Referrals for Mortgage Brokers

Here at QuickLinkt, we often get asked how businesses can successfully design and implement referral programs. So, we decided to start a series of blog posts that highlight how we’re seeing businesses be successful. First up – Mortgage Brokers.


Mortgage brokers and agents have been quick to adopt referral programs and implement an automated tracking solution. Looking at the industry, it’s no wonder that referrals are essential to any agent’s success: most new home buyers rely on friends and family to guide their home purchase process, trust is paramount when choosing a mortgage broker and since people work closely with their broker – they’re more likely to refer.  Better yet, there’s lots of people looking for the best mortgage rates since 88% of US home buyers finance  their purchase.


Here at QuickLinkt we’re seeing most brokerages let each lending agent run their own referral program. This allows agents to customize their terms, integrate with their social media profiles and personal websites, and communicate directly with clients. While brokers can choose whether or not to give rewards, we’re commonly seeing agents offer a Visa Gift Card to past clients for each successful referral. While the reward isn’t necessary,* it’s a nice way to say thank you and stay top-of-mind after the sale closes.


We’re also seeing agents use QuickLinkt to manage referrals from their professional network. For example, a real estate agent having an open house can send referrals to brokers using the QuickLinkt Smartphone App. This allows mortgage brokers to get a jump start on pre-approval, and real estate agents to quickly start searching for properties in the right price point. Each time the mortgage broker/agent updates the mortgage process (ie. conditional approval, pre-approved, etc.) the real estate agent is automatically notified, making it easy to keep contacts in the loop.


Mortgage brokers and agents are also realizing just how easy it is to drive referrals. We’ve heard from brokers that most of their clients are young, first-time buyers. These clients greatly appreciative a broker’s help – since getting a mortgage doesn’t come easily – and therefore are much more likely to refer. Better yet, because they’re digital natives they’re happy to send referrals through their Smartphone or a company’s Facebook page. They also have a large network of connections in the same demographic that will soon be looking to buy their first home, so they have plenty of potential referrals.


While each brokerage can use QuickLinkt to specify the referral program that’s right for them, these are just some of the ways we’re seeing mortgage brokers and agents be successful. And since it only takes 5 minutes to get started, mortgage brokers and agents can easily launch their program. What successful marketing tools have you seen for mortgage brokers?


To learn more about QuickLinkt, you can visit our website at or start your free 30-day trial at


*Remember to check if offering referral rewards is allowed in your jurisdiction

Introducing Facebook Referrals

This week, we’ve released QuickLinkt Referrals for Facebook. While customers have always been able to share offers on Facebook using QuickLinkt, now businesses can also add a custom Refer-a-Friend tab to their Facebook page. The tab allows clients & customers to submit referrals right from a company’s page, and all referrals are automatically tracked through QuickLinkt. This way, we’re helping businesses encourage referrals and increasing ROI from social media.

facebook refer a friend



Creating greater integration between QuickLinkt and Facebook was an obvious fit. Since many businesses use social media as their primary channel for interacting with clients and customers, the Refer-a-Friend tab is a great way to increase referrals. Better yet, since local business pages get over 645 million page views per week, it’s a great channel for encouraging referrals.


Adding the Refer-a-Friend tab to a Facebook page is also a great way to see real ROI from social media. The Refer-a-Friend tab delivers qualified leads, and tracking sales is automatically done through the QuickLinkt platform. And since  52% of brands state that social media ROI is their greatest frustration, Facebook referrals can combat frustration and take social media marketing beyond Likes & Shares.


Businesses using QuickLinkt can add the referral form to their Facebook page in under a minute by logging into their account and selecting the Facebook Tab option in the Settings Menu. Because we’ve built the Referral tab as a Facebook app, there’s no coding required to add it to a Facebook page. Better yet, this feature comes at no additional cost for users with QuickLinkt Professional accounts.


The Refer-a-Friend tab for Facebook pages makes it easier for customers to send referrals, and for businesses to see real ROI from social media. If you’d like to learn more about the full QuickLinkt platform visit or to start your free referral management plan.


Affiliates or Referrals??? What’s the Difference?

word of mouthHere at QuickLinkt, we often get asked what the difference between affiliate and referral marketing is. While referrals account for 65% of all new business, the affiliate industry is set to grow to $4.5B by 2016 – so it’s no wonder there’s confusion. While there’s similarities between the two, there’s also clear distinctions. So to clear it up, we decided to do a run down of affiliate and referral marketing – and how they differ.  


