Of all the things you could be asked, there’s one real estate question that no agent wants to hear. The question might come from a past client, an old acquaintance, one of your mom’s friends, or even your hairdresser.
That question is “Are you still selling real estate?” It especially hurts coming from someone who has just told you that they recently purchased a new house or listed their house with one of your competitors.
When someone asks this real estate question, it means you’ve been ignoring an easy and logical source of business.
Knowing you could have prevented it adds insult to injury. And yes, whether you want to admit it or not, you know you could have prevented it – at least most of the time.
You have dozens of ways to remain visible as a real estate professional. You simply have to use them.
First, always stay in touch with past clients.
And – stay in touch in a manner that makes them happy to hear from you. How?
- Send information that is interesting or entertaining. That could be a market report, news about a new development coming in the area, or something fun, such as the tidbits found in my Event-themed Keeping in Touch Letters. If all you send is advertisement for your services, your letters or emails will quickly find their way to the trash.
- Pick up the phone now and then – and make it a social call, not a sales call. Do mention your work, but don’t make it the reason for the call. Ask questions about the events going on in their lives.
- Drop by when it is appropriate. If a home buyer has been making renovations or additions to a house, stop in to see the changes and admire what they’ve done.
Be consistent. Don’t let months go by without mailing, emailing, calling, or dropping by.
Next, stay visible as an agent with those in your sphere.
You may think of your sphere as only close friends who naturally know that you’re still selling real estate. However, your sphere can and should extend much farther.
Start with people who are friends, but not close friends.
If they don’t speak with you often, they just might forget what you do for a living. To prevent them from ever asking the real estate question you don’t want to hear, ask them if they’d like to receive your market reports each month – or each quarter. They may have no intention of buying or selling, but most of us are interested in what homes are selling for in our own area.
If they indicate that they’ll welcome your emails, send the reports and other informative or entertaining information. You may want to restrict your mailings to once every 2 or 3 months, but don’t go beyond that or they’re likely to think you’ve left the business.
Don’t stop here…
First, when you’re dressed for work (and if you are a REALTOR®) wear that “R” pin on your lapel. Most of the people you meet throughout the day will already know what you do, but a few will not. The lapel pin will remind them and might even gain you an introduction to a new prospect.
Now think about people you know from organizations such as Chamber of Commerce, PTA, church groups, non-profits for which you volunteer, and study groups. First, depending upon what is appropriate, wear either your pin or a company t-shirt when attending the events.
Then, if you happen to be chatting with other members, ask about their work. They’ll most likely ask about yours in return, so take advantage of the opening. Be enthusiastic in telling how much you enjoy selling real estate. You can mention how challenging it is when the market is changing, but don’t complain! At that point, you can ask them if they’d like to receive your market reports.
You can also use give-away items as gentle reminders of what you do. Who doesn’t need a pen or a notepad? Bring a supply to meetings and give them away now and then.
That unwanted real estate question could come from your hairdresser, your dog groomer, your auto mechanic, and even your dentist.
Don’t let that happen. Instead, every time you interact with those people, mention something about work. For instance: If you’re making an appointment, mention fitting it in between appointments.
I live in a very small town with one grocery store. The checkers are always looking for a pen because customers walk off with them. When I owned a brokerage I bought pens by the hundreds and would take a handful to the store every couple of weeks and give them to the checkers. They loved having more pens handy, and I loved that my message was getting out to the community every time a customer went home with a pen.
Think of your parents’ friends. You may not be talking with them directly, but you can give your parents give-away items to share. You can also send them your market reports and ask them to forward them on to friends who would be interested.
One more thing…
If you attend school sporting events, play golf, or love to attend yard sales, wear a t-shirt or hat with your company logo. This one is not just to serve as a reminder to people who already knew you were a real estate salesperson, but to connect with new people.
Those who are interested in real estate will notice and ask you about it.