This is such a great blog that I had to share! Many of these things I think on a daily basis but am just too nice to say because I don't want to hurt feelings. The author points out that the key to selling to a real estate professional is "making the object of your desire feel comfortable and perceive value." Coming around every day, feeling entitled, begging for the business without first showing your value just won't get it.
As a broker with over 60 agents, I am approached fairly often by many in related industries about getting my business for their product or service. They could be mortgage loan officers, lawyers (NY is an attorney state), title people, inspectors, or any other housing resource. I'm often bemused by the way my I am solicited by what are often complete strangers.
After 20 years in the industry and 10 as an independent broker, it probably is no big secret that I have fostered relationships with industry colleagues in law, finance, inspections, and other sectors of the business. They have earned my friendship, my trust, my good will , and my loyalty. They were with me through the darkest parts of the crash, picked me up, laughed with me, cried with me, and referred me business. They are my "go to" people. Am I open to new relationships? I am, as the firm grows, but there is a right and a wrong way to go about asking for my business.
Here are a few do's and don'ts.
- Invite yourself to speak to my team or office 5 minutes after we've been introduced. You didn't earn that kid of access, and quite frankly, being that detached from decorum makes me question your judgement.
- Drop in. Just don't. I don't interrupt your work day.
- Ask me to display your stuff in my office. Plastic stands with your business cards and brochures imply an endorsement. They can also pile up if I display for everyone who asks, and that crowds out my tried and true relationships.
- Have conversations that always culminate in solicitations. This makes me appreciate caller ID. If I get pitched every single time we speak, you get old really fast.
- Refuse to take "no" for an answer. I appreciate persistence. I am in sales. I get it. But if I am on the phone with you and you force me to hang up on you because I have to answer a call from a client or team member, that is irksome. And obtuse. And vexatious. Who likes an irksome vex? Nobody, that's who.
- Corner me and hijack my time at industry events. Awkward. Rude. Not much upside.
- Demonstrate value. Many of the vendors we use were introduced to us on the other side of a transaction or came directly from a client. We kept using them because they performed.
- A good job. Excellence is difficult to hide.
- Demonstrate thoughtfullness. People that actually remember what we spoke about make a far better impression than those who view anything as I say as their waiting period before they can revisit blathering.
- Ask what I need. This is sales 101. Define the need, then deliver a solution. I might not need a home inspector, but you know what? We could use one who speaks spanish fluently. There are many other examples if you pay attention.
- Spoof me or call from a spoofed number. Subterfuge is never appreciated, and is borderline harrassment.
- Pressure me. As the adage says, people may not recall what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel. Applying pressure or the hard sell has no place in 2015 commerce.
- Act entitled. So we rub elbows at quarterly industry gatherings. That doesn't make us best friends. Revisit the do's above.
Notice that not once do I suggest that you buy me lunch or a drink. I can't be bought, and I respect your wallet as much as I hope you'd respect mine.
Some will disagree with me, and say that you have to ask for business to get business, and nothing ventured, nothing gained. But I think there is a right and wrong way to foster relationships, and much of it is rooted in making the object of your desire feel comfortable and percieve value. That's how I prefer to do business, and that ethos has served my firm well.
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- J. Philip Faranda, Broker-owner, J. Philip Real Estate, LLC. 2014 President, Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service.
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