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Buying LandSelling Land

How to Get Real Estate Referrals

June 14, 2023

As any seasoned real estate professional will confirm, real estate referrals are the lifeblood of success in this competitive industry, particularly in the land sector. The acquisition and sale of land parcels require a specialized understanding and unique networking capabilities. That’s why the ability to consistently secure referrals becomes even more critical.

In this article, we will explore proven strategies, practical advice, and innovative tips to help you build a robust referral network, enhance your reputation, and fuel your success in this niche but profitable area of real estate. Whether you’re a newcomer or a veteran in the land sector, this guide is sure to offer valuable insights to boost your business.

Table of Contents

Word of Mouth Marketing and Advertising

Word of Mouth (WoM) marketing and advertising are potent tools in the real estate business, particularly in the land sector. They involve leveraging existing relationships and reputation to generate new business. When harnessed effectively, they can lead to a steady stream of referrals, underpinning a sustainable and profitable practice. Here are several reasons why word-of-mouth marketing and advertising work.

Credibility and Trust

Real estate transactions, especially land deals, involve significant financial investment. As such, trust and credibility are crucial elements in these dealings. WoM marketing involves happy clients sharing their positive experiences with others, which naturally builds trust and credibility. If a client had a satisfying experience with you, they are likely to refer you to their peers who are interested in buying or selling land. This word-of-mouth recommendation carries significant weight because it comes from a trustworthy source – a satisfied customer.

Personalized Engagement

Unlike traditional advertising, WoM marketing allows for more personalized and direct engagement with potential clients. This personalized approach can be particularly useful when dealing with land referrals as these transactions often require a higher degree of diligence and negotiation. By engaging directly with potential clients, you can address their specific concerns and requirements more effectively, making them more likely to choose your services.

Increased Reach

Advertising, particularly when combined with a robust WoM marketing strategy, can significantly increase your visibility and reach. Targeted advertising in media frequented by your potential client base can raise awareness about your services. When your name or your agency’s name is mentioned in social circles or professional networks, people are more likely to remember seeing your advertisements, thereby enhancing your brand recall.

Social Proof

In the digital age, online reviews, testimonials, and ratings provide a form of WoM marketing. Positive reviews from satisfied clients can sway potential customers who are researching online for a trustworthy real estate agent in the land sector. This social proof can be particularly influential in securing land and real estate referrals as it provides reassurance about your expertise and reliability. That’s why at National Land Realty, we automate the process of asking all clients involved in your transaction for Google Reviews. Making this process easy creates more social proof that you are trustworthy and knowledgeable.

Relationship Building

WoM marketing encourages continuous relationship building, which is vital in the real estate industry. When you maintain good relationships with past clients, they become ambassadors for your services. These relationships can lead to repeat business and more referrals.


WoM marketing and advertising, when used wisely, can be cost-effective strategies for gaining referrals. Happy clients become your free marketers, and targeted ads can bring in leads that convert into clients, thereby providing a high return on investment.

Build a National Real Estate Referral Network

Creating a national real estate referral network can greatly enhance your reach and opportunities as a land professional. This strategy involves building connections with fellow real estate professionals across the country, creating a wide-reaching network that can serve as a valuable resource for referrals, advice, and partnerships. Here are several reasons why this is particularly crucial for land professionals:

Broader Market Access

Building a national real estate referral network allows you to access markets outside your local area. Land deals can occur anywhere in the country, and having connections in various regions increases the chances of getting referrals from those areas. This broadens your market reach and potential client base significantly.

Diverse Expertise

Different regions have unique land characteristics, regulations, and real estate trends. By networking with professionals from various areas, you can gain insights into different markets and tap into their specialized knowledge when needed. This can be particularly useful when dealing with clients looking for specific types of land or properties in different regions.

Better Client Service

If you have clients looking to buy or sell land in areas outside your expertise or jurisdiction, a national referral network allows you to direct them to trustworthy professionals in those areas. This ensures your clients are well taken care of, enhancing your reputation as a resourceful and client-focused professional.

Increased Revenue Streams

Referral agreements often involve commissions or fees. Therefore, referring your clients to other professionals in your network, or receiving referrals from them, can provide an additional revenue stream.

Collaborative Opportunities

A national network may provide opportunities for partnerships on larger or more complex land deals. You may collaborate with other professionals on projects that would have been challenging to manage single-handedly, potentially leading to more significant business opportunities.

Building a national real estate referral network requires active participation in industry associations, conferences, and online platforms. Regular communication, mutual referrals, and maintaining a reputation for integrity and professionalism are also vital to sustain and grow this network. Over time, this investment in networking can pay significant dividends, enhancing your practice and success in the land sector. At National Land Realty, this investment has already been made for our agents and brokers. With nearly 400 Agents across 40 states, our company regularly refers land deals within our company which leads to a better overall client experience and increased revenue for all involved.