The Basic Definitions

Affiliate Marketing: Agents or partners (aka affiliates) send traffic to your website or new customers to your business.

Referral Marketing: A current client, customer or business connection recommends you to their friends and family, and often provides you with their contact information.  

So…. What’s the Difference?

Just looking at these definitions, affiliate & referral marketing may seem to be pretty much the same …. They’re both based on people sending you new customers/clients. However, here’s the BIG differences:

  • In Referral Marketing, the referred customer is known by the referral source. In Affiliate Marketing, the affiliate has no personal relationship with customers they send.
  • Affiliates are paid commission for every customer/client they send. Referral programs can include rewards for making referrals, 2-way rewards for both the referrer and referree, or have no rewards.
  • Affiliate partners are driven solely by financial gain, whereas referrals are based on personal relationships and trust.
  • Affiliate commission rates typically start at 20% and increase to as high as 60% as success rates increase. Over time, the cost per new sale increases.
  • With referrals, the cost per new sale decreases over time as the number of customers making referrals increases.

 The Extra Benefits

While affiliate marketing has its uses, referral programs have additional benefits that make them a better long term solution. First, referred customers are far easier to close than those sent from affiliates because consumers are 4X more likely to buy when referred by family or friends. Better yet, referral programs increase loyalty among your current customers. The effects of referral programs also snowball over time because every referred customer becomes a source for new referrals. So while affiliates are useful for driving web traffic, if you want a marketing solution that builds your reputation, increases loyalty and decreases advertising costs over time, a referral program is the way to go.  


If you’re interested in referral marketing for your business, check out how you can get started with QuickLinkt for free. It’s a great way to encourage, track and reward referrals – without breaking the bank.

Introducing Refer-a-Friend Website Widgets

refer-a-friend computerWe’re excited to announce that we’re making it even easier for businesses to increase referrals! Now, in addition to receiving referrals through the QuickLinkt Smartphone App, businesses can also allow clients to send referrals through their website with Refer-a-Friend Website Widgets. Better yet, we’re making referral software accessible to the masses by offering Refer-a-Friend Widgets for free. 

Businesses can add QuickLinkt referrals to their site by adding a Refer-a-Friend page or a Refer-a-Friend slider. Whether the business has a WordPress or custom site, the technology can be added in under 5 minutes without any coding. All referrals are tracked through the QuickLinkt Web Manager, and businesses can update or change referral incentives at any time.

With these new features, any business can use QuickLinkt to power its referral program for free. While similar services offer Referral Website Widgets with monthly subscription fees or charge per lead, we wanted to offer a digital referral solution that would be accessible to any small business or agent. Businesses can visit to create their widget and start their referral program without entering any credit card information.

Business that are already running referral programs using QuickLinkt mobile referrals can also use these features at no additional cost. By logging into the Web-Managemet System, you can access your Refer-a-Friend Widget and Slider under the Settings menu. You can also find detailed instructions on adding referrals to your website in our Help Desk.

By increasing the number of ways businesses can receive referrals, we’re making easier for customers to share their favorite businesses and for businesses to increase leads. If you’d like to learn more about our new Refer-a-Friend Website Widgets or starting your free referral program, visit or feel free to email us at

What’s My Specialty? The Benefits of Niche Marketing for Real Estate Professionals

niche marketing

A lot of times when marketing, new Real Estate agents try to reach as many people as possible. They chase every opportunity and desperately work to turn potentials into clients.

But being everything to everyone is a tall order. It’s extremely expensive to market to multiple segments – not to mention difficult to be knowledgeable about all of their needs.

Instead, wise agents focus efforts on a particular niche – a subset of the market that has specific needs and represents a profitable demographic. While large agencies can cover many specialities, individual agents focus on specific niches – whether its condos, a specific neighborhood or revenue properties. Even if you haven’t intentionally carved out your market niche, you probably see similarities in the types of properties you sell and clients you work with.

