Track Property Management ReferralsBy now, you’ve reflected on whether your property management company is ready for a referral program and you’ve outlined or documented some program guidelines.  Now, as promised, I am going to provide you with some insight about tracking referrals, issuing rewards, and keeping your partners motivated.

There are 2 key ingredients needed to accurately track referrals:

  • A clear referral channel
  • A contact management database
Tracking Referrals from Local Professionals & Clients

1. A Clear Referral Channel
You absolutely must make it simple to refer business to you. Your company website is conveniently available at all times of day and night, making it accessible with very little effort.  Make it simple for clients and local partners (like real estate agents) to send a prospect your way by including a referral form in your company website.  A web based referral form can capture the referral partner or client’s name and the referral date so you can easily find a list of referrals submitted within a specific date range.

2. A Contact Management Database
Ideally, the referral web form is integrated with a CRM (customer relationship management database) so that a contact record is created and the related follow up calls and processes are set into motion. Your contact management system should also include a way to track the status of the prospect. You will need to know when the prospect transitions to a client so you can send your partner the promised reward, and track the fact that you followed through.

There are other ways to receive leads, like email or phone. There are also other ways to keep a list of leads, like an Excel spreadsheet. However, these methods are not nearly as systematic. These alternative solutions make it harder to track & maintain a referral history for a partner. They are also more prone to error and “dropped balls.” A contact database system still requires some management, but it makes it easier to run reports, track history, and more.

Tracking Referrals from Online Businesses & Associations

1. A Clear Referral Channel
It is equally important to put a strategy in place to “capture” the referrals who visit your website from links in partner websites and emails.  These are not as easy to track and a good system is even more important here.

These referrals are probably not as “hot” as the leads you receive through other sources. They may not be ready to talk with you yet. They are more likely to be in the information gathering stage, looking for free tips and strategies that will help them make some choices (e.g. self manage vs. hire a property manager).

I’ve seen a lot of property management companies offer a free market analysis.  This is a great option for the “nearly ready to sign” prospect, but not so great for the “checking out all my options” one.  Instead, think of some kind of free advice you can send a bit at a time over a short period (like 30 days). This strategy will help you collect more leads through your website, period, even if you are not going to use this referral partner strategy in your business.

2. A Contact Management Database
Tracking online referrals is harder than tracking direct referrals.  It also requires a web based signup form and a contact database. It may also include tracking links that:

  • Identify the referral
  • Connect the referral to the partner who sent them your way

As mentioned before, you need to know when a referral becomes a client. The necessary information should all be in one place so you can easily find a list of partners who are eligible for a referral reward and issue that reward in a timely manner.

There are solutions that show you part of the picture. For instance, you can view the number of visitors from a specific website through Google Analytics. However, as of right now, you can’t tie that visitor to an actual real, live individual person. The same holds true with other link tracking solutions (like bitly). They only tell you how many people clicked on a specific link, but won’t tell you who they were. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need a comprehensive system that does more than count visitors and clicks.

Don’t Forget to Communicate!

Successful referral partner programs include an intentional strategy for nurturing partner relationships and remaining visible.  This could be as simple as including them on your owner or tenant email newsletter lists, or creating a newsletter specifically for partners.

CRM Options to Explore

Microsoft® Access (create a custom database)

Zoho | Highrise | Salesforce – Will probably satisfy your need for a CRM, but may not have the additional web form and tracking link capabilities.

Real Estate Specific Options
I found these through some Google searches. I don’t know much about them, but they may be worth a look.

Rethink  | LeaseProducer  | propertyBase

Dee Allomong - Director of Marketing for LandlordSource

Dee Allomong has over 10 years of experience in Internet technology and strategic marketing. You can reach her at

Disclaimer: LandlordSource does not represent the article content in this website as legal advice. It is shared information only and up to the reader to use this information responsibly, seeking legal advice as necessary to their business.