Real estate is a competitive industry. Almost any agent can get the job done, but truly successful agents will go above and beyond to make sure their clients feel understood and genuinely cared for.

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Despite advancements in our field, real estate remains first and foremost a people business. After all, buying or selling a home is one of the most personal financial decisions anyone will ever make, and technology is no substitute for the empathy and first-hand expertise of a relatable advisor.

However, to successfully represent a client or broker in a transaction, you must first get to know them as a person and let them get to know you and what services and expertise you offer. Relationships are the foundation on which to build your business, leading to better experiences for your clients and more sales and referrals.

Here are five moves that will lead to authentic connections and a thriving business.

Tap into your existing network

The best relationships are the kind you don’t have to force, and a mutual acquaintance or common interest provides you with a genuine connection. Be your authentic self and allow relationships to form organically. Those will always be the most fruitful.

Listen attentively

Try to learn more about your clients, like when their birthday is, where they like to vacation and if they have children or pets. This will help you build rapport and add a personal touch to your follow-up communications, not to mention the advantage it will give you in matching your client to a property that fits their lifestyle.

At The Agency, we’re obsessed with service and recognizing clients on an anniversary through something as simple as a phone call or sending a gift card to their favorite restaurant in town to celebrate life’s special moments won’t go unnoticed.

Invest in a customer relationship management platform

This will help you stay organized and keep track of important client details, reminding you when to send messages to celebrate important milestones, such as birthdays and graduations. An especially good CRM platform can help you create follow-up action plans and automate some of your communications.

Communicate proactively and consistently

Building a strong relationship won’t matter if you don’t maintain it. And in real estate, where you need to play the long game, it’s vital to stay connected.

If you think of your client, go ahead and call them up — even if you don’t have new developments in their search or if you know they’re happy and settled in their current home. Checking in shows your clients that you’re readily available whenever they may need you and keeps you top of mind. It also allows you to learn what’s going on in their lives so you can better anticipate their future needs.

Provide additional value

One of the simplest ways to demonstrate your worth as an agent is to supply your clients with helpful resources that also highlight your expertise. Send regular reports on trends in the housing market or your recent successes.

Consider a blog with listing tips that will help them in the buying or selling process. Informative blogs with relevant information can also elevate your digital footprint and generate new leads through search engine optimization.

Real estate is a competitive industry. Almost any agent can get the job done, but truly successful agents will go above and beyond to make sure their clients feel understood and genuinely cared for. Building great relationships is how you turn an acquaintance into a client and a transaction into a glowing reputation within your community.

Mauricio Umansky is the founder and CEO of The Agency in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.

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