Real estate is a people business.
I hope you are constantly doing activities to get your head in the game, like pre viewing properties and attending open houses. These activities are vital to your transformation into a real estate professional, but without any clients, real estate is nothing more than just a hobby. How do you find the people to apply your business knowledge to? How do you get your first deal and all the other deals to follow?
Some people build their business by paying for leads. It might work for them, but I don’t do it. Here’s why.
- I only want to work with people who I know want to work with me
- I refuse to pay a random third party to send me buyer leads that should belong to another agent. (I have a post coming soon that discusses this topic)
- My life is about relationships, and so is my business. I don’t buy my friends, so why would I buy my clients?
My people, my sphere:
Since I won’t pay for leads or cold call, I came up with a better way to build my business. I introduce my love and knowledge of all things real estate to the people I know and like in order to make deals happen.
Here is how you can do it:
- Grab a notebook or pad of paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it has to be paper. Although I am a tree hugger and most of my business is paperless, this exercise is most effective when written out by hand.
- Start making a list of people you know. Think of all the people you can, and write their names down. You are creating your Sphere of Influence, which is just a fancy term for “all the people you know”. At this stage, do not worry about having to contact them. Slow down, breathe, and just write. You are brainstorming, which means that you let your mind go and dump all of the names onto the page. You do not have to think about what you will do with the names. Just write, dump, and keep writing. Do this for as long as you can until you can’t think of any more names. Then put it aside and do something else.
- As you are engaged in other activities, new names will pop into your head. Grab your notebook and write them down. Did you just make a dentist appointment? Write down your dentist’s name. Did your daughter just tell you she needs 36 cupcakes for school tomorrow? Think about the parents. That could add another six dozen names to your list! Keep your eyes open all the time for people you know and get them on the list. Aim to have your list as long as possible. Get as many names on there as you can. You might be surprised at how many people you know.
Put that list to work!
HOW: At the end of each workday, take out your list and and grab a highlighter. Look it over and see which names jump out at you. Aim for 5 each day and mark them off. These are the people you are going to touch tomorrow.
Think about why these 5 names caught your attention and how you are going to reach out to them. Here are a few examples of how I might choose people to touch:
- I preview a condo today, and it happens to be in the same building where my friend lives, I will think of that friend as I am in the building. When I look over my sphere that evening, his name will jump out at me. I will highlight it and make a plan to email him the listing with a note about the unit. This information will be interesting and useful to him since he lives there and may care about property values, saying goodbye to a moving neighbor, or getting one of his relatives to buy it so they could live in the same building and babysit his kids. Whatever he decides to do with the information is his choice, but my purpose for sending it is to give him a gift. I have no expectations, no end goal in mind.
- I go out with friends and drink an entire bottle of wine (don’t judge me- I know you have done it too). I do something stupid and it reminds me of that wild night I had with an old coworker where we laughed until we cried. It makes me miss her, so I text her the next day to invite her to coffee so we can sit and laugh at ourselves.
- I read the paper and an article makes me think of someone. I find the article online and send him the link.
- A new Greek restaurant opened and I have a friend who lives for olives and ouzo. I call her and ask her to meet me there for happy hour.
- There is a clearance sale at my neighbor’s favorite store, so I take picture of the sign in the store window and text it to her.
Touching people is more than simply contacting them. Instead of coming up with an excuse to call someone to tell them all about you, touch them in a way so the focus is on them.
WHY: Touching people is an easy way to open a conversation and connect, and since your real estate career is in the forefront of your mind, most often it will naturally come up in conversation. Remember, real estate is a people business, so the more people you connect with, the more opportunities you have to do deals. There are also other benefits to touching people:
- Talk to people and get unstuck from your daily routine.
- Enjoy your life so it doesn’t always feel like work. Talk to people about real stuff that matters. Make it personal and genuine.
- Remind people that you exist and rekindle old connections.
- Get in the habit of building relationships rather than spending the day wasted on dead end administrative tasks or behind your computer or phone.
- Brighten someone’s day by letting them know you are thinking of them.