Susan Freidmann, author of Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a Small Market supports becoming well-known as an expert in a niche because of 4 main reasons:

  • There’s less competition in niche markets
  • Efficiencies are created in research & marketing
  • You can demand premium prices because you’re seen as an expert
  • You benefit from increased visibility in your marketplace

And better yet, focusing on a niche market drives referrals. When you become known as the go-to-guy or -gal for selling historic homes or working with first time buyers, business connections know exactly the type of clients to refer to you. Better yet, because these clients are looking for what you specialize in, they’re easier to close.

Referrals from past clients also become simple. Remember the age-old saying Birds of a Feather Flock Together? Well, chances are that your past clients’ social networks are full of similar people that fit your niche – whether it’s newly married couples looking for their first home, or retirees wanting to downsize.

So, whether you choose to stick with a strongly defined niche for your entire career or have a more fluid approach where your niche changes with market trends, creating your niche is powerful for growing your business and increasing referrals.

And let’s face it, you’ll also have a killer answer when potentials ask what you specialize in.

How to Grow Your Referral Network: The Real Estate Edition

Any real estate agent has likely heard of their Sphere of Influence. Your Sphere of Influence is also your Referral Network – the personal and business connections that send you referrals and connect you with new clients ready to buy or sell. It’s the most powerful tool for decreasing advertising costs and minimizing your time to close –  the golden ticket for new agents to get their feet on the ground and veterans to stay competitive.

So, if you’re a Real Estate agent looking to increase your SOI and grow referrals, think about the following groups.


Family, Friends & Personal Connections
Your personal connections are usually the simplest place to start. Your friends and family should know you’re a Realtor (pretty obvious), but make sure they also know your brokerage/brand, specialties, clientele, closing rates, community outreach, etc. This is especially important for new agents – let personal connections know that you’ve made a career change and why you’re passionate about real estate.

Current Clients
Current real estate clients are an easy source of referrals. While you may feel awkward asking clients you’re actively working with, it’s actually relatively easy. The clients you’re representing have real estate on their mind – they’re discussing real estate with friends and family, and I guarantee your name has come up in these conversations.

Past Clients
Your past clients understand your specialties and the excellent customer service you provide. Your most recent clients provide the best opportunities because they’re still buzzing about how great you are, but make sure to foster these referral sources with follow up after the sale.

Community Connections
Are you active in your PTA? Running Club? Church group? Local charity? These groups are sources for new clients and referrals. Being active in community organizations is a simple way to connect with your clientele. For example, if you sell family homes in residential areas,  participating in your children’s school fundraisers is a great way to grow your network while giving back to the community.

Business Connections
Do you work with mortgage brokers, contractors, home decorators, property managers, lawyers, landscapers? Of course you do -as a real estate agent you have an intricate web of business connections that can connect you with qualified leads. For business connections, the best way to drive referrals is to be generous. (No I’m not saying to reduce your commission). Send referrals to your trusted service providers, and watch the favor be returned.


While this list might sound daunting, getting high quality referrals from your SOI is much easier than cold calls. And knowing that customers trust recommendations from family and friends more than any form of advertising, growing your referral network should be a top priority for any agent.


How to Increase Referrals: Tips and Tricks for Rewards

At QuickLinkt, business owners often ask us if they should reward referrals. Obviously, there’s a balance between rewarding customers for making referrals, incentivizing referred customers to try your business and not discounting prices too much. So, we thought we’d outline some of the different reward types available, and when to use them.


No Rewards
Businesses can choose a traditional approach to referrals by not offering incentives or rewards. You can still use QuickLinkt for these referral programs – customers can submit referrals from their Smartphone or your website and Facebook page, and you can track program success. This structure solves the problem of how much to reward/discount, but you may not see a big increase in referrals at launch. That being said, if you work in an industry with pricing regulation and have a loyal client base, this program could be perfect.

One-Sided Rewards
It’s been found that offering a reward increases the likelihood of referrals – so with QuickLinkt you can reward customers for referrals. Rewards are only achieved when referrals result in new business (like a mortgage refinance or home sale), so customers send quality leads. This type of referral program is perfect if there aren’t switching costs for new customers (ie. they don’t have to pay out the rest of their old gym membership), and if trust is a major factor in the purchase decision  – like choosing the best financial planner based on how they helped your parents with retirement.

