The Do’s and Don’ts of Partnering with Realtors and Lenders

Most insurance agents want to grow their referral business, but beyond asking current clients to pass along their information, they don’t really know how. That means they’re missing opportunities to connect with dozens (hundreds!) of people who need their services. 

Actually, that whole idea—that people need their services—is one of the most significant mindset shifts agents have to make to be successful. Too many insurance agents, particularly ones who are naturally a bit introverted or worried about being seen as high-pressure, forget that they’re actually not “selling insurance.” What they’re really doing is filling a need… solving a problem.

The truly successful agents—the ones who don’t have to work so hard going after business, because so much business comes to them—apply that problem-solving mindset to every potential client interaction. Including finding partners for referrals.

I’ve written before about how realtors and lenders are natural referral partners for insurance agents. Today, I want to go a bit deeper and offer some tips—some do’s and dont’s—to help you develop and keep those partners. It all starts with your mindset.

Do: Bring Value

If you approach a realtor or lender thinking about what they can do for you, there’s no reason for them to say, “Yes.” Instead, think about how you can bring them value. What problem or problems are they experiencing that you can help them solve? 

You’ll need to think outside the box on this, because I guarantee you’re not the only insurance agent knocking on their door asking for referrals. How are you uniquely equipped to help them grow their business? Offer that. 

Do: Stay Engaged

All relationships require an investment of time and energy, or they end. Don’t pester your referral partners, but don’t ignore them either. Call them to check in. Stop by their offices to say hi. Take a sincere interest in how their business is doing. And if you don’t really care, then you’re not partnering with them; you’re using them. Treat them like you would a member of your team—because they are a member of your team.

Do: Follow Up 

Early on in your partnership, you’ll need to be even more intentional about following up. As you know, we’re all working at a frenetic pace. Within 72 hours of leaving a meeting, realtors and lenders have forgotten all about you. To make matters worse, in those 72 hours, they’ve likely gotten referral pitches from title companies, contractors, landscapers, and countless others—including other insurance agents.

So do whatever you need to do to remember to follow-up. Add them to your customer relationship manager and have it ping you three days after your first meeting. Set a calendar reminder. Put a sticky note on your whiteboard. Whatever your system is, use it so you’ll remember to make that critical follow-up call.

Don’t: Talk About Your Rates

Unless you’re looking for bad-credit or no-credit referrals, don’t talk about how inexpensive your rates are with realtors and lenders. Why? Because if you do, they’ll peg you as the least expensive agent in town, and they’ll send you not-great referrals.

Don’t: Talk About Your Quick Turn-Around

Similarly, don’t talk about how fast you can turn around evidence of insurance unless you’re only interested in working with clients who need insurance quickly. I can’t imagine that’s the case. The quality of referrals you receive will be entirely based on what you tell realtors and lenders. If you say you’re cheap and fast, you’re going to get clients that require a lot of work, fast, for little return. 

I don’t mean to suggest that you should never work with clients who may need extra help; if you’re a caring agent (and I’m sure you are), you’ll have some special cases. I’m only saying you don’t want your referrals to be flooded with them.

Don’t: Talk About Your Staff

Realtors and lenders don’t want to hear about your amazing staff. First of all, every agent thinks they have the best staff on the planet. But more than that, you having a great staff doesn’t bring any value to your referral partner. If you go on and on about how friendly and organized and efficient your team is, you’re just wasting your potential referral partners’ time. And that’s not going to get you more business.

Think About What Your Partners Need, Not What You Need

The bottom line is you should approach every potential referral partner thinking about what they need from you, not the other way around. Put yourself in their shoes. If someone walked through your door asking you to refer your clients to them, your first question would likely be: What’s in it for me? That doesn’t make you selfish; it makes you a good business person.

Now, if you’re like most insurance agents I’ve talked to, you love the idea of building partnerships with realtors and lenders, and you understand that you need to be helpful to them somehow, but you’re completely stumped on what that actually looks like. If that’s you, I can help. 

Register for my free, 30-minute webinar and learn the what, why, and how of helping realtors and lenders build their businesses. When you follow my proven system, realtors and lenders will be giving out your name, not your competitors’. Stop wasting money on donuts, pens, and trinkets that wind up in the trash can, and start getting referrals on auto-pilot. Register for my free webinar today.

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Lance Groenewold


Lance wants your insurance business to grow and he understands that you've wasted a lot of money, time and hard work on marketing with not much a return on your investment. As the business manager for RECAMP, he's worked with insurance agents across the country to help them build their own automated referral network that consistently generates high value leads.

Ready to join thousands of insurance agents who have discovered the magic of RECAMP?

We specialize in marketing for P&C insurance agents and insurance agency marketing.

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