The first thing that any sales or business class teaches is that building authentic relationships is important in any and all business. In real estate, agents are helping their clients with life decisions that may not only impact them financially, but personally and mentally as well. Some clients may be starting a new chapter in their life, while others may be going through enormous life changes. You may be interacting with your clients at their most vulnerable state in life, which forms a connection, unlike many other industries. The relationships that you build with all clients, family, and friends will have an effect on your business. Leveraging your personal and professional network to help build your business is one skill that top realtors live by. The best real estate training will teach you how to use these networks to expand your client base. However, activating your network is not something that can happen overnight, but a process that can take months and even years.
Value All Your Relationships
When thinking about your relationships, top realtors recommend immediately starting to add value with every person you interact with. Examples:
- Helping co-workers and other agents with resources that you think they’d find helpful
- Taking friends or family members out to coffee or lunch for the simple sake of “catching up”
- Sending Christmas cards to past clients and thank you notes to everyone who has greatly helped you this year
Provide Your Network With The Right Information.
We all have those family and friends who ask what you do every time they see you. Sometimes showing your network what you do can leave a better impression. Always be sure to share your branded web page and social media profiles with your network. Take the time to digitally connect with everyone you know personally and professionally. When creating your content, make sure that it is appealing to a general audience so that more people engage and potentially share your information with their networks. Brand yourself professionally, yet keep the same character and personality that your network knows and loves. Be sure to regularly update your profiles to reflect your recent real estate work and progress so those you may not see often are still updated on your recent business. Avoid posting too much yet post enough to show reminders that you’re ready and willing to help your network buy or sell. Another way to engage them beyond social media is to add them to a once a month email list. Use that email to showcase some fun statistics, gorgeous homes, or honorable achievements on your part. Email newsletters are a great way to get content to your network that they can then forward on.
Successful real estate agents have recommended giving your close family and friends business cards for them to hand out to potential clients. Those who work in industries where they are in contact with many people a day (Uber drivers, hair stylists, bartenders etc.) are more likely to have personal conversations with people who could be potential clients. If they do happen to produce a referral turned client, make sure to thank them in a meaningful way and timely manner.
Know When To Leverage Your Network.
Timing is everything. There may never be a perfect moment to ask for leads, referrals, or favors from your network, but knowing these tips may help you choose the best moment for you. There are 3 questions you can ask yourself to help you decide:
- Is there an authentic amount of trust built within the relationship?
- Are you able to clearly communicate the message in a way that is respectful yet simple?
- Is the timing right on their end or do they seem stressed/overwhelmed and preoccupied?
Keep up with your network’s milestones and accomplishments. Social media is a great way to keep tabs on people who you may not talk to every day. For example, use LinkedIn to monitor when people get new jobs. You can strike up a conversation by congratulating them on the transition while seeking out more details on their life. Or use Facebook to monitor life events that may soon follow with a home purchase. Engagements, weddings, babies, and graduation are all great opportunities to follow up with people to learn more.
The average person moves every 7-10 years. It’s almost a guarantee that everyone in your network knows someone who is in the process of trying to buy or sell their home. The only thing between you and these potential clients is the ask. After building trust, and deciding on the right time, be confident and ask the simple question. If you don’t ask, the answer is already no. Be clear and specific about what you want. Asking “Know anyone wanting to buy or sell their home?” will receive a completely different answer than “Can you please give me the contact information for anyone you know in the Chicago area who is serious about buying or selling a home?”. Being direct with detail can help avoid confusing follow up conversations or having to ask your contact twice. Make sure to also be intentional with your requests. Instead of asking 60 people for referrals at once, ask 6 people who you think can provide you with the quality leads you are looking for.