This time of year is like the Superbowl for creating and deepening connections, especially if you’re an agent focused on generating referral business.
In just a few short weeks, families, friends, and colleagues will gather for the holidays. They’ll reflect on the year and share their plans with one another.
Real estate is often discussed since the average home buyer or seller will relocate due to lifestyle changes, a new personal or professional need, growth changes (for example, downsizing because the house is too big or moving up when the family grows too large.) The trick as a real estate agent is to be top-of-mind when this topic arises!
A referral business is essentially word-of-mouth advertising, which means that your service or offer is a part of someone’s discussion and it’s not a line item on the balance sheet. Exciting, right?
So, how do you become the topic of conversation at this year’s dinner table? Let’s explore.
Have a FORD conversation
In order to serve customers, you must know what’s happening in their lives. Even if their goals aren’t achievable today, you should be a resource to help get them on the path. To know any of this, you must call them and have a FORD conversation — one that covers Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams.
All the nuggets that arise should be entered into your CRM for future follow up in January.
Events and ice breaking
We’re all out of practice with in-person events, but the good news is that you are the subject matter expert with all things real estate. So, be yourself, know your market numbers and have an answer to “how’s the market” that is succinct and delivered in your brand voice. People work with agents they know, like and trust.
The first step is to start a natural conversation that makes the person you’re speaking to feel more at ease.
Host an annual event or send a gift
This time of year is perfect for implementing the “Pop, Pop, Bang method” from the book, “Marketing That Moves People: Pop – Give, Pop – Connect, Bang – Invite.”
Create an event, gift, letter, etc., that you consistently do or give every year. When the real estate conversations start up at the dinner table, has your customer had an experience with you that’s worth sharing?
“Oh, my agent is so amazing. She sends me a local puzzle every year, and we do it as a family. She knows I love puzzling,” or “We just attended our agent’s annual wreath-making party – it’s such a fun activity!”
Actions of today will yield the best result in 90 days. Ideally, “Pop, Pop, Bang” and your FORD calls should be rolled out in September every year. If you haven’t started, then call the people who you know well today, and go from there. And, if you’re business planning right now, plan to get your head around this for next year no later than August.
Speak to your experience locally
A confident, truthful, researched and poised answer to what is happening in your local market is imperative right now.
In today’s turbulent and exciting market for buyers, it’s very important that you interrupt the broad brush of national knowledge and speak to what you are experiencing in your own business. You live and breathe this business. Your experience in the market and ability to strategize on an individual level is invaluable. A confident customer buys and sells. This holiday season, give them the gift of that confidence.
The most important thing we can all offer our community is a truthful view of the current market and by extension, a clear strategy that is in the best interest of our clients.
However you decide to connect with your sphere this year, remember your greatest opportunity is to become their agent for life. Thinking broader than the next deal closed will benefit you in spades. Mark my words.
Shelley Zavitz is an agent with Dwell Realty and an author and trainer in Portland, Oregon.