For Realtors, there is nothing more important than the ability to build sustainable relationships with people. These relationships are the key to your success and the stronger they are, the more successful you’ll be. Everyone you meet is a potential client and/or a referral source and referrals are the bread and butter of this business. Without any referrals, you can’t really consider real estate a career because after every deal you’re effectively starting all over again. To get a solid foothold in this very competitive industry you need to build enduring relationships. This is not something that comes naturally to most people, but it’s the only way you’re going to grow your business. There is only one way to do this and that is by finding ways to get close to the people you meet in everyday life.
How to Build Close Relationships
Close meaningful relationships evolve over a period of time, usually in a series of four stages:
At first, someone becomes aware of you. They see one of your ads, hear about you in conversation or see you at a conference making a presentation. Then, they meet you. They may have been seated at your table, talked with you about real estate, the two of you got to know each other’s thoughts on things and exchanged a little personal information.
In the next stage of establishing the relationship, they like you. You have revealed enough about yourself that they feel they know who you are. You’ve told them what you value in life and the two of you share some of the same qualities and interests.
Lastly, they trust you and value your advice enough to ask for it on occasion. You make a point of staying in touch on a regular basis, sharing a meal now and then, sharing your real estate expertise, and establishing that you are someone who can be trusted, personally and professionally.
Most Realtors place their sole focus on stage one, building awareness through their advertising and marketing efforts, by making cold calls and holding open houses. They just want to get their name out there. Very few make the effort to progress to stage two by getting to know others and letting others know them. Or, they go about this the wrong way by bombarding people with mass emails in an attempt to reach them directly. But these efforts fall flat at best, or at worst they drive people away.
Don’t get me wrong, I would not recommend that you totally stop employing these tactics. It’s just that you cannot rely on advertising, cold calls and email blasts to build a business. You have to find ways to let people know you personally, get to like you and then you can start building trust.
How do you go about doing that?
Meaningful Relationships Start When People Get Close. Unless you are able to get close to others so that they can get to know and like you, it will be impossible to gain their trust. Proximity (a.k.a. propinquity) helps create closeness. There are two forms of proximity: physical proximity and psychological proximity.
Physical Proximity or Propinquity
People often form relationships with the people they are most frequently exposed to. For example, people who work in the same office are in close physical proximity and thus frequently interact together. This allows close relationships to form quite easily. If you’re a Realtor seeking to form relationships with would-be clients, it’s essential that you find a setting where you can regularly interact with a lot of the same people. It could be a networking group, a community center in your neighborhood, your church, or even a regular exercise class.
Psychological Proximity or Propinquity
Physical real-world proximity is just one way of becoming close to someone and psychological proximity is another. When two people repeatedly exchange ideas, opinions and beliefs a relationship can form. This is totally apparent on the Internet, where individuals from all over the world bond online through social media, forums, chat boards and countless online communities. If you aren’t already on Facebook and Instagram, you need to join immediately. If you haven’t started blogging, the time is here. Posts on social media and on your blog are great ways for others to get to know who you are and what you do. By responding to others, you can begin interacting. Engaging online does not replace personal interactions, however. But it does let people know you and lets you get to know them. This can progress to like and trust in the real world on both your parts.
Importance of “Know,” “Like” & “Trust”
The importance of progressing through these three stages of creating a meaningful relationship cannot be overstated. It’s one thing to be aware of the existence of someone and then meet them for the first time. It’s a whole other thing to actually like them enough to build a trusting relationship. Whether on social media or in person, the more we sincerely engage with others, the more we’re apt to like them and have them like us. When your sincerity comes across it can lead to trust, which increases your chances of them using you as their Realtor or sending you referrals. These are the building blocks of your real estate business.
Being a Big Help to Others Pays Huge Dividends
The most successful people I know, including Realtors, are incredibly helpful to others. They’re amazingly good at “reading” people and finding ways to help them reach their goals. They understand that their success ultimately rides on the success of those surrounding them. So, they go out of their way to help others succeed, including their team, their clients, their suppliers and vendors. They know that in life, “you reap what you sow,” and that this effort on behalf of others will ultimately lead to their own success. This is how you build a flourishing real estate business that can sustain you for many years to come.
Software for Building Relationships
Building enduring relationships is not easy, but there is help. Ascend Lead Sites CRM is designed to help Real Estate Agents make all of this much easier. Check out our Video email/texting and our Relationship Score tools to help you build more relationships!