demonstrates that in these still-dodgy times for the real estate industry,
it's vitally important to be proactive in your quest for customers.
The Relationship Business - Part 1
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
Are you an attractor or a seeker? If you want to
make it in real estate sales, it pays to know the difference. An attractor
casts a wide marketing net—using the Internet or direct mail—and then waits
for a prospect to bite. A seeker proactively builds and manages a base of
friends and acquaintances with an eye toward doing business down the road.
The condition of your local housing market dictates
which approach will ultimately lead to more sales. Research from the Keller
Center at Baylor University shows that in healthy markets, a mix of 60
percent attract-oriented and 40 percent seek-oriented activities delivered
the highest lead generation conversion. In weak markets, just the opposite
is true. There, a 60–40 emphasis on seek strategies—phone calls, networking,
and acquiring referrals—yields more appointments and, ultimately, closed
transactions, says Chris Pullig, who conducted the 2008 study of about 1,200
real estate professionals.
Pullig’s research demonstrates that 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,” says Pullig. “You need to be able to demonstrate value.” And in this
modern age, value is often measured in intangibles, he says. “It comes from
forming a solid relationship and by being true, genuine, and honest.”
Read on for more enlightening research, as well as
great ideas from your peers, on how to build thriving and sustainable
business—one relationship at a time.
Step 1: Building Bonds
Every 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—butterfly gardens, Bundt cake
recipes, bike riding—or shared friends. “If you and I have someone in common
or a common interest, that makes me like you a little more and want to chat
more,” says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of
The 11 Laws of Likability
(AMACOM, 2012). “When we discover similarities, we form deeper and more
Eventually, those connections may lead to business—but they don’t have to
(story continues below)
Turn every interaction into a business building opportunity.
Allen “Al” Rusca, ABR, e-PRO, wears his “Diane Turton, REALTORS®” name badge
around town. “That badge opens many doors for me when the inevitable
question arises: ‘How’s the real estate market these days?’ ” says Rusca, a
salesperson based in Ocean Grove, N.J. “I’ve gotten business from the local
coffee shop, the barber shop, the dry cleaners, the grocery store, the gas
station, the doctor’s office, the bank, my church, the local senior center,
and more. Being visible and active in the community is the best way to find
Formal networking or referral groups, such as chambers of commerce or BNI,
can help you expand your reach, too. BNI is an organization with chapters
across the country. Only one person per professional specialty joins each
chapter. The reason: Pros from different fields network and swap referrals.
You can find success through routes that fit your particular interest, too.
Diana Baylor, a sales associate with RE/MAX Masters in Covina, Calif.,
builds relationships through the California Women’s Conference and charity
events benefiting cancer prevention programs.
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. Pinterest, for example, has
been called a “woman’s social network.” The site—which enables you to pin
Web content you like to your personal or business page and share it with
your Pinterest followers—has an audience that’s more than 82 percent female.
Because women are big influencers in home purchase decisions—and “home” is
the No. 1 category of “pins” on Pinterest, according to a study by R.J.
Metrics—it may be a good play for making meaningful connections with female
buyers. (Pinterest recently added the ability to create business pages and
created separate terms of service for businesses.)
One enthusiast is Sue Eller, a sales associate with Dilbeck Real Estate Real
Living in La Canada, Calif., who has pinned hundreds of photos of local
architectural gems, parks, and more. “Pinterest is a good way to build
affinity marketing by connecting over not just real estate but also hobbies
and interests,” Eller says. Eller posts architectural photos she loves on
her Web site and uses Pinterest to drive traffic there. Her Pinterest page
also includes categories such as “How to Make Your Home Sellable,” “Favorite
Homes I Have Sold,” and “Gardening and Gardens.”<![endif]>
Strengthen your reputation in an environment where there’s no sales
pressure. Bryce Fuller, a broker with Coldwell Banker in Northbrook, Ill., hosts a
neighborhood open house each year. It’s a way to meet the neighbors and
establish himself as the local expert with a vested interest in home values.
Fuller provides each family that attends with a neighborhood market
analysis. “The BBQ allows people to approach me, get to know me, and ask
questions,” he says. “As they spend more time around me, their comfort level
increases. That comfort level and trust coupled with my listing signs and
activity in the subdivision is a one-two punch that can’t be beat.”
Tip:Have a “wingman” sing your praises.
Boasting about your own sales record and accomplishments can come across as
arrogant, says Kurt W. Mortensen, author of The Laws of Charisma
(AMACOM, 2010). 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, Mortensen says. Testimonials on your Web site or
LinkedIn account can be just as powerful. “Written reviews from satisfied
customers enable trust to be formed more quickly,” says Michael Davenport, a
broker-associate with King Realty Associates LLC in Sarasota, Fla.
Don’t miss Part 2 of
The Relationship Business for Steps 2 and 3 in Working RE’s
next Agent-Broker Newsletter.
*Reprinted from the January/February 2013 issue of REALTOR Magazine
by permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. Copyright 2013. All
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