3 simple tips for working with friends and family

Be just as hard-working for people you're close to as you are for your clients

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

I’ve found that a lot of people, no matter what professional industry, have mixed feelings about working with family and friends.

When I was working as a top-producing agent, a significant portion of my transactions occurred through my personal network of friends, family members and other acquaintances. Because of the complex relationships you develop with them, these individuals might not always be the easiest to work with in a professional environment. But when you do click and make deals happen, it can significantly boost your real estate business.

A big problem lies in the belief that when you’re working for family or friends, somehow there is no need to go above and beyond. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you should be working even harder for them.

Think of it like this: If you were to take your car to a friend who happened to be a mechanic, how would you feel if your new mechanic neglected to check your brakes because he didn’t think it was necessary, based on your friendship?

I guarantee you would question that person’s work ethic — friend or not. Also, you most likely would decline to seek out that same friend for any auto repair needs moving forward.

This topic has been on my mind since one of my Realtor friends approached me and mentioned that one of his good buddies was in the market for a new home. The Realtor went around and showed his friend a bunch of potential properties, but ultimately his friend decided to make the purchase with someone else.

Become an efficient digital brokerage in one fell swoop
Do more, get more, close more with a streamlined digital transaction management platform READ MORE

Obviously dejected, my Realtor friend was quick to assign blame to his buddy for not buying his home through him. I saw it differently, however. I bet if my buddy looked in the mirror and asked himself, “Was I the problem?” the mirror would reply, “Yep!”

When you’re working with a friend or family member, think about these three things to provide the best service and gain loyal clients:

1. Don’t take their business for granted. Treat your family and friends with the utmost respect and courtesy as you would with any other client. Also, don’t come off as being too busy or unavailable to meet their needs. Going on and on about how busy you are gives off the vibe that you have better things to do than help. When you’re with your client, regardless of their relationship to you, make them your priority.

2. Deliver killer service. When I was working real estate deals for my friends or family, I never once loosened the reins on the expectations I had for myself. All of the action items I used to deliver an outstanding customer experience to my regular clients, I also implemented with the clients with which I was personally connected.

Some of these people would tell me that what I was doing was overkill, but it didn’t stop me. I would call, text, email and update them incessantly, just as I would with anybody else.

3. Stay professional. Don’t unload your burdens or vent about personal frustrations you might have in your life. Save that for another time.  They aren’t there to be your therapist; they hired you to be their Realtor. Of course, you should be conversational, but keep the focus on them.

I understand that it can sometimes be hard to take a personal relationship and turn it into something professional. If you assume while working with them that a lackadaisical approach will still net a sale, it probably won’t. However, if you instill a sense of confidence with these individuals and show that you’ll always be available, capable and ready to execute, then you’ll find that friends and family can be lucrative to your business.

Tyler Smith is founder and CEO of SkySlope, and a former top-producing agent and 30 Under 30 alumnus. You can follow him on Twitter or on his blog.

Email Tyler Smith.