The secret to their success? “I’ve been in real estate for 40 years and to me it’s basic,” Flory says. “That’s what I tell people who think there’s some magic wand. Maybe those who are new to the business will find [my answer] boring but it’s hard to argue against success.”
About 85 percent of The Flory Team’s business is repeat and referral.
Here’s their approach:
Stick with the Tried and True
Flory started using the FileMaker database in 1985 and his team still uses it today. “I don’t know if there’s something better out there—a lot of Fortune 500 companies use it—but it works well for us. Finding what works for you is the bottom line.”
Whenever Flory or his agents get a new client, they enter details about the buyer or seller into the database. Four decades’ worth of contacts holds a lot of potential business, he says. “When dealing with over 1,000 people a year, I recognize the name when they call me and then FileMaker shows me the details. I am very much hands-on. People call for me all day long, so I talk to them.” Maintaining the database has been an essential ingredient to the team’s success.
Work Past Clients
Flory’s marketing department regularly reaches out to the database through email, direct mail, newsletters, and cards. “We also call people and wish them a happy birthday and happy holidays,” Flory says. “Those past clients have friends and those friends have friends. It’s a tree with a lot of branches and you pull in a lot of people—and the referrals are free.”
Many clients have been with Flory his entire career. “It’s a common story that keeps repeating itself. One client who was a young couple when I sold their first house for $39,000 bought their last house for $1.5 million. It’s rewarding when someone says, ‘David this will be house number six we are buying with you.’ Once people trust you, it’s so much easier because you don’t have to convince them that you’re going to do a good job for them. Unfortunately, many agents don’t realize or comprehend what a goldmine past clients are. They spend money on things that cost a fortune when going back to their database costs little and yields better results.”
Focus on What You Do Best
Stop deviating from what you’re good at, Flory says. “Some agents try to be a master of everything and specialize in nothing and then they don’t do well. We don’t do property management or lease out homes. Sometimes we buy houses and fix them up or do guaranteed buyouts, but our expertise is listing and selling homes. That has been very rewarding for us.”
Leslie Stone is a Vero Beach, Fla.-based freelance writer. She is a contributor to Florida Realtor magazine and has previously served as the magazine's associate editor. She regularly writes about the real estate industry.