Start a Real Estate Newsletter

A well-crafted real estate newsletter can be a highly effective tool for land professionals, aiding in both client retention and the acquisition of new referrals. Newsletters keep your name at the forefront of clients’ minds. Regular updates make it more likely that clients will think of you when a referral opportunity arises, as you are the real estate professional with whom they have the most frequent contact. A newsletter can provide useful information such as market trends, land management tips, zoning law updates, and preferred service providers. This demonstrates your expertise and adds value for your clients, making them more likely to refer you to others.

By including success stories, unique land listings, or client testimonials in your newsletter, you can engage your clients more deeply. This strengthens your relationship with them and makes them more likely to send referrals your way. Newsletters can easily be forwarded to others, increasing your visibility. If a client finds a piece of information in your newsletter interesting, they might share it with someone they know who is interested in land transactions. This direct sharing acts as a personal endorsement and can lead to more referrals.

A consistent, high-quality newsletter helps build your brand. Over time, your newsletter can position you as a knowledgeable and trustworthy land professional. A strong personal brand makes you the first person that comes to mind when someone in your network hears of a person looking to transact in land. Each newsletter can include a call to action reminding readers to refer you to friends, family, or colleagues who might be interested in buying or selling land. Sometimes, people need a gentle reminder that their referrals are welcome and appreciated.

A regular newsletter helps maintain relationships with past clients. Even if they do not currently need your services, they could know someone who does. If you maintain contact and continue providing value to them, they are more likely to give referrals. The key to a successful real estate newsletter lies in its content and consistency. The information provided should be valuable and relevant to your clients, and it should be delivered regularly. Over time, this can lead to increased client engagement, brand visibility, and ultimately, more referrals.

Build a Network of Preferred Service Providers

Building a network of preferred service providers – such as surveyors, land attorneys, environmental consultants, tax advisors, appraisers, foresters, or real estate lenders can be a powerful strategy for land professionals seeking to boost referrals. When you recommend quality service providers to your clients, these professionals are likely to return the favor. They’ll appreciate the business you’re sending their way and will likely refer their own clients or contacts to you when they encounter someone who needs land professional services.

By connecting your clients with reputable service providers, you’re offering a valuable, time-saving service. Clients will appreciate that you’ve made their lives easier, and this goodwill can translate into more referrals as satisfied clients are more likely to recommend your services to their network. Working regularly with a network of preferred providers can lead to smoother transactions. You’ll develop a working rhythm, understand each other’s processes better, and be able to provide a more seamless service to your clients. This improved service experience can increase client satisfaction, making them more likely to refer you.

Having a network of reliable service providers reflects well on you as a land professional. It demonstrates that you’re well-connected, knowledgeable, and that you prioritize your client’s needs, all of which can enhance your reputation and lead to more referrals. In the process of building and maintaining this network, you’re likely to learn more about the various aspects related to land transactions. This can improve your expertise as a land professional, making you more attractive to potential clients and increasing the likelihood of referrals.

Building a network of service providers often involves active participation in community events and professional networking groups. This increased visibility in your community and industry can lead to more awareness of your services, and subsequently, more referrals. Remember, the goal is to create a network of service providers who share your commitment to quality service. Regular communication and collaboration will help strengthen these relationships and ensure that your clients are always receiving the best possible service, increasing the likelihood of happy clients and, in turn, more referrals. Knowing what you need to do and doing it are two different things. At National Land Realty, all agents and brokers are supported by a national network of trusted service providers that are available for you to connect with on day one. 

Give Smart Real Estate Client Gifts

Real estate client gifts serve as an important part of a robust referral strategy for land professionals, as they can enhance relationships, express appreciation, and encourage referrals. A thoughtful gift can show your clients that you value their business and appreciate them on a personal level. This can strengthen your relationship and keep you at the forefront of their minds, increasing the likelihood of referrals.

When you give a client a gift, it subtly reminds them of your service. This might prompt them to share their positive experience with others and refer your services. Gifts can also be a subtle way to encourage referrals. For example, you could gift a client a couple of branded items, such as coffee mugs or hats. When these items are used or seen by others, they could spark a conversation about your services. A gift is a tangible way to express your gratitude to clients for their business. People like to feel appreciated and a gift can make clients feel valued and satisfied with their overall experience. Happy clients are more likely to become repeat clients and to refer you to others.

