‘Tis the Season for Creating Referral Agents

Jason Lutz by Jason Lutz | 12.11.2012

Are you reaching out to build partnerships around the Connected Home offering?

The biggest hurdle to the sales process can be building your referral base. Many of you have worked hard over the years building solid referral partnerships with realtors, insurance agents and contractors but there are even more markets with which you can choose to partner.

When identifying new partners, be sure to bring in those that either focus on building RMR or creating custom installations. Also, having a good mix of companies will ensure you are brought into both new construction and retrofit installation opportunities. By creating a network of service professionals in your area, you and your partners’ businesses will grow together. Below are just a few ideas to get you on your way to building a base of great referral agents around the Connected Home:

Window Treatment Dealers
You don’t want to be in the window treatment business; too many shapes, sizes, and colors which means a lot of inventory and a lot of custom fits. However, their expertise lends itself to working with homeowners inside of their homes and they are acutely aware of aesthetics. Who better to notice if their clients have a security system or find out if they would like to control their blinds remotely? My suggestion is to partner with the local window treatment dealers in your market. An agreement to exchange window treatment leads for clients that are looking for an energy management or security solution will benefit both of you.

HVAC Contractors
Like you, HVAC contractors’ businesses are focused on generating RMR through service contracts. They often visit their clients in the fall and spring and know all too well their customers’ concerns with rising energy costs. While they can help their customers with programming thermostats, you can add greater value by allowing them to connect into their system and control it remotely. An HVAC contractor may be willing to leave a referral coupon for your business with their service receipts in exchange for your leaving their referral coupon with yours.

To be an electrical contractor in most municipalities requires licensing. If you aren’t licensed for electrical work, this is a great opportunity to bring on another referral agent. Someone who can quickly install a Z-Wave outlet or light switch is not only a benefit to you, but also to your clients. By giving them all of your electrical business, they may be willing to give you a better rate. And, because they give you security and energy management leads, it also means more work for them.

In the past, locksmiths have been great resources for new leads. Locksmiths can re-key a burglarized home as well as work in new commercial construction. Why not look to them as your lock partner? In exchange for your Z-Wave lock business, they would share with you any lead for security or remote system control. Yes, you would lose some Z-Wave lock sales, but you would gain something more important to your business-RMR accounts.

Remember, the vendors above are all part of the new construction process and have the opportunity to generate leads for you early on. In addition to guaranteeing them a first opportunity at your leads, you may also consider offering a referral bonus to any leads you turn into sales. These are just a few suggestions and I would love to hear more. Please share your ideas by commenting below.