By Jason O’Neil
Referrals, referrals, referrals. We all get them and we all want more. We want referrals from our lenders, our title reps, our barbers, our past clients, and we especially want them from other agents. We love referrals because they are easy leads. They are not faceless Internet leads or the sometimes abrupt sign calls; they are real people who are friends of someone.
Referrals are easy to talk to for two primary reasons: One, they are less guarded because you were referred by someone they trust. Two, you have something or someone in common.
Over the past 12 months, 85 percent of my business has come from referrals. I, too, love referrals.
We track our business sources, but do we track our referrals? When I say track our referrals, I mean the why. Why does someone refer you? What is your referability? High, low, middle? Do you have any idea? Why will some clients run to the top of a mountain and scream your name? And why do others, who have worked with you dozens of times, not feel comfortable referring you to their closest friends or relatives?
Sometimes we aren’t referred because referrals are risky. They really are. If I speak up and say you should work with my accountant because he does great work and you end up not liking him, I look bad. If you love my accountant, well, that was to be expected. If I say nothing or don’t refer an accountant, I likely stay unchanged in your mind’s eye. So there really is a downside risk to referrals. But referring people is fulfilling — it makes people feel good to help other people and to give their opinions.
So, why should people refer you? How do you become more referable?
I think it’s simple: Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
With conference season in full swing, I have met many new and seasoned real estate professionals debating if conferences are worth attending at all. For newer agents—the conference virgins—they look at the cost and automatically dismiss the events as too expensive to even consider. Some seasoned agents—those that have gotten rusty at it—are “too busy” to waste time at a conference. Is it worth attending conferences, events, and seminars? It all depends on your mindset going into it.
From my experience I have found that, in general, I learn more from fellow attendees than from those speaking on stage. This only happens if you make it a point to meet new people, share ideas with others, pick up tips from them, and then go home and IMPLEMENT something you learned. If you go in with an open mind and a clear intent on learning and sharing, you will find value in attending conferences. You may have heard the quote that “each person we encounter is a teacher,” well that rings true for those you encounter at conferences. Keep an open mind, filter out the bad traits and learn from the good you find in fellow attendees.
I just got back from our Florida REALTORS® Conference and can tell you I made some wonderful new connections (and referral opportunities) that will continue long after the conference ends as long as I work to foster those relationships. If I don’t keep in touch, then yes, it will have all been a waste of time. If I don’t implement anything new I learned, then yes, it was a waste of money. It’s all up to me to make it worthwhile.
Are you a conference virgin? If so, here are some tips for your first time (or if you are getting back into it): Continue reading »
By Brian Copeland
This week, I turn 40 and my future with you is, well, uncertain. While we’ve never defined “under 40” as what the Young Professional Network’s age limit is, it has turned into an awkward elephant in the room no one is willing to talk about. So, let’s talk about it.
We’ve heard “young and young at heart” as the basis for who we are and who we want to be. Is this program of NAR about youth, leadership entry or new, bright attitudes? I don’t know, but hopefully in this dialog today, I’ll have a clearer picture.
What if YPN is in the middle of turning the statement “60 is the new 30” on its head? What if 30 is the new 60? Huh? We’re in the middle of equipping, training and inspiring a new generation to have the knowledge, street-smarts and tatters of a seasoned veteran to this industry.
I look at REALTORS® like Tiffany Curry who is 32 years old. Already, she has been the REALTOR® of the Year for one of the largest associations in America. She has served as president of a major metropolitan’s Women’s Council of REALTORS® chapter. She has chaired her local YPN, served on a heavy-weight NAR Presidential Advisory Group (PAG), and sat on numerous NAR committees.
I see Kenny Parcell. Kenny hovers below that 40 mark with a resume that would support the “30 is the new 60” hypothesis perfectly. He’s been his local president, state president, NAR Leadership Academy graduate, NAR liaison, and chair of several leadership groups.
Are these examples the exception? They could be, but I would argue that this type of mentoring and nurturing is part of a new breed NAR has started to grow. So, that leads me to the most troubling question, should we be called the Young Professionals Network? Continue reading »
By Lynn Minnick
This post follows along the same idea as Cory Brewer’s last post about relationships. My office has a new office leader/manager and she recently put together an event that I thought was pretty genius AND helped build relationships.
She asked each of us to provide her with a list of the different real estate service-related vendors we use and would recommend (home inspectors, exterminators, electricians, septic installers, radon guys, landscapers, mold specialists, handymen, home stagers, etc. — all the professionals we turn to on a regular basis in my market.) Then, for a small donation to our company charity, The Sunshine Kids, she offered each of them a table at a vendor fair we hosted. She invited all of the REALTORS® in our town and surrounding towns, and served refreshments.
The event itself was only about two hours long, but it allowed us to meet face-to-face with these professionals, make introductions, and network. I suppose it was kind of like speed dating. Some of the businesses were more experienced with vendor fairs and came prepared with lots of handouts, giveaways, and raffles, while others greeted us with simple business cards and conversations, relying solely on their long-standing reputations.
The event was easy to organize and very well-received. A win-win-win, really, for us, the vendors, and our favorite charity!