A well-chosen gift can make a lasting impression and set you apart from other land professionals. It’s a way to demonstrate your attention to detail and commitment to customer service, which can boost your reputation and lead to more referrals. A client gift not only sets a positive tone for future referrals but also for repeat business. Clients who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to return for future transactions.

Clients who receive a token of appreciation are more likely to become ambassadors for your brand. This means they could go beyond just referring you to potential clients and might actively promote your services in their networks. It’s essential to ensure your gifts are appropriate and considerate. They should reflect your professional relationship and the client’s preferences. More importantly, gifts should never be given with the expectation of a referral or repeat business but rather as a genuine token of appreciation. With this approach, client gifts can be an effective part of your broader referral strategy. All NLR agents and brokers have access to the NLR gifts store, where we have compiled branded items at discounts to all of our land professionals, making the gifting process easy.

Be a Real Estate Referral Source to Residential and Commercial Real Estate Agents

Being a real estate referral source as a land professional can have several benefits when it comes to fostering relationships with residential and commercial real estate agents. Here’s why it’s a vital strategy:

Mutual Referral Opportunities

By referring clients to residential and commercial real estate agents, you open the door for mutual real estate referrals. When these agents encounter clients interested in land transactions—a niche outside their expertise—they’re likely to refer these clients back to you, knowing that you’ve done the same for them in the past.

Expanded Network

Acting as a referral source allows you to build relationships with a wider network of real estate professionals. This increased network can lead to a higher number of referrals over time, as more agents become familiar with your expertise in the land sector.

Enhanced Reputation

By providing referrals, you demonstrate that you prioritize the best interests of your clients, even when it means referring them elsewhere. This can enhance your reputation as a reliable and trustworthy professional, leading to more referrals from other agents who value your integrity.

Specialization Recognition

As a land professional, your specialty may not overlap significantly with residential and commercial agents. By providing referrals, you underline your specialization in the land sector. This makes you the go-to person when these agents encounter land-specific transactions.

Value Addition and Client Satisfaction

Offering referrals adds value to the services you provide your clients, showing them you can assist in a broad range of real estate needs. This broad-based assistance can improve client satisfaction and increase the likelihood of client-generated referrals. By referring your clients to trusted residential or commercial real estate agents, you ensure that they receive the best possible service across all their real estate needs. A satisfied client is more likely to refer you within their network.

Asking for Referrals

While it might seem simple, directly asking for real estate referrals is an often overlooked strategy, yet it’s absolutely essential. People are often busy and may not realize that you are open to or reliant on referrals. By asking outright, you make your needs clear and leave no room for assumptions.

Even satisfied clients who think highly of your services may not think to refer you unless reminded. People often get caught up in their own lives and forget to pass on referrals, even when they had every intention to do so. At National Land Realty, we automate this process for all of our land professionals so that you always remember to ask for referrals and do it in a professional manner. 

Asking for referrals encourages your clients to actively engage in promoting your services. It shifts them from being passive satisfied customers to active promoters of your business. Research shows that you are more likely to get what you want if you simply ask for it. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that people tend to underestimate the likelihood of compliance when making direct requests for help. So, the act of asking can significantly increase your chances of getting referrals.

When you ask a client for a referral, it shows that you value their opinion and trust their judgment. This can strengthen your relationship and increase their commitment to help you succeed. The act of asking for a referral can actually help with client retention. It re-engages clients, reminds them of the value you provided, and keeps you at the top of their mind for future real estate needs.

While asking for referrals is essential, it’s crucial to approach it correctly. Always ask when the client is most satisfied with your service, typically at the end of a successful transaction. Also, ensure that you’re asking in a respectful and non-pushy manner. Show gratitude whether the client is able to provide a referral or not, and never make a client feel obligated. Handled correctly, asking for referrals can be a significant factor in growing your business.

Join a Business Networking Group

Joining a business networking group can be a valuable strategy for land professionals seeking to increase their referrals as being part of a business networking group exposes you to a wide range of professionals from various industries. This increases your visibility and allows you to promote your services to a broader audience.

Business networking groups often operate on the principles of mutual support and referral sharing. Members are encouraged to refer business to each other, helping to foster a culture of reciprocity and shared success. Regular interaction with other members of the group allows you to build trust and demonstrate your professionalism and expertise over time. As members become confident in your abilities, they are more likely to refer clients to you.

If the networking group is locally based, it can connect you to the local business community. This could potentially lead to partnerships or referrals from local businesses that have contacts interested in land transactions. Interacting with professionals from diverse industries can broaden your perspective and spark innovative ideas. You might learn new strategies for client service or marketing that can enhance your business and attract more referrals. Joining a networking group requires an investment of time and effort to build relationships and participate actively. However, this investment can yield significant dividends in terms of referrals and business growth over time.

