Do you use social media to wax on about your latest listing or how many deals you have done? Do you send out postcards saying, “I’m never too busy for your referrals?” Do you explain to clients how you are the expert, and that they should take your advice about pricing their house? Are you a go-getter or a go-giver?

  • Bob Burg and John David Mann's book 'The Go-Giver' provides a roadmap for growing business.
  • If you have 100 people in your database, you should make 11 contacts per day. It takes only a few minutes to make a personal connection.
  • Connect with people who share similar interests. People are drawn to those who are like them.

Do you use social media to wax on about your latest listing or how many deals you have done? Do you send out postcards saying, “I’m never too busy for your referrals?” Do you explain to clients how you are the expert, and that they should take your advice about pricing their house? Are you a go-getter or a go-giver?

If so, shifting from being me-focused to being service-focused can dramatically improve both the number and the quality of the clients you attract.

Since I began writing for Inman back in 2001, I have been on the same soapbox — cancel the me-me-me show and focus on what matters to the person receiving your communications. Eliminate the personal brochures. Stop telling people that you’re the expert on how to price their house, even if you are.

Instead, be totally client-focused, provide every one of your clients with a five-star customer experience, do the right thing and strive to be the most professional, caring agent in your marketplace.

33 Touch

Gary Keller popularized the 33 Touch program back in 2004 with the publication of his book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” The idea is that you touch the key people in your referral database or sphere of influence at least 33 times per year, or three times per month.

Touches can be a combination of emails, cards, letters, promotional items such as a calendar, just listed or just sold cards, real estate news, useful articles, community calendars, etc. Other types of touches can be greeting cards or telephone calls. Of course, these touches can also be made online through social media.

The challenge here is not with the program itself, but with the types of touches that most agents choose to make. When typical homeowners only transact once every five to seven years, sending them reams of real estate-related information is essentially pointless, especially if the communication focuses on you rather than the recipient. So what is the alternative?

33 Serve

Billion Dollar Agent — Lessons Learned” profiles agents who have sold at least $1 billion dollars of real estate. As I read the book, it became obvious that there were two paths to this number — those who relied exclusively on “me-me-me” prospecting techniques and a second group that comprised about 67 percent of the agents profiled. That group cited giving back to the community as a fundamental component of its success.

Pardee Properties in Venice, California, is an excellent example of how this approach works. By contributing 10 percent of their net proceeds from each sale to the local charity of their client’s choice, this team of 50 (this includes all the administrative staff) has raised over $770,000 for local Venice charities. It has also resulted in Pardee Properties being one of the very top-producing teams in the nation as well.

Make the shift from go-getter to go-giver

Bob Burg and John David Mann’s book “The Go-Giver” outlines what they call their Five Laws of Stratospheric Success. This powerful little book provides a roadmap for becoming a go-giver — not by making more cold calls or working harder — but by being of service.

To make this shift from go-getter to go-giver, focus on helping others first without any expectation of them helping you. In most cases when you help others first, they will offer to help you back in return. Even if they don’t, you will find that when you contribute to others, someone else always shows up to give back to you.

Components of a 33 Serve program

So how can you go about creating a 33 Serve program? Here are some steps to follow:

1. Personalize

A 33 Serve program must be personalized to the client whom you are contacting.

In other words, stop doing mass emails or mailings to people you don’t know or have anything in common with. Instead, identify the 150 to 200 people or past clients with whom you have the most in common, who honor and respect the work you do and who are most likely to become your raving fans if they haven’t done so already.

2. Create a profile

Create a profile for all clients that includes their interests, what you share in common, data about their family, hobbies and what they do for fun.

Use a CRM to track this information. When they post something on one of their social media pages, comment on it. Better yet, if you can add to the conversation with a resource, or if you find an article about that topic, share the link.

If you have 100 people in your database, that’s making about 11 contacts per day. It takes only a few minutes to make a personal connection.

3. Talk face-to-face

Offline and online interactions that involve service should be your top priority. For example, if you are involved in raising funds for Relay for Life, post information on your Facebook business page for your area and tag those people in your database who share that interest.

Have women who have survived breast cancer share their stories, either in writing or on video to highlight how this important work helps so many women and their families.

Take plenty of pictures at the event, and post those as well. This is infinitely more effective than sending out a postcard or tweeting about your latest listing.

4. Give reminders

When property taxes are due, send everyone in your database an updated property evaluation. If prices have declined, you can also include guidelines for how the owners can go about filing an appeal.

5. Host

Hold a celebration that features one of your clients who has done something extraordinary for the community. If you don’t have someone in your database, look for someone in your community to honor for the work they might have done for a local food bank, helping the homeless, rescuing animals, etc.

Invite your clients who share the same interests. People are drawn to and want to do business with those who are like them.

6. Stay on top of your game

Maintain market awareness by posting fun real estate-related topics. Great ideas include old pictures from 50 to 100 years ago, an interview with a local historian about a notable property, changes that will impact homeowners from the latest city council meeting, etc. Also keep in mind that humor is the best way to go viral.

There are an endless number of ways to be of service, but what if just one single action you could secure a customer for life? See Part 2 of this series, “How to be a superhero to your clients” next week.

Bernice Ross, CEO of, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at and

Email Bernice Ross.

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