This is my best year yet, so when I hear the market is slow, from other agents, I ask them, "How much of your business is by referral?" Mine is 88%. That means I am doing good work in cultivating trust and long term relationships with my clients and my contacts.
A lot of people ask, "How do you acquire that kind of referral rate?" In my eyes it's simple. Be yourself, be ethical, help others, be honest, don't be in this business "to make a sale", give your customers good advice and keep your snot nose clean.
This is a completely different real estate market from what it was 3 years ago. Gone are the days of 28 offers on a house, people picking up agents who have a pen versus those who have skill, strategy, integrity and knowledge. For those of you on the mainland, you've been living with a "real" market for over the past 12 months. In Hawaii, this is fairly new to us. Agents are no longer the order takers. In order to make our business thrive we need to be aware of what is happening nationally, regionally and locally. Our economic environment affects our future market a great deal. We have seen the closure of two major airlines, the downsizing of several large firms, and the local visitors bureau asking those who finance it for advice on how and who to market to.
It saddens me to acquire clients who were told in the recent two years to purchase and their investment would be "safe". Many of these buyers bought short term, which is never a good strategy.... it's a back up plan if you know the market implicitly well, have extensive financial resources and are risk acclimated. The sellers I see who had an agent who sold the on this concept are now often facing a short sale or losses, frequently the agent has left the business.
To investors and buyers who haven't been through multiple cycles in the markets, remember, an agent who does nothing more than write up your offer, is indeed an order taker. Look for an agent who gives you real advice, along the lines of the Clint Eastwood film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Only when you have the full and realistic snapshot can you make the decision that is right for you.