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Archive for relationship building

How to Build Your Sphere of Influence

Build Your Sphere of Influence

Your sphere of influence are the people who already know, like, and trust you. They’re the people you already have relationships with, and they are critical to your success in real estate.

Many times, people in your sphere will work with you on a real estate deal. Even if they don’t, they can refer you to those who are looking to buy or sell a home. The referrals can be even better than the direct work because people are likely to move occasionally, but they know others who are moving all the time!

When you gain more friends and associates, you can become even more successful. Here are some ideas on how to expand your sphere of influence.

Look for Opportunities

Not everyone is the type of person to strike up conversations with strangers in the grocery store and leave the building with a new friend. If you are, great!! Take advantage of your skill and reach out to folks you encounter.

If that’s hard for you, keep your eyes open for other opportunities. If you’re at an event and see someone standing alone, go up and talk to them. Try to get to know the friends of your existing friends and family. Join groups, such as those found on Meetup.com, where you can meet those with similar interests.

Not everyone you chat with will become a best friend, but increasing your circle of friends and acquaintances is fun and will help your business!

Build Authentic Relationships on Social Media

You probably don’t need me to tell you that not everyone on your Facebook friends list is actually a friend. However, it is a starting point. You can use the connections you make on social media as a way to start and deepen relationships.

The good news about social media is that it can be a comfortable way to connect for those who struggle talking to strangers or feel they are more introverted. The bad news is that it can be hard to build authentic relationships. Here are some ideas:

  • Practice active listening/reading online. Really pay attention to what someone says is important to them. Start conversations and join discussions.
  • Look for common interests. Use likes and comments on posts to start the conversation.
  • Use private messages for deeper connections. You can message someone and ask how a situation is going that they posted about. You can ask about their kids, or share a note about a common interest. It’s best to use private messages after you’ve connected with them publicly for a bit.

Of course, don’t friend people solely to send them a private message about your business. That’s a major turnoff for everyone! Instead, notice who you can reach out to and build an authentic friendship. You can be building relationships with multiple people at once, so that’s a big benefit!

Be a Giver

One of my friends absolutely loves the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg. It’s a simple story that shows how much giving can impact your success. This is especially true when it comes to building your sphere of influence. Give tips, advice, free worksheets, a listening ear – whatever a person needs at a particular time, try to give it.

When you become a giver, you’ll notice that you enjoy life more. Giving is simply fun! It is also a great way to build relationships and become a person that others know, like, and trust.

Once you’ve built relationships, you can start sharing more about your professional work. Offer your services, ask for referrals, send mailings and other outreach from time to time, and more. The more people you add to your sphere of influence, the more impactful this activity will be!

How to Remind Friends and Family You’re a Realtor® During the Holidays

Realtor During the Holidays

The holidays are such a crazy time for Realtors®. Business is slower, and social activities are WAY up, which means it should be a perfect time for prospecting and marketing. But you feel so weird saying, “Hey, do you want to buy a house? And can you pass the gravy?” So you don’t – you just tell yourself you’ll ramp up marketing in the new year, and sit quietly as your aunt tells the story about the raccoon… for the fifth time.

Unfortunately, this is not a good approach. When you skip networking during one of the most social, open-hearted times of the year, you’re going to be at a disadvantage when the new year arrives. Here are four ways to make sure your friends and family remember you’re a Realtor® – without being a jerk!

Send a Holiday Letter

Holiday letters are a great way to let your friends and family know how your year went and how specific members of your family are doing. They are longer than holiday cards, and allow you to go into more specifics about areas of your life including work and accomplishments. The big thing to avoid in a holiday letter is over-bragging. However, it’s great place to mention your real estate business, alongside talking about your spouse, children, pets, and more.

Join Conversations About Home Ownership

When you’re in a group of relatives or friends, it’s likely that the topic of home ownership or repair will come up. Someone will talk about needing a new water heater, or planning to put a new roof on next summer. Give helpful advice, and consider referring contractors you know and trust. When you are a trusted resource in these conversations, it will boost your friends’ and family’s respect for you. In addition, it’s the perfect time to mention that you know these things because you are a Realtor®.

Share Funny Stories About the Profession

Sitting around over pie and coffee can be a great time to get people laughing with a funny story about one of your experiences as a Realtor®. Not only is it a gentle way to remind people about your profession, making people laugh helps them enjoy being around you and remember you fondly. And they may end up sharing your story with their own friends and family, which can help spread the word about you and what you do!

