You’ve likely heard the announcements made by tech “gurus” that real estate is going to be disrupted — even further. Sure, that might send some real estate agents and brokers shaking in their boots, but top agents have been preparing for this for years.

  • Turns out, real estate is still a relationship business, so spend a little time every day generating new referrals, and go deeper with those you care about — clients and family alike.

You’ve likely heard the announcements made by tech “gurus” that real estate is going to be disrupted — even further. Sure, that might send some real estate agents and brokers shaking in their boots, but top agents have been preparing for this for years.

Lucky for you, I was able to find some agents who believe that agents are here to stay. The no. 1 reason? It’s a relationship business.

Spencer Chambers, author of “Dating Your Investments: If You Can Date, You Can Invest” explained, “My no. 1 tip to be successful once the game actually starts is to be genuine and show your authenticity. Remember your client is not just a sale, but a human being giving you the opportunity to handle what is likely the most valuable asset of their life.”

Chambers added, “You need to make them feel comfortable with you and your ability to best serve them and obtain the most value possible for their home. It is this personal aspect that changes the relationship from just selling someone something to allowing them to buy from you.“

In my research on what agents are doing to prepare for the busy season 2018 season, this common theme appeared among many. If you follow their lead, you too will avoid disruption.

Have an abundance mentality

I was initially surprised by some of the agent’s responses when I asked on social media about their plans for the spring 2018 selling season.

In fact, a few groups were so gripped with fear, they deleted my message or trolled my questions. Apparently, some agents are so scared, they’d rather keep their supposed secrets tucked away in their lab coats.

When I got agents one-on-one and dug deeper, I found that the very best agents know that there is enough business for them. No matter how big tech scales, it won’t scale so large that it removes the need for “human” interaction.

“Fast food did not replace fine dining, Car Max didn’t replace the used car salesman, and yes, there are plenty of financial planners and even travel agents still in business,” said Bob Anarumo of Davenport, Florida.

He also told me that there’s plenty of business to go around for every agent who wants to work hard and serve people.

Nurture your sphere

Along with attitude, most of the top agents I spoke with are doubled-down on their sphere. That is, like that old sales adage says, “those that know you, like you and trust you.”

In their mind, if they build on those relationships, they’re less likely to lose someone to a tech company that’s located in a different time zone.

Justin Davis, with Keller Williams, hired a coach to help him do just that, “I enrolled in Keller Williams MAPS [Massive Achievement Productivity and Systems] Mastery Coaching at the end of December 2017. The cost [investment] is $1,000 [per month], and I’m already seeing huge results! My coach has me getting my database organized for consistent, systematic communication with mets [people who know you, like you and trust you] and past clients in order to generate referrals.”

Go deeper with relationships

Most agents that we talked too felt that they were going for huge numbers before and now want to go deep.

“I’ve been going a mile wide and an inch deep when it comes to initial contact,” Stan Jones in Duluth, Georgia, said. “I”m recommitting myself to my clients and want to change the entire process on how I handle clients.”

Invest in automation

Not all tech is bad. Several agents are going deep with clients but letting new tools do some heavy lifting for them.

Whether it’s chatbots like Riley that are handling sign and internet inquiries or a CRM like FollowUpBoss, these agents are focused on letting technology give them time to be with their current clients, and frankly, enjoy this business.

CJ Johnson, a broker with 3 Chix Realty, is taking this time to get organized and get automated.

He said they are focused on cleaning up their database of more than 13,000 leads. They’re organizing by asking questions like:

  • Do you want to buy or sell?
  • Have you already bought or sold?
  • Do you want to continue to receive property alerts and emails?

And also eliminating leads that are time-wasters.

Divest in internet lead gen

Some agents are so focused on building their business by referral, they are cutting off spending any money on lead programs like Zillow.

Terri Bass, Lenihan of Sotheby’s International, reminds us, “So much of this business is about who you know. As with many sales positions, building strong relationships with a large network of people can source leads as well as bring more opportunities to your attention.”

David Avery, broker of True North Real Estate in Atlanta, adds, “Conversion of internet leads is [about] 2 percent to 5 percent, which means I need 100 leads for two to five new clients. That’s 95 leads that I’m chasing as well. Multiply that over 12 months, and it’s just not worth it. I’d rather invest in my clients and my agents.”

The consensus strategy

It’s clear that real estate is a relationship business. In lieu of a relationship, some consumers will be attracted to the ease of the new technology and the opportunity to exchange their time for some savings. However, of the top agents we talked to, most felt that as long as they focused on growing their referral base, they’d be OK, no matter what shiny new tech came out.

Yes, I did get a smattering of, “I’m going to start using Instagram” and “I’m really going to push direct mail.” I even had one agent tell me she was going to do what she did every year, with no new changes.

However, by and large, the agents who seem to be growing and doing well said it was all about attitude.

In fact, I think this image from Facebook captures the heart of the attitude that it takes to succeed in real estate. You can read it, but I’ll paraphrase what every top agent said: Spend time every day generating new referrals, and go deeper with those you care about, clients and family alike.

What are you doing to gear up for the busy season? Please share in the comments section below.

Joshua Jarvis is a digital marketer with 4rd Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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