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The Real Estate Relationship Business

If you want to make it in real estate sales, it pays to know the difference between an attractor and a seeker. An attractor casts a wide marketing net and then waits for a prospect to bite. A seeker proactively builds and manages a base of friends and acquaintances with an eye towards doing business along the way.

From first handshake to handing over the house keys, learn how to build, maintain, and maximize your customer connections for sales success.

In these still-dodgy times for the real estate industry, it’s vitally important to be proactive in your quest for customers. But creating pathways to successful relationships depends on far more than e-mail blasts or depleting your supply of business cards at a cocktail party. Consumers continue to be more knowledgeable as a result of all of the information they have available to them. Be able to demonstrate value. And in this modern age, value is often measured in intangibles ,by being true, genuine, and honest.

Here are our 3 Enlightening Steps to thrive in "The Real Estate Relationship Business"

Step 1: Build Strong Bonds

Each day holds new possibilities for creating connections. When you find people with whom you have something in common, relationships are likely to sprout. They can occur over shared interests. When we discover similarities, we form deeper and lasting connections. Eventually, those connections may lead to business—but they don’t have to start there.

Being visible and active in the community is the best way to find new business.

Formal networking or referral groups can help you expand your reach, too. You can find success through routes that fit your particular interest, too.

Connect deeply via online social networks.

If you’re going to spend time on online social networks, do it with a keen understanding of what each network delivers.

Strengthen your reputation in a "no-sales pressure" environment.

Have a “wing man” sing your praises.

Boasting about your own sales record and accomplishments can come across as arrogant. But if you can get others to say it for you, it’s powerful. Getting friends to introduce you to their peers, for example, gives you built-in credibility. Testimonials on your site or social media accounts can be just as powerful. Written reviews from satisfied customers enable trust to be formed more quickly.

Step 2: Maintenance Mode

You’ve made the introduction and extended the handshake. How do you keep this budding relationship growing?

Start off with a blitz.

Get in touch with a prospect eight times within eight weeks following an introduction. The program centers on the idea that people need to be exposed to something eight times before they remember it—and that “it” includes you. The forms of contact will differ (for instance, phone, e-mail, postcards, and so on) and should be tailored to that person (such as potential first-time home buyer or seller). The content could include anything from a “thinking of you” card to mortgage information to a market comparison of the person’s neighborhood.

Get attention with the occasional less-than-serious notes.

Need to add muscle to a blog post, e-mail, or other communications? Have fun and celebrate non traditional holidays. Invite your prospects over for a sweet get-together on Feb. 7 to celebrate “National Chocolate Fondue Day.” A real estate agent with a good sense of humor is more likely to have a positive reputation as someone customers want to work with. Just be sure to balance it out.

The thought really does count.

Offer something extra than handwritten notes to acknowledge birthdays, graduations, wedding anniversaries, a new baby, and even a pet’s birthday. Tailor your approach to the client.

Get face-to-face.

Avoid becoming just a name on someone’s social network or a spam in an e-mail in-box. Put in some face time with your prospects. Some real estate professionals do this by holding an office open house, a special dinner, or a fund-raiser for a local charity. Even if there’s no explicit conversation about real estate, the meetings are valuable to strengthen relationships. Remember, though, in order to count such a lunch as a business expense for federal tax purposes, the main purpose of the lunch must be business; you must discuss business before, during, or after the meal; and you must have a reasonable expectation of generating income or some other business benefit.

Step 3: Get Down to Business

Just being the nice guy won’t get you to the closing table. You eventually need to get down to business.

The value of taking an adaptive selling approach, in other words, take your clients’ preferred communication style, values, emotions, and needs into account in how you serve them. The agents who are the most successful tend to look for ways to meet [prospective clients’] individual psychological and emotional needs in the sales process.

Have a point of view.

Agents are most effective when they not only adapt to their client’s style but also look for ways to make clear, explicit suggestions that advise a specific course of action.

Watch for turnoffs.

Housing data, sales scripts, and incentives can all be useful tools to a point. But relying on them too much can actually backfire. Too much information can sometimes cause people to back off or feel overwhelmed.

Buttering people up with incentives may not be effective either. They don’t want to feel pressured to make a decision.

And while sales scripts can be a useful guide to navigate various client situations, they can potentially undermine those interactions. People have unique personalities, life histories, and goals that don’t fit into one script. So be flexible enough to tailor your presentation to individual clients.

Inspire gratitude.

A considerate gesture can go a long way. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that makes others want to reciprocate.

After receiving a benefit, people feel a deep-rooted psychological pressure to reciprocate. As the saying goes, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

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