Two-Sided Rewards
If you really want to bring out the big guns, you can create 2-sided referral incentives. Customers share discounts or offers with friends and family, and then are rewarded once offers are redeemed. The obvious advantage of this program is that customers are encouraged to make referrals, and referred customers have an incentive to try your business. This type of referral program is also awesome because it encourages customers to share offers over social media and increase your social media exposure. And since customers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals, 2-sided rewards are perfect for growing your customer base.


So at the end of the day, we see successful referral programs with each reward type. It’s about choosing the best reward type for your industry, publicizing your referral program, making it simple for customers and getting the proper analytics to track success. What reward structure have you found the best for your business?

Awesome Referral Programs: Airbnb

Airbnb is a unique online marketplace that allows people to list, find and book accommodations around the globe. Anyone can list their condo, house, cabin or even castle on the site and receive bookings from travelers wanting a unique, local experience. Like any business, word-of-mouth is a powerful source of growth for Airbnb: travelers share their awesome holidays with friends and family, and people who list their space attest to the safety, ease and practicality of Airbnb.


Despite so much growth coming from referrals, the company’s Jason Bosinoff described Airbnb’s official referral program as outdated and underutilized. Information on the referral program was hidden on the company’s website and users couldn’t make referrals from the mobile app. The referral program needed a revamp.

So, Airbnb went to work building its program. It ended up seeing an increase in signups by 300% per day. Looking at these incredible results, there’s some clear takeaways that any business should keep in mind when designing referral programs.


1. Incentivize

If you want to increase the number of referrals AND the number of referrals that result in new business, it’s best to create 2-way referral incentives. With Airbnb, the incentive was simple – refer a friend and you’ll both get a $25 travel credit when they book their first trip. The 2-way incentive is perfect because it encourages both new customers to try your business, and increases loyalty from your current customer base.

2. Make it Accessible

One of the main learnings from Airbnb is that it needs to be easy for your customers to make referrals. The company made its referral program far more visible on its website and launched mobile referrals from its iOS and Android app. Allowing customers to submit referrals from their Smartphone allowed for in-the-moment referrals, and ensured that users would never miss an opportunity to invite their friends to use Airbnb. 

3. Track, Track, Track

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Before re-designing and launching its new referral program, Airbnb developed clear success metrics and then measured and improved them once the program was launched. Its metrics included:

  • Monthly Active Users Sending Invites
  • Invitees per Inviter
  • Conversion Rate to New User
  • Conversion Rate to New Guest
  • Conversion Rate to New Host

No matter how you structure your referral program, decide how you determine success and make measurement part of the process to improve success.


There you have it! Basic principles learned from Airbnb’s referral program. So whether you’re a realtor, freelance photographer, crossfit coach… you name it, you can start your referral program by following this advice.



5 Tips for Increasing Client Referrals

referralFor most businesses, referrals are the number one way to gain new clients. Referral programs are so powerful because they decrease advertising costs, deliver high-quality leads and leverage a business’ best asset – its satisfied clients. But despite the power of referrals, setting up successful referral programs isn’t always so easy. 83% of clients agree that they’re willing to refer a business, but only 29% follow through.

The simple truth is that there’s a gap between a business’ number of satisfied clients and the number of clients making referrals. So if you deliver an excellent customer experience (which I assume you are) but aren’t getting many referrals, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you increase the success of your referral program.  

1. Let Clients know Up Front When you sign-up a new member or have the initial client consultation, introduce your referral program. It’s a great time to let clients know that you value their loyalty.

2. Make It Visible Clients should easily know how your referral program works. Consider adding a “Refer Us” page on your website or tab on your Facebook page, and including your referral program in print advertising.

3. Use Email Communications as Reminders Make sure to mention your referral program in your electronic communication. Include a reminder in your newsletters or link to the referral program in your email signature.

4. Let Clients Make Referrals Anytime One of the difficulties of referral programs is that clients forget them at the perfect moment to make a referral – like when a colleague asks about their recent move. Allow clients to submit referrals from their Smartphone so you don’t miss these opportunities.

5. Just Ask! If you have a solid base of satisfied clients, you don’t need to be sheepish about asking for referrals. Identify the best times in the buying cycle – like after a house sale closes – and use these opportunities to to ask for referrals.  


The bottom line is that your clients can’t participate in a referral program if they don’t know it exists! By using some of these simple strategies and making the referral process easy, you can leverage your happy clients and increase referrals. What techniques does your business use to build loyalty and increase word of mouth?