Directly Ask for Referrals in Candid Conversation

There will be times when you’re in a very candid or serious conversation with someone, and you can mention that the holidays are a slow time for real estate. You can talk about your plans to ramp up business in the new year, but don’t forget to also ask directly for referrals. Your friends and family probably know someone who is planning to move next year, so ask them to put a good word in for you!

Sharing your profession over the holidays doesn’t have to mean being a jerk. Feel free to work it into a holiday letter, mention it in appropriate conversations, and directly ask for referrals from those you trust most. Then, you can enjoy your holiday cookies and coffee knowing that you’ve helped set yourself up for success in the new year!

How do you network with friends and family during the holidays? Share in the comments!

5 Ways to Develop Relationships in Your Target Neighborhood

Building Relationships

As a REALTOR®, marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Whereas most businesses cultivate a name or a brand, a REALTOR® is both the name and the brand. In essence, promoting your business means promoting yourself and your services in a particular market area.

So how do you promote yourself and make meaningful connections in your target neighborhood? It may sound difficult, but there are several ways you can do it. Here are five methods for cultivating effective relationships in a target neighborhood:

  1. Put Social Media to Work for You

I’ve talked a lot about how social media can make a difference in your real estate marketing. With one in two American adults on Facebook, social media should be a key component of your marketing efforts.

Some Realtors® are hesitant to engage in social media because they are concerned about appearing too informal, or they simply don’t know what to say. It’s important to remember the “social” side of social media. In other words, you can achieve great success by simply being yourself, as well as providing information that is interesting and valuable to your target audience.

People like to feel proud of their community. Join Facebook groups focused on specific communities and neighborhoods, and then tap into the sentiment by sharing photos of the neighborhood and relating personal stories of your interactions with community members. You might also consider posting content that is entertaining or useful, such as “10 Tips for Spring Cleaning” or “Where to Find a Pet Sitter.”

  1. Invest in the Community

This doesn’t mean you need to buy a home in the neighborhood – although if you already live there, it’s a great start! Ultimately, real estate is about people, not property. Consider investing your time in local programs or service organizations. Many communities have civic organizations that need regular volunteers. Show families and individuals in the neighborhood you care about the area and its residents – and gain some great exposure for yourself and your business in the process. Offer to plant flowers around an intersection that could use some beautifying, or donate some items to a bake sale. Even a little effort will pay off down the road.

  1. Consider Predictive Analytics

According to REALTOR® Magazine, predictive analytics is a powerful new spin on traditional door-to-door marketing. Rather than wasting valuable hours – and the soles of your shoes – knocking on doors at random, you can tap into a stream of data designed to predict which properties are likely to hit the market in upcoming months.

Predictive analytics uses computer algorithms to compile data from numerous sources, track trends, and assess the likelihood of a future sale. There are several companies and apps that have developed algorithms that scour sale records, auditor records, mortgage loan records, delinquencies, and tax records for information – something made possible by the digitization of many county and state public records.

Although it is possible to compile these records yourself and track trends without the help of a third party app, data-crunching demands time – time you need to make personal connections with potential sellers. Armed with this valuable data, you can focus your door-to-door efforts on homeowners likely to enter the market in the near future.

  1. Stay in Touch with Past Clients

You have made a sale, negotiated the closing, and sent your client a thoughtful housewarming gift. However, your work is not done. As all REALTORS® know, referrals are an important source of future business. In 2014, 40% of all buyers chose to work with an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative.

Whether you represent a buyer moving into a target neighborhood or a seller moving out, be sure to stay in touch long after the sale is final and the moving trucks have left.

There are several ways to do this. Many agents send holiday or birthday cards, and include past clients on their newsletter mailing lists. Most people put down roots in their community – even if they move away, they maintain connections in their old neighborhood. You never know when a past client will recommend you to a friend, family member, or work colleague looking to buy or sell in the same area.

  1. Build a Business Referral Network

Local businesses are the backbone of any community’s economy. Residents rely on these businesses to provide services and products. In turn, businesses thrive when people perceive them as trustworthy and reliable. As a REALTOR®, you can become part of this network of providers by building relationships with your fellow local businesses.

Getting started is much easier than you might think. Real estate clients may rely on their agents to recommend everything from landscapers to a good pizza place. If a business serves your target neighborhood, there is a good chance your clients will patronize it. Reach out to these business owners and ask about establishing a referral relationship.

