In the agent world, there is an endless stream of content about how agents should build their business and engage with customers. What hasn’t been addressed is the best way a real estate-related service provider trying to gain an agent’s business should proceed.
The rules don’t change whether you are an agent, broker or vendor trying to convert a prospect into a customer. Real estate agents are inundated on a daily basis with umpteen solicitations on marketing, technology, lenders, title companies and, of course, brokers trying to recruit them.
I generally receive over 200 emails each day and at least 50 to 70 of them are solicitations, not counting cold calls and texts. That’s a lot of noise in the agent atmosphere.
Vendors, listen up. One-way marketing equates to the circular file followed by the delete button as far as real estate agents are concerned. Too many vendors view real estate agents as the gravy train to their success.
Business by referral is earned. Instead of dialing for dollars, concentrate on dialing up a relationship and a give-and-get proposition.
Here are six ways to create a more meaningful approach to gaining a real estate agent’s trust and ultimately their business.
1. Determine your agent audience for your product or service
Agents tend to work with different sectors of the business — some might work with the luxury market, others with investors. Some handle more listings; others tend to work with buyers, etc.
2. Treat agents as individuals
Once you have the agent group you wish to cultivate, take time to learn about each one individually. Yes — this requires some research, but in today’s social media world, it’s not hard to do.
Find out as much as you can about their business, the kind of properties and customers they work with and their personal and professional achievements. Where are they from? What makes them tick? What type of approach do they have to their business?
3. Reach out
Armed with information for an intelligible conversation, reach out in a meaningful way. This does not mean a mass spam email. It’s easy to see right through a “Dear Joe” letter in which you simply swap out each agent’s name and offer your services. Rather, send a thoughtful communication inviting them to talk.
Try to pick a meeting place that is conducive to doing business in a pleasant setting. Somewhere other than your neighborhood coffee shop where everyone else goes and is noisy and distracting.
Tell them you’d like to learn more about their business and see if you can establish a professional and referral relationship that is good for both of you. Statistically you might only have a few agents respond. But you don’t need quantity, you just need quality.
What good are 20 agents who don’t result in any referrals? They pale in comparison to the two or three who do — the ones who also deserve your referral business.
4. Avoid selling at the meeting
During the in-person meeting, don’t monopolize the conversation or slide a folder with your marketing collateral across the table.
Ask the agent to bring something to share with you as well — business cards, customer challenges, listings that need help, etc., so you can help spread the word to people you know.
5. Be flexible, and don’t cherry pick
Successful agents tend to have a vast referral network in which people continually go to them for assistance far past the buying and selling process.
Some needs might be smaller by nature. As a vendor reaching out to an agent, be prepared to help in big and small ways.
6. Show gratitude
Lastly, when your relationship building results in a referral, be sure to thank the agent — not just after the first few leads. They like to be appreciated for their business.
If this has resulted in several referrals throughout the year, make sure you do something to recognize that agent’s trust and support. One of the most common complaints from agents is that they feel their regular service providers take their business for granted.
These tips will help you connect and build relationships with agents and have a lasting and profitable relationship.