By Sherri Johnson, CEO & Founder, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting
We all know in real estate sales and marketing, you have to have a lot of leads in your pipeline of potential buyers and sellers in order to hit your monthly and annual goals.
However, too much focus on "lead gen" can be harmful to your referral business and your business reputation. While lead generation is a strategy and it can and will increase your business opportunities, it is vitally important to focus on the relationship you have with each client. Follow these wise tips when it comes to strengthening your relationships with your clients so that you are creating clients for life, and referrals from clients who trust you and have total confidence in you, and you will create more business than you ever knew existed.
1. Focus on the client's needs, not just the immediate sale. This is a long-term endeavor sometimes, and other times, clients have immediate needs. Regardless of their timeline focus on them and what’s best for them. Work at your client's pace and speed. Ask them better questions to help find out what’s in their best financial interest. Whether their needs are immediate or long-term, meet them where they are and stay with them. When you find the right house, or their needs or plans change, you will be the one to maximize that opportunity. This is about building a relationship on trust and confidence with them, and adding tremendous value to them. We need to look at the value of having a long-term relationship and not just a turned, one-time transaction.
2. Personal relationships are in person. You are best when you are face-to-face with people. You are magnetic, enthusiastic and most effective at reading your client's body language when you are in person. A personal relationship is just that—personal. Getting a live phone call instead of a text or email for a birthday wish, or just keeping in touch with people to grab coffee during a weekend or work day, is keeping relationship alive. You will have more success in developing the relationships with your clients by keeping them live and in-person.
3. Best to communicate verbally, not on text or email. You would never want emotional (possibly bad or negative) news sent to you via text or email from your doctor or lawyer, right? Sending texts for factual information works well, but emotional dialogue or feedback on showings, or trying to negotiate an offer or home inspection process? Not so much. Remember: Most of the process is emotionally-driven, and this is where people live and raise kids. Moving, buying or selling a home is one of the top five most stressful events in a person's life. It is better to have something take a bit longer than to send a text or email and risk ruining or jeopardizing the relationship. Pick up the phone if you are more than one sentence into an email or are communicating emotional information. The best salespeople listen to emotion, not facts. If not in-person where you can see body language, at least on the phone you can pick up on tone and be able to respond better and more quickly. There is less room for misunderstandings, too.
4. Be their only resource for real estate counsel. A friend and industry icon, Allan Dalton, just commented recently on a panel I moderated that people have one doctor, one accountant and one lawyer and, yet, have multiple REALTORS®. By focusing on a genuine and value-added relationship, you can become their only real estate agent for life. Being their only resource and truly not expecting anything in return is the best approach. You want to earn their trust and confidence and offer your exclusive and different services, and while you are ready when they are, in the meantime, you should be consulted for anything, anytime. You will become their one real estate agent for life, and they will refer you business year-round. It truly works.
When you take the approach with your team that each of you are building long-term relationships with your clients, you will create clients for life. Real estate sales is a relationship business. Make sure to value those personal relationships and nurture them and keep them close. Your client book of business is your key to a very long and successful real estate career.
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Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With 20 years of experience in real estate, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynotes, and is a national speaker for the Homes.com Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 844-989-2600 (toll-free) or visit www.sherrijohnson.com.