Why Relationships Are Everything in Real Estate
By Colin Ryan
About Agent Basics
Every agent is glued to his iPhone or laptop screen these days. However, it’s important to remember on the other side of all those zeroes and ones are real people, and they’re the ones who keep your business going.
Relationships are your bread and butter—and when we say that, we’re not talking the little dinner rolls you fill up on before your meal arrives.
To understand how to maximize your relationships as a real estate agent, start by asking the basic questions: who do you know, and who knows you? The answers will go far in revealing the extent of your sphere of influence, the collection of people for whom you and your business have weight. The greater your sphere of influence, the more of a magnet you become for prospects—and the better your chances of turning them into customers.
The cliché goes that real estate is all about location, location, location. This isn’t just about inventory: it’s about involvement. To maximize your business, you need to participate in your community. Join your local Realtor’s association. Coach a little league team. Attend town government meetings. Get exposure in the flesh, and make sure people know what you do.
By showing you’re interested in the life of your community, you demonstrate that you have a personal stake in all the business you do as a real estate agent. You should also treat everyone you meet with the same courtesy and attention, no matter who they are or what they can do for you—after all, you never know who may become a customer.
Quality Over Quantity
Knowing and being known by as many people as possible is crucial, especially when there aren’t a lot of prospects to go around. But while quantity is good, quality is even better. Visibility is great, but if your only goal is to get everyone and anyone on the hook, knowing everybody in town will actually work against you. Your reputation in your community greatly influences your trade. People obviously want to work with agents they trust.
The most sustainable business model is one in which your transactions with others are always mutually beneficial. Real estate, is about making money; but focus too much on your profit margins, and you’ll find you have fewer and fewer customers looking to hand theirs over.
The Long View
Finally, once you’ve established your relationships, it’s vital to keep them up, whether or not they’re making you money right now. Follow up with recent customers to see how they’re settling in. Distribute an email newsletter to all your clients. Send personalized notes and birthday cards. Use social media and maintain a presence online. If you feel like you haven’t spoken to an old customer in a while, send them an email to ask how they’re doing. The gesture only takes a minute or two, and it can pay huge dividends in the long run.
Each contact you make has a value, and each customer has a lifetime value. Lose contact with your prospects, leads and customers, and you’ll be squandering your greatest asset.
Have a story about the impact of relationships on your real estate business? Share it in the comments!
Published on December 30, 2011