Making It Work

Growing your business can be tough. With persistence and a firm commitment to making personal connections in your target neighborhood, however, your real estate business will benefit both now and down the road. These five tips will help you build the relationships you need to be successful.

What steps have been key to building relationships in your target neighborhood? Share in the comments!

 

How Not To Suck At Following-Up

Is following-up and knowing who to follow-up with one of the challenges you face in your business? Do you have a system for keeping track of names, phone numbers, email addresses and notes about your conversations? Do you have a “Customer Relationship Management Tool” (CRM tool) that helps you manage your business relationships so you know when it’s time to follow-up? If you don’t have follow-up systems in place, you’re likely struggling with being good at it and if you’re not doing a good job of following-up, you’re surely leaving a lot of business on the table…A LOT! It’s a very simple problem to fix, here’s how:

Automate…automate…automate! If you want to be great at following-up, you MUST automate every step of the follow-up process that can be automated. If it doesn’t REQUIRE human interaction or a very specific message, phone call or hand written note, you need to automate it. Anything you do repeatedly can be automated and automating your follow-up will explode your business…radically and quickly.

How to do it:
You need a way to create and manage a list of people who need following-up. The list needs to be in one central location, it needs to stay organized and I highly recommend a good CRM tool or an email marketing tool, like Constant Contact. Being great at follow-up is easy when you communicate via email and have the right tools to help you succeed. With smart phones being a new normal, email communication is an extremely effective means of keeping in touch. (This is coming from the owner of a real estate print marketing company, I might add)

The CRM tool we use is called Infusionsoft, it’s not the cheapest, but it IS absolutely the best. I spent years searching and researching CRM tools and upgrading to Infusionsoft from a more basic email marketing tool more than doubled our business immediately. It’s worth the time to schedule a demo to get the nitty gritty on what it can do for your business. Setting up a tool like this in your real estate business is like having additional staff, it’s so effective at handling follow-up.


Automating your follow-up can also be done with more basic email marketing tools like Constant Contact (offering a FREE 60-Day Trial), which also include basic list building tools and a central location for you to keep your leads that need to be followed-up on. These are great tools that are super affordable and will allow you to get your feet wet with email marketing and automating certain aspects of your follow-up. You can easily create registration forms, contact forms and it’s an easy way to get the people you meet in to your database. You can schedule email messages to be sent out at specified times that are just as personal as if you sat and wrote it at the time it was sent.

Emails for Small Business with Constant Contact

How to get started:
The first thing you need to do with any email marketing program is to get your contacts in to the database. All email marketing tools will allow you to upload your database as long as it is in a MS Excel or .csv format. There are very specific step-by-step instructions on how to upload your database and once you get it uploaded…you’re done! It will take you about 1o minutes if you have your database in the required format. If you don’t have a list in excel, start one immediately and work at it all day, every day until you have at least 100 people on your list you can follow-up and get in contact with.

Once you’ve uploaded your contacts:
You will need to create different email lists that your prospects and customers will be in depending on where they are in your sales cycle. You will create your email lists within the email marketing tool.
Time Saving Tip: To segment your list faster, you can create separate spreadsheets, so that when you upload your “buyers list”, you can assign everyone to the “buyers list” when you upload. You need to set your lists up in the email marketing tool prior to uploading.

You might want to create lists that include:

  • Buyers
  • Sellers
  • Past Clients
  • Referrals
  • Website leads
  • Facebook leads
  • Open House Follow-Up
  • In Escrow
  • Top Referral Partners
  • Etc

By segmenting your database and creating separate lists, you will be able to automate much more and be much more specific and personal with your automated follow-up. Buyers wouldn’t receive the same follow-up that sellers would receive and you definitely don’t want to be marketing to people who are “in escrow”, so they need a separate list too!

This is the most important step in getting started with automating your follow-up and getting some purpose and organization around your follow-up. Once you get your contacts uploaded and start keeping them in one tidy place so you can follow-up, your business will truly explode. Now all you have to do is set-up the actual following-up process which is also very easy and will save you a ton of time once it’s complete. Make sure you subscribe to Real Estate Marketing Magazine, so you don’t miss part 2 of “How Not To Suck At Following-Up”. Get those contacts organized and uploaded so you’re ready for step 2.