STEP 1: BUILDING BONDS
Every day holds new possibilities for creating connections. When
you find people with whom you have something in common, re-
lationships are likely to sprout. They can occur over shared inter-
ests—butterfly gardens, Bundt cake recipes, bike riding—or shared
friends. “If you and I have someone in common or a common inter-
est, that makes me like you a little more and want to chat more,”
says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability
(A;;;;;, 2012). “When we discover similarities, we form deeper
and more lasting connections.”
Eventually, those connections may lead to business—but they
don’t have to start there.
Turn every interaction into a
business building opportunity.
Allen “Al” Rusca, ;;;, ;-;;;, wears his “Diane Turton, R;;;;;;;®”
name badge around town. “That badge opens many doors for me
when the inevitable question arises: ‘How’s the real estate market
these days?’;” says Rusca, a salesperson based in Ocean Grove, N.J.
“I’ve gotten business from the local co;ee shop, the barber shop, the
dry cleaners, the grocery store, the gas station, the doctor’s o;ce,
the bank, my church, the local senior center, and more. Being visible
and active in the community is the best way to find new business.”
Formal networking or referral groups, such as chambers of com-
merce or BNI ( www.bni.com), can help you expand your reach, too.
BNI is an organization with chapters across the country. Only one
person per professional specialty joins each chapter. The reason:
Pros from di;erent fields network and swap referrals. You can find
success through routes that fit your particular interest, too. Diana
Baylor, a sales associate with RE/MAX Masters in Covina, Calif.,
builds relationships through the California Women’s Conference
and charity events benefiting cancer prevention programs.
Connect deeply via online social networks.
If you’re going to spend time on online social net works, do it with a
keen understanding of what each network delivers. Pinterest, for example, has been called a “woman’s social network.” The site—which
enables you to pin Web content you like to your personal or business page and share it with your Pinterest followers—has an audience
that’s more than 82 percent female. Because women are big influencers in home purchase decisions—and “home” is the No.; 1 category
of “pins” on Pinterest, according to a study by R.J. Metrics—it may
be a good play for making meaningful connections with female buyers. (Pinterest recently added the ability to create business pages and
created separate terms of service for businesses.)
One enthusiast is Sue Eller, a sales associate with Dilbeck Real
Estate Living in La Canada, Calif., who has pinned hundreds of
photos of local architectural gems, parks, and more. “Pinterest is a
good way to build a;nity marketing by connecting over not just real
estate but also hobbies and interests,” Eller says. Eller posts architectural photos she loves on her Web site and uses Pinterest to drive
tra;c there. Her Pinterest page ( http://pinterest.com/ellertheseller) also
includes categories such as “How to Make Your Home Sellable,” “
Favorite Homes I Have Sold,” and “Gardening and Gardens.”
Strengthen your reputation in an environment
where there’s no sales pressure.
Bryce Fuller, a broker with Coldwell Banker in Northbrook, Ill.,
hosts a neighborhood open house each year. It’s a way to meet the
neighbors and establish himself as the local expert with a vested interest in home values. Fuller provides each family that attends with a
neighborhood market analysis. “The BBQ allows people to approach
me, get to know me, and ask questions,” he says. “As they spend more
time around me, their comfort level increases. That comfort level
and trust coupled with my listing signs and activity in the subdivision is a one-two punch that can’t be beat.”
Have a “wingman” sing your praises.
Boasting about your own sales record and accomplishments can
come across as arrogant, says Kurt W. Mortensen, author of The
Laws of Charisma (A;;;;;, 2010). But if you can get others to say it
for you, it’s powerful. Getting friends to introduce you to their peers,
for example, gives you built-in credibility, Mortensen says. Testimonials on your Web site or LinkedIn account can be just as powerful.
“Written reviews from satisfied customers enable trust to be formed
more quickly,” says Michael Davenport, a broker-associate with
King Realty Associates LLC in Sarasota, Fla.