Join Community Groups that You Believe in

Joining community groups that align with your values and interests can be a fruitful strategy for land professionals seeking to obtain more real estate referrals. When you join a community group that aligns with your interests or beliefs, you’re likely to form genuine, deep connections with like-minded individuals. These authentic relationships can foster trust and lead to more referrals as group members are more inclined to refer someone they genuinely know and respect.

Active participation in community groups that you genuinely believe in shows that you are community-minded and not just interested in profit. This can significantly enhance your reputation, making you more attractive to potential clients who value ethical, community-focused professionals. By participating in a community group, you gain visibility among its members. This can increase awareness of your real estate services and lead to referrals as members think of you when they or someone they know needs a land professional.

Being part of a group where everyone shares similar interests or values makes it easier to create strong bonds. Members of the group are more likely to refer you to others as they feel a strong connection with you, based on shared values. Participating in a group you believe in can provide personal fulfillment and motivation, which can enhance your overall job satisfaction and performance. Your enthusiasm may also make you more attractive to potential clients.

Joining groups merely to get business can often backfire, as people can usually sense when someone is not genuinely interested in the group’s cause or activities. This can damage your reputation and hinder your ability to get real estate referrals. Genuine engagement not only allows you to contribute positively to a cause you care about but can also lead to meaningful relationships and a strong professional network, resulting in more referrals over time.

Sponsoring events or local groups that attract your target market can be an effective referral strategy for land professionals. This tactic provides exposure, credibility, and the opportunity to develop relationships with potential clients and other professionals. Sponsoring events or groups gives you a platform to showcase your brand to your target market. It also provides opportunities for face-to-face interaction, allowing potential clients to get to know you and your services.

Sponsorship, particularly of well-regarded events or groups, can enhance your reputation. It signals to potential clients that you are a committed and credible professional, thereby building trust. By choosing to sponsor events or groups that attract your target market, you’re able to reach individuals who are more likely to be interested in your services. This ensures your marketing efforts and resources are targeted and efficient.

Sponsoring local events or groups shows you are invested in the community. This can create a positive image and may make potential clients more likely to choose you over less community-engaged competitors. Sponsorship often involves active participation in events or activities, providing ample opportunities to build relationships with potential clients and other community members. These relationships can lead to referrals either directly from those individuals or through word-of-mouth.

Regular sponsorship can help develop strong brand recognition within your target market. The more familiar potential clients are with your brand, the more likely they are to think of you when they need a land professional. By sponsoring events or groups related to your niche, you’ll naturally connect with people who share similar interests. This shared interest can facilitate conversations and relationships, leading to potential referrals.

While this strategy requires a financial investment, the benefits in terms of increased visibility, credibility, and potential client connections make it a worthwhile consideration for any land professional seeking to boost referrals. As always, authenticity is key – choose to sponsor groups and events that align with your business values and interests to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.

Closing Thoughts on How to Get More Real Estate Referrals

In conclusion, garnering real estate referrals as a land professional involves a blend of strategies, all designed to build strong relationships, increase visibility, and showcase expertise. From joining business and community groups to sponsoring events and actively asking for referrals, each approach has its unique advantages. Equally important are strategies such as maintaining a strong digital presence, offering impeccable client service, and giving gifts as tokens of appreciation.

It’s also essential to be a reliable source of real estate referrals yourself, demonstrating your commitment to clients’ needs and the wider professional community. While each land professional must tailor their approach to their specific circumstances, consistently implementing these strategies can significantly boost referrals, leading to sustainable business growth and success in the land sector.

About the Author
Logan Eaton, Executive Vice President of Sales at National Land Realty, has experience in land brokerage across the southeast. He was born in Charleston, SC, and raised in Atlanta, GA, Logan is a true Southerner. He attended the University of Kentucky before transferring to the University of Georgia where he obtained his Real Estate degree from the Terry School of Business. During his time at UGA he was a member of the Real Estate Society as well as a leader in HEROs, a nonprofit club. From 2012-2015 Logan established NLR's office in Atlanta where he represented landowners and buyers in Northern GA. He holds a Principal Broker's license for the state of GA and is also licensed in SC. He has been involved in land transactions in several states and works to support the over 400 agents and brokers at National Land Realty. In 2016 Logan became the EVP of Sales for the company and has been working to build NLR into the nation's largest land brokerage firm. Logan enjoys traveling across the southeast for college football/basketball games, relaxing at Lake Oconee in GA and spending time with his wife Maddie, their sons, Henry and Charlie, and their Golden Retriever, Dill.