By Cory Brewer
I was recently a guest on a local radio show to discuss my brokerage and our services. The platform for the show revolves around business, finance, and real estate…and the other two guests on the program were an investment fund manager and a representative from a non-profit group advocating cancer research. It was a well-rounded group and we had some good conversation before and after the show off-air.
Near the end of the program, after completing our individual interviews, they brought us all back on the air to have a round-table discussion to answer the question “How do you find a trustworthy professional to work with?” The gut reaction answer is “get a referral,” but the producer of the program told us specifically to come up with something a little more creative than that. My initial input was to “ask for a referral from a professional that you already know and trust in a related industry,” and the conversation stemmed from there.
Across the board, we agreed that the best way to find a trusted professional in one industry is to find someone you already know who has exposure to them in a professional capacity from a related industry. It’s great to ask Aunt Sally if she knows a good dentist…but wouldn’t it make more sense to ask your doctor for a good dentist referral? In the real estate world, I believe there’s a lot to be said for this sentiment. Anyone who has spent an appreciable amount of time in the real estate industry can’t help but to have built relationships with other professionals in related industries (and if you haven’t, you’re doing something wrong).
Align yourself with a professional network of people who are likely to have exposure to your would-be clients. Continue reading »
By Lynn Minnick
I was lucky enough to have been picked to participate in NAR’s Leadership 200 and 300 classes this week at my association. I say lucky enough because we’re the largest association in our state and there were only 35 seats open. Last summer I was involved in our two-day strategic planning session, which was a first for me and pretty much blew my mind. (Rumor has it we “younger” members have an in because they’re grooming us to become the future leaders of the association!)
While the courses are definitely aimed at becoming leaders in your association, the information and experience was much more than that, as it should be if you’re going to take an entire day away from showing and listing appointments, right? The classes covered topics such as how meetings are run, Robert’s Rules, strategic and operational planning, conflict resolution, and more.
1. Always keep your association’s strategic plan at the top of your mind in committee meetings. For those who are serving on association committees, how is what you’re doing going to advance your association’s strategic plan? If it isn’t, it shouldn’t be on the agenda at all. Shouldn’t we be keeping that same focus in our own personal work agendas? Also, do we have the metrics in place to track our progress?
2. Plan more, worry less. Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
I often encounter other REALTORS® who see little to no value in developing relationships with their fellow agents, and it just baffles me every time! We are in one of the most challenging real estate markets in U.S. history, not to mention we’re in an environment where rules and regulations change daily, which is only adding barriers to establishing a successful business. I think we need the support of one another now more than ever.
But how do you develop those bonds? Read on, as today I’m presenting a few great tips for building your agent network as a way to grow your business in 2012.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can possibly share with you. Put down the phone, computer, tablet, and anything else with a power cord if you really want to network with your fellow agents properly.
I love social media, and I owe a great deal of my success to our ability to market effectively on that platform. But when it comes to connecting with other REALTORS®, you simply can’t replace face-to-face interaction with any technology that currently exists. Make it a point to attend one live networking event a week related to our industry, giving you have a chance to meet other agents in person. Bring plenty of business cards and come ready to mingle.
Here’s another great tip: Take some time to figure out what distinguishes you from your fellow agents so you stand out. Whenever I’m around other agents, I make it a point to nail home just how successful and interested I am in working with short sale listings. More often than not, another agent in the room is all too happy to take a referral fee for the few short sale listings he gets each year, which is a win-win for everyone.
Maybe you do leasing, or you’re a luxury specialist — whatever it is, emphasize your specialty and talents to distinguish yourself from the crowd and elevate yourself as the top expert in the room. It will go a long way towards cementing relationships and help you create pipelines through which new business and referrals can flow.
Join Up Continue reading »
By Anand Patel
I have a wonderful agent in West Palm Beach, Fla., who decided he wanted to give back by getting involved with his local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. While on site at his first project, he struck up a conversation with a fellow volunteer working along side him. As they carried on their conversations throughout the day, it turned out his new-found friend was an investor residing predominantly in Europe but looking to buy, rehab, and sell residential real estate while in the West Palm Beach area. To make a long story short, my agent ended up finding a property for his new volunteer buddy, who in turn rehabbed the property and had my agent list it and eventually sell the property for him. His new client enjoyed the experience so much he wants to purchase a few more properties with my agent. Who would have thought giving back would have paid off so well!
The point of my story is that we all prefer working with people with similar interests, right? Isn’t it easier to work with a client who supports the same causes, charities, clubs, foundations, associations and organizations that you do? Volunteering is a great way to connect with these like-minded individuals. Keep in mind that one should only volunteer when they truly have a genuine interest in getting involved and giving back. We all know people who volunteer with the pure intention of getting new business — others read right through this. Sharing a common bond and genuine interest with someone makes the decision for them to do business with you so much easier.
Here are some ideas:
- Volunteer with charities or causes you want to support. You will meet people from all different backgrounds and professions. You’ll learn new perspectives about yourself, the way you run your business, and how you view your community. Not only will you feel good in supporting your favorite cause, but you are also indirectly helping yourself grow as an individual.
- Volunteer to serve on committees at your association, various organizations you may belong to, at your place of worship, or your child’s school. Continue reading »