From holiday parades to bustling farmer’s markets — not to mention an apparently never-ending schedule of silent auctions, movie nights and happy hours — agents are taking full advantage of weekly social events to cultivate relationships and heighten brand awareness.
In other words, social gatherings are rivaling social media as one of real estate’s most trusted recipes for long-term success, according to a panel of agents who spoke Monday at Inman Connect inside the Westside Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
“We have one big event every fall,” said Miriem Boss, an operations manager at CityHomeCOLLECTIVE in Salt Lake City, an 18-agent brokerage that notched $130 million in transaction volume in 2018 while closing nearly 400 deals. “But we have events throughout the year, like photo shoots for families or whatever, and we’re constantly thinking about more events to do.”
Boss, who said the basement of her office in downtown Salt Lake City was recently converted into a so-called “client lounge” in a bid to host smaller events, told a gathering of several hundred attendees that authentic experiences, over time, will spark reoccurring business.
“How are you going to come off in the best way to your clients and be the realest,” Boss said. “Relationships aren’t going to be built if you’re pretending to be someone else. How do you build your business off what your best quality is, not what you’re pretending to be.”
For Steve Weiss, a broker-owner with Coast & County Brokers in San Luis Obispo, California, that authentic experience routinely includes embedding his team of 17 agents at a wildly popular farmer’s market that frequently draws approximately 10,000 visitors each week.
“We don’t do a lot of advertising,” said Weiss, a 35-year real estate veteran whose team last year nabbed $100 million in transactions. “Most of our business comes from the local farmer’s market, which gets 10,000 people a week. It’s really incredible.”
For Bahareh Kamoei, a broker-owner with BBS Brokers Realty, a family-owned company, charities and events at local universities and high schools have provided her team a stage from which to present the Coachella Valley brokerage’s growing brand.
“That’s really our niche,” said Kamoei, who said her team inked 70 transaction sides in 2018. “At the end of this month we’re doing a big silent auction, but we regularly hold events.”
“The idea is to treat your clients like family,” Kamoei added. “When you’re working with someone, pretend it’s an extension of your family, like that it’s your uncle or your aunt or your brother or mother. The more unfiltered advice you can give them, the better. Yes, it might rattle a deal or make you lose a transaction, but it’s not about that short-term goal; it’s about that long-term relationship.”