerage for some guidance and a list of experts, or consult with out-of-state friends and family who they’ve worked with and what their experience was like. While you may come up with a long list of names at first, but you’re sure to dwindle it down with these next steps.

  1. Consider their messaging

Take an in-depth look at the website language, ads, and how they present themselves online. Does their messaging, vision and values line up with yours?

  1. Before referring, do “due diligence”

If you haven’t met the agent in person, be sure to set up a time to actually talk with the agent or group you’re considering referring to your clients. Treat it like an interview. Write down their answers and compare them with others.

  1. Make the connection!

Connect your client with the agent—or don’t, but no good contact is a wasted contact.

“A meeting and a new contact should never go to waste. Keep in touch, be a resource for your contacts over the long-term,” says Rob “You will see a benefit back in your own business with increased visibility and increased referrals.”

  1. Follow up with your client about their experience

Ask for honesty. If there’s any whiff of negativity, then move on to another referral option next time. Knowing your clients are taken care of when they’re not in your direct care is incredibly important for building a trusted network.