• Real estate is about people, not technology.
  • Marketing provides client introductions. Being personable earns trust and closes deals.
  • Effective use of technology helps manage your business. Personal service grows your business.

In today’s tech-driven world, it’s easy to forget that real estate is still a people business. When asked, most agents will tell you the opportunity to meet and help people is why they started their business. As you grow your business, it’s easy to lose sight of the personal capabilities we possess to bring happiness and value to others.

A growing business does bring increasing demands, and the search for the latest and greatest tech needed to address those demands can be consuming.

However, all the tech tools in the world will not grow your business like your original motivation for entering the industry — meeting and helping others.

Consider this: Internet dating has become a popular way to meet people. There is no shortage of dating sites that promise to match you with the perfect partner.

Whether you choose to go it alone with your painfully truthful profile and picture or trust the 1,000-question surveys to point you in the right direction, there’s a site for you.

Farmers, there’s an app for that. Christians, there’s an app for you, too. However, any relationship that grows beyond Web-based messaging will do so because of personal interaction. You have to meet someone to establish likeability and trust truly.

Your business is no different. All your marketing efforts are designed to make prospective clients take notice. You’ll close the deal in person.

With that, here are five personable things you can do that will grow your network and client base by introducing yourself, establishing trust and offering necessary guidance.

1. Get out and meet people

Actively look for opportunities to let people know you’re a great real estate agent. Prospective clients are everywhere. I took to heart something one of our top-producing Realtors once said: “I’ll sell more property walking through Wal-Mart than I will sitting in a brokerage office.”

There is profound truth and insight in that statement. Get out and meet people. Clients aren’t walking into brokerages like they used to. If clients aren’t coming to you, you’d better go to them.

Using technology is only part of the equation. In many ways, smiles and word of mouth still carry more credibility than likes and retweets.

2. Shamelessly market yourself

I know a Realtor who spends $6 to sew her logo and Web address on the shirts and jackets she wears every day. Everyone who sees her knows she’s a Realtor. She wants them to know. This openness translates to credibility.

She’s dedicated and not afraid to say she’s the expert in her market. She’s also the top agent in her market. If embroidery or screen print isn’t your thing, wear your nametag. You might be amazed at how many people approach you and open a conversation that leads to future business.

If you only sing in the shower, no one will know you can sing. Sing it from the rooftops, and stop letting business pass you by.

3. Respond quickly

One of the biggest personable actions you can take is to respond to clients quickly. In today’s industry in which over 90 percent of prospective buyers are online, this now extends to replying to emails and texts.

A recent study conducted by MIT’s Dr. James Oldroyd for insidesales.com, shows the odds of contacting a lead if he or she is called within five minutes are 100 times higher versus one called in 30 minutes.

There is no shortage of real estate agents from whom to choose and going only a few minutes without a response is reason enough for a client go to the next name on the list hoping to find someone who cares more.

It’s so simple. One of the surest ways to set yourself apart and be personable is simply responding to clients. Today’s consumer demands convenience and expertise.

If you provide the convenience of a quick response and apply your expertise to helping clients reach their goals, your business will grow.

4. Embrace your agent community

Real estate is the only industry I know of in which you will do business with your direct competitors. Be personable with other agents.

Whether you’re in a large metro market or a smaller rural market, your agent community is comparatively small. Make a point of chatting with other agents and building your network. You’ll increase your reputation in your market and establish personal relationships that benefit your business.

Many of the top producers in a market find themselves overwhelmed at times and look for a trusted referral agent who will take care of a client and uphold his or her hard-earned reputation.

Being known is a great way to pick up new buyer and seller leads. Forget the lower price point often associated with these leads. An excellent way to grow your business and reputation is by taking great care of clients at all price points. That $5,000 lot might turn into a $500,000 home down the road. It happens every day.

5. Be personable — not pushy

While you’re out there looking for opportunity, always remember there’s a fine line between helpful and pushy. Simply recognizing the opportunity, offering insight and providing your card with the assurance you’re there to help now and in the future will go a long way toward building your business.

Effective use of technology is critical in providing the reach, scale and service required to become and remain successful. However, technology is a tool. Depending on how you use it, it can be beneficial or detrimental.

Unfortunately, in our gadget-crazed society, it’s easy to spend more time and energy trying to find the latest tech to grow our business while we lose site of what’s important — providing the personal attention and service our clients deserve.

John Sims is the director of development for Lake Homes Realty. Connect with him on LinkedIn or with Lake Homes on Facebook.

Email John Sims.