How to Build a 100% Referral Real Estate Career
There’s not one way to go about a real estate career. Some agents choose to buy leads, some work on cultivating current relationships and still others choose to work with builders or banks. No matter which path you choose, says Cynthia Baker, a sales associate with Lois Schneider Real Estate in Summit, N.J., it’s all about helping people.
For Baker, who ranked No. 28 individuals by sales volume in the 2019 REAL Trends + Tom Ferry America’s Best Real Estate Professionals Rankings, her business is 100 percent referral. That means concentrating on building personal relationships. “It’s really simple. I approach my prospects in a way that I would like to be approached. This is more of a service job than a sales job. I focus on helping people make a life.”
While Baker says she has no real strategy, she does have a unique approach to cultivating her current database. “I am a good matchmaker. I’ve set up a lot of marriages,” she laughs. However, her matchmaking also extends into real estate. For Baker, she says, “it’s about staying involved in people’s lives,” which comes naturally to her. “I don’t send out any marketing about me ever. I’ve never sent out a postcard. That stuff to me is junk mail.”
Here are some things she does to build relationship and friendships with buyers, sellers, and prospects:
- Attend and schedule events. Baker will have driveway playdates with young moms and dads where they can bring their kids to play. “I get chalk and toys and it’s an easy way for people to informally meet,” she says. Baker will also attend as many parties as she can and invite customers over so they can meet one another. “I attend my past and current customers’ kids’ games. I go to concerts.”
- Hire a good assistant. Baker has had a real estate career for more than 27 years, and it’s difficult to cultivate relationships with so many people over so many years. But, says Baker, with the help of an assistant, she is able to organize everything. “We are constantly texting and she is keeping my calendar straight,” says Baker. “It’s like staying in touch with family. You just do it.”
- Schedule prospecting. While her assistant keeps her schedule in check, Baker also spends every free second texting, calling or reaching out to people in her database. “Sometimes I sit in the car and it’s nonstop texts and phone calls,” she says.
- Get involved in your community. “I am lucky enough to live in the town where I work. I am very involved in the community and my church. People see me a lot as I walk for exercise,” Baker says, adding that “touching people’s lives just happens organically because I’m out there engaged with the community.”
Overall, Baker says, “It’s really about honest communication at all times and being authentically engaged. Be present with people. Treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s really that simple.”
2019 America's Best Agent